Racial Justice

Educating Yourself
Working for Racial Justice with/in Congregations
Working for Racial Justice with Children and Families
Resources for People of Color in Unitarian Universalist Ministries
Currriculum and Book Group Suggestions


Curating resources on Racial Justice is an ongoing effort. Your feedback is gratefully received. Please send any additions or corrections to Kari Kopnick at [email protected]

Educating Yourself

In the introduction to his Skinner House book, Love Beyond God, Adam Lawrence Dyer writes “All non-white people must know how to navigate whiteness in order to survive our modern world. We regularly have to do so at the expense of our cultural and familial identities so that we can achieve in careers, live in certain neighborhoods, and even acquire certain types of education.” He asks white people to spiritually invest in better understanding the lives of people of color.

One of the best things white people can do is to listen with an open mind and heart to the voices of people of color. Read books and blogs by people of color, listen to podcasts from people of color, seek out news sources from people of color. And—this is vital—resist commenting on, interpreting, or critiquing what you hear and read. Further resist the assumption that all people of color represent one perspective. A white supremacist culture that privileges white voices and contributions over those from people of color can not be challenged without an intentional realignment in who we allow ourselves to trust.

Unitarian Universalist Perspectives

Which Side Are You On?, a sermon by Kenny Wiley

Everything Old is New Again, The 2015 Starr King President's Lecture, by Rev. Rosemary Bray McNatt

Black Mamas Matter, by Dr. Janice Marie Johnson and Rev. Qiyamah Rahman
"This year, in light of the conversations about the need to recenter Black voices and experiences, telling the stories of Black mamas in our Mother’s Day worship services seems particularly meaningful and necessary. Here are two stories written by Black mamas"

Who Are My People? A Black Unitarian Universalist on Selma and Ferguson, by Kenny Wiley

Sophia Lyon Fahs Lecture, 2014: What Did UUs Teach Children During the 1940s-50s That Led Them To Join the Civil Rights Movement in the 60s? by Rev. Mark Morrison-Reed

Love Calls Us On, a sermon by Rev. Bill Sinkford (video below) Our national narrative and our faith’s story present us as both innocent and wise. The facts on the ground tell a more complicated story. What does faithfulness require when the wisdom of the past seems to be failing? What is love calling us to do in these divisive times when innocence is no longer an option?

1966 Ware Lecture: Don’t Sleep Through the Revolution, by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. 

A White Privilege Wake-Up Call, by Pat Kahn, Call and Response

Beyond Unitarian Universalism

The Danger of a Single StoryChimamanda Ngozi Adichie (video below)
"Our lives, our cultures, are composed of many overlapping stories. Novelist Chimamanda Adichie tells the story of how she found her authentic cultural voice — and warns that if we hear only a single story about another person or country, we risk a critical misunderstanding."


White Fragility, by Robin DiAngelo  
“White Fragility is a state in which even a minimum amount of racial stress be- comes intolerable, triggering a range of defensive moves. These moves include the outward display of emotions such as anger, fear, and guilt, and behaviors such as argumentation, silence, and leaving the stress-inducing situation."

White Women’s Tears and the Men Who Love Them, by Robin DiAngelo 
“As we develop our racial consciousness we learn how to express our emotions in ways that do not continually center whiteness. While we cannot control how our tears impact others, we need to find ways that don’t privilege our immediate emotional needs over the needs of people of color” 

2017 Sophia Lyon Fahs Lecture What Does it Mean to Be White? Seeing the Racial Water Post-Civil Rights by Robin DiAngelo


Leading Edge Conference 2016, from The Middle Project
materials from presenters at this year's conference
Leading Edge Conference 2017, (Apr. 28-30)
The RACE problem? We’re not finished! At the 11th annual Leading Edge Conference, we will learn and teach each other the best practical wisdom for movement-making, mingled with theoretical underpinnings and theological reflection.

The Problem with Saying "All Lives Matter", by Tyler Huckabee, Relevant Magazine

Campaign Zero
An effort, led by Black Lives Matter activists, to institute sustainable change in policing in the United States. Campaign Zero offers policy changes that will have the greatest likelihood of curbing or even ending police brutality. 


