A Resolution was born from the Deputation of the Diocese of San Diego for human rights and social justice.
“Lay leader with the ability to work effectively for social justice” was the tag line appearing on Diocesan Messenger Fall 2016, expressing my vision for being General Convention Deputy. By the grace of God and my diligent focus on the legislative process, that vision becomes reality during my second term as Lay Deputy for the 80th General Convention in Baltimore, Maryland.
In 2021, the Deputation of the Diocese of San Diego started preparing our vocation as Deputies by reading and sharing the Reports to the 80th General Convention, otherwise known as the Blue Book. During this time, prayed for a fruitful contribution asking God for his guidance for a cause that resonates with me, where my passion is, a cause that would compel me to devote time, my energy, and to use my professional experience in networking and effective collaboration to make things happen for the greater glory for God.
Towards that end, I focused on reports for women’s rights, gender equality, racism, social justice, and freedom. My desire to bear fruit is the driving force keeping me reading and digesting the 1160-page Blue Book. Through this effort, I found Resolution A063, Creation of a Director of Women’s Ministries proposed by the Task Force to Study Sexism in the TEC and Develop Anti-Sexism Training; our Bishop, the Rt. Rev. Dr. Susan Brown Snook, was a member of the Task Force, resigned on February 7, 2019, after her election to the episcopate!
Meanwhile, I was chosen by Gay Clark Jennings, the President of the House of Deputies to serve on Legislative Committee 14-Christian Formation and Discipleship. Our task is to review all assigned resolutions, conduct video hearings, and deliberate testimonials before voting to adopt, reject, or not take action on each resolution. Then the House of Deputies and the House of Bishops voted separately on each resolution for the consent calendar or legislative calendar. Through serving this Legislative Committee, I gain knowledge of the legislative process, which prepares me for my own legislative endeavor.
On May 6-8, 2022, Joe McDaniel McDaniel, Convener of Deputies of Color, organized the in-person, pre- General Convention Training. A list of all Resolutions was sent to the Asian, Black, Latino, and Native Caucus to choose which Resolutions to advocate. I signed my name for A063.
As a woman of color, I’ve experienced being overlooked, ignored, disrespected, and mistreated. I feel that this is the time for me to stand up using my voice for women’s rights. I remember well the dismantling of the position of Women ‘s Ministries at the 2009 General Convention in Anaheim, California, leaving no one to support women’s issues. I strongly believe that it is essential to have a voice for women’s rights in our church, especially when the overturning of Roe vs Wade. In that light, I began campaigning for A063 by calling on my friends who are veteran deputies for support and guidance. They told me that it is going to meet with strong opposition because similar resolutions failed in the past. And this resolution asks Program, Budget & Finance Committee to consider funding this position at $ 300,000 in the 2023-2024 budget of the Domestic & Foreign Missionary Society, adding another barrier to overcome. They advised me to build the case for A063 by adding specific issues like access to abortion and civil rights, including LBGTGI’s rights.
I felt encouraged. My intuition tells me that I am on the right track. At the Asian Caucus, I urged Alan Murray, Co-Chair of the Asian Caucus, to speak for A063 at the Open Plenary Session as one of our priorities. He did. It was a Markan moment, for immediately, leaders from the Black and Latino community raised their voices, expressing their support of the resolution. There was excitement in the room among women Deputies. We continued talking as we matched to another room for dinner. We decided now is the time to take immediate action by drafting either an amendment or new Resolutions supporting women’s rights. I was invited to sit at the table–six women and two men representing eight Dioceses and an LBGTGI group; sitting on my right was Julia Ayala Harris, Deputy from Oklahoma, soon to be President-elect of the House of Deputies! Ms. Evangeline Warren, Deputy from Ohio took out her computer and started drafting. We discussed how and what to proceed to support A063.
We agreed that having an amendment or substitute would automatically put the resolution on the Legislative Calendar for floor debate while we want our resolutions to be on the Consent Calendar. So, it was agreed that we would draft a number of resolutions, each addressing one issue such as access to abortion, body autonomy, access to gender-affirming care, erosion of voting rights, etc. It was such a magic moment to participate in creating new resolutions using our voices for social justice and civil rights. After dinner, the Open Plenary, where we were to discuss how we can collaborate to achieve our priorities, was canceled as one attendee tested positive. But thanks to the BandApp that Deputies of Color use to communicate, a thread for the eight Deputies was created and the drafting of multiple resolutions continues online, ready for their submission on June 6, 2022.
I was humbled and honored to have the opportunity to endorse three newly drafted resolutions, one of which is Resolution D083- Addressing erosion of reproductive rights and autonomy.
This resolution passed Resolution Review Committee, assigned to Legislative Committee 08 – Social Justice & United States Policy. This Legislation Committee held a video hearing on June 15 and adopted Resolution D083 without Amendment putting it on the Consent Calendar.
On Day 1, Legislative Session of the House of Deputies, a motion to remove Resolution D083 was, failed. The House of Deputies adopted Resolution D083 on the Consent Calendar. The House of Bishops concurred.
An article by Episcopal News Services on July 12 reports that the 80th General Convention adopting D083, ” affirms that all Episcopalians should be able to access abortion services and birth control with no restriction on movement, autonomy, type, or timing.” I credit Evangeline Warren and Alan Murray for the physical drafting and filing of D083. My contribution was to identify A063; raise my voice for women’s reproductive rights, gender equality, and social justice; using my networking and collaboration skills to participate in the discussion throughout the drafting.
Meanwhile, on Day 2, the House of Deputies adopted A063. It was amended by the House of Bishops on July 10. Through its consent calendar, the House of Deputies on July 11 approved Resolution A063, finalizing the creation of a new staff position for Women’s Ministries and LBGTQI. Line item #161 of the Proposed Budget for 2023-2024 lists $150,000 for each year.
My cup runneth over with the passing of A063 and D083!
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