After months of preparation, the UU-UNO Spring Seminar kicked off from April 12-14 with great success! Titled “Beyond Borders: Breaking Barriers of Race and Immigration,” the annual gathering did just that, drawing 119 participants from across the US and Canada for a weekend of thoughtful discussion and learning.
We achieved both diversity in our speakers and participants, and, greater understanding and communication across that diversity. There was a clear message from our constituents that immigration must be decriminalized. We heard how important immigration is to the life of any great nation; population growth is to be feared less than we thought. It had been predicted that India and China would decline due to their massive populations, but instead they enjoy amazing economic growth; meanwhile Japan, which has severely restricted immigration, is suffering economic decline.
We looked at race from many different aspects and found ways to understand and appreciate our differences. Rev. Shawn Newton conducted an amazing service based on “Love Thy Neighbor,” which emphasized that trying to live by this age-old adage, even when it is difficult, can produce wonderful results of friendship and love. We ended the seminar with a moving poetry reading from UU-UNO intern Dylan Debelis and UU poet/member of the UUA nominating committee, Christopher Sims.