At the 71st General Service Conference annual meeting, held online over April 17 to April 25, 2021, a revision to the AA Preamble was approved through advisory action. The change replaced the words “men and women” with the word “people” in the first sentence of the Preamble.
Discussion of the change first drew attention a couple of years ago, when the more inclusive language was suggested to the General Service Board.
Aptly, the theme at this year’s GSC conference was: “AA in a Time of Change.” The report of the conference included a timely quote that AA co-founder Bill W. had made more than three score years earlier: “We live in an era of change. Our Twelve Steps probably won’t change; the Traditions, not at all likely. But our manner of communication, our manner of organizing ourselves for function, for service—let us hope that this goes on changing for the better, forever.” Bill W., 1960 GSC talk.
By Becky G.
The Preamble was copyrighted by the AA Grapevine Board at its first meeting after the GSC acted to take the simpler 3-words cut to 1-word change. A “fellowship of people” is redundant. ALL fellowships are of people, many some subgroup thereof. Whether a group chooses to use the current version of the Preamble, the older version of the Preamble, or any other starting words of their own choosing is up to them alone: “Each group is autonomous…”
Personally, I think our boards missed a true opportunity. The AA Grapevine missed a chance to completely rewrite the Preamble in shorter sentences without words like “fellowship and sect” that have fallen out of favor. And AA World Services missed a chance to write a slightly longer, simpler “Introduction to AA” speech that groups could read at the beginning of meetings, if they chose. I’d be surprised if this is not revisited next year or in the near future.
In my opinion, we could do better.
By Bob M.