Pictured on the right: Our YAAD, Maria DiChiara serving on the Social Justice Committee of the General Assembly
After safely landing in Portland, I made it to the hotel and met many fellow Young Adult Advisory Delegates (YAADs). We talked all night and suffered the consequences the next morning. Meeting the other YAADs is something I am so glad I had a chance to do.
While here we are doing so much work with minimal time to socialize, and making friendships is so important. I have been sharing meals, laughs, and adventures with such a great group of young people. Often the younger members feel as if they get lost amidst the broader and older church population, but I realize now our presence and voice matters.
One of the highlights for me this week was when a group of YAADs decided to go in Christ’s name and spread His love at Portland’s Pride Parade. The experience was simply amazing. Many of those in the parade or those watching expressed their love and enjoyment that the PC(USA) was represented there. We believe supporting the Pride Parade was extremely important because the attack at the Pulse in Orlando had just happened the prior week. The outpouring of love, not only for Orlando, but the LGBTQ community around the world was astonishing. I have never seen so many people standing in support together (other than the Super Bowl).
Over the last few days I have spent many hours in the same chair, which it is becoming part of me. Being part of the Social Justice Committee, we have discussed and approved apologizing to the Native Americans for wrong doings in the past, mobilizing the church to help those suffering from HIV/AIDS, and supporting reform for racial and financial issues in the church and our community. We run late as we try to be faithful to who God has called us to be in light of so many of the problems facing our world.
As a YAAD, I have never felt more important; having a voice and a vote on all of the issues of today is an empowering feeling. I cannot wait for what the rest of the week holds for me.
Much love, Maria DiChiara