This spring, we engaged Arizona UUs in a popular education and arts-organizing project in conjunction with UU Ministry for Earth's Spring for Change events.
We are grateful for the activism of Tricia, a UU in Southern Arizona, around the San Pedro River and the wildlife that rely on it. It was thanks to her efforts that we chose to highlight the yellow-billed cuckoo for this intergenerational eco-art project. The yellow-billed cuckoo is designated under the Endangered Species Act and is one of 93 endangered and threatened species impacted by the border wall.
Arizona UUs participated enthusiastically in the project, creating many wonderful paper birds in multiple intergenerational sessions wherein collective learning and creativity became a vehicle for community building and social change.
This project culminated with events at General Assembly. Held in Portland, OR, this year from June 22-26, GA is where Unitarian Universalists from all over the country get together to share in the business of our national organization, learn from each other, and get teaching and inspiration for the justice work our values call us to engage in.
Our 7th principle, "Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part," almost literally comes alive in the Procession of Species event at GA. There is an art build workshop beforehand, wherein UUs put together their inspired creations for the procession. We had plenty of birds to work with in building Arizona's entry in the procession, thanks to the efforts of so many Arizona UUs who created paper birds for the project.
During the build, UUJAZ climate justice organizer Casey Clowes was able to share the story of the intersections of migrant justice and climate justice with UUs from across the country. She explained how the border wall negatively impacts the habitat of humans and animals alike, including the yellow-billed cuckoo we chose for our Arizona art build.
The final build included 128 yellow-billed cuckoos that were on display in the Exhibit Hall and were part of the Synergy Bridging Service and the Procession of Species.