Working for Racial Justice with/in Congregations


#Black Lives Matter Collection on Worship Web

UU World: Five Ways To Support Black Lives Matter, by Kenny Wiley 

UUA: Racial Justice
Resources from the Unitarian Universalist Association on doing Racial Justice work in our communities and congregations

Multicultural Welcome: A Resource for Greeters in Unitarian Universalist Congregations
Developed by Janice Marie Johnson, Rev. Alicia Forde, Susanna Whitman, and India McKnight for Multicultural Growth & Witness, Unitarian Universalist Association

Standing on the Side of Love, Thirty Days of Love 2016 Resource List

Catalyst NewsletterCatalyst is the newsletter of the Office of Multicultural Ministries regarding racial and ethnic concerns. This page contains links to download each of our past issues.

A Unitarian Universalist Black Lives Matter Theology, by Kenny Wiley 

Preparing for Multicultural Ministries, a GA 2009 program with Rev. Sofia Betancourt, Rev. Keith Kron, Paula Cole Jones & Taquiena Boston, introduction by Rev. Alicia Roxanne Forde.
"In this increasingly multicultural world, Unitarian Universalists are called to be intentional in leading the way towards becoming a global faith religion through creating multiracial/multicultural congregations."


Beyond Unitarian Universalism

Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ) 
"Through community organizing, mobilizing and education, SURJ moves white people to act as part of a multi-racial majority for justice with passion and accountability. We work to connect people across the country while supporting and collaborating with local and national racial justice organizing efforts. SURJ provides a space to build relationships, skills and political analysis to act for change."

Racial Identity Development, by Beverly Daniel Tatum
From Talking About Race, Learning About Racism: The Application of Racial Identity Development Theory in the Classroom, by Beverly Daniel Tatum

26 Ways To Be In The Struggle Beyond the Streets, from Beyond the Streets
"This list is designed to celebrate all the ways that our communities can engage in liberation. For a range of reasons, there are and always have been folks who cannot attend rallies and protests but who continue to contribute to ending police and state violence against black people. People seek justice and support liberation in an array of ways, yet their bodies, their spirits, and their lives may not allow them to be in the streets. We believe that we will win. And we need the presence of everyone in the movement to do so. We affirm that all contributions are political, militant, and valued."

If There Aren’t Babies and Grandmas, It’s Not My Revolution, from Life with Unicorn
"Intergenerational movements for social justice are crucial. They are not optional."  

The Power of Stories: A Guide for Leading Multi-Racial and Multi-Cultural Congregations, by Jacqueline J. Lewis
Most congregational leaders find it difficult to resist the dominant cultural expectation that different cultural and ethnic groups should stick to themselves–especially when it comes to church. But some congregational leaders have learned the secrets of breaking out of these expectations to bring together communities of faith that model God’s radical inclusiveness.

Working for Racial Justice with Children and Families

UUA: Multigenerational, Multicultural Religious Education
Resources from the Unitarian Universalist Association on doing Racial Justice with a multigenerational lens

Multicultural RE Training Offers a Transformative 15 Hours, by Pat Kahn, Call and Response

Talking About Race: Start the Conversation, by Aisha Hauser, Call and Response

A is for Africa: Using African-centric Material with Preschoolers, by Andrea Arrington, Call and Response

Sophia Lyon Fahs Lecture, 2012: Bending Toward Justice: Race, Immigration and Religious Education, by Louise Derman-Sparks
"Learning to live comfortably and fairly with diversity begins in children’s early years. So, too, does the damage of racism and other “isms” to healthy development. Author, educator, and activist Louise Derman-Sparks explores ways to foster children’s positive identity and awaken empathy, critical thinking and life-long ability to stand against injustice." (What if All the Kids are White?: Anti-Bias Multicultural Education with Young Children and Families, by Louise Derman-Sparks and Patricia G. Ramsey)
Ten Steps for Reviewing Children's Books, by Louise Derman-Sparks
Four Core Goals of Anti-Bias Education, by Louise Derman-Sparks & Julie Olsen Edwards
Goals & Reflection Questions for Adults, by Louise Derman-Sparks & Julie Olsen Edwards
Stages in Children's Development of Racial/Cultural Identity & Attitudes, Louise Derman-Sparks

Beyond Unitarian Universalism

NEW Talking to Kids About Racism and Justice, from the Oakland Public Library, including links to many excellent books and other resources

Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ) For Families

4 Things We Should All Teach Kids About Racism Right Now, by Mia McKenzie

Talking About Racism With White Kids, by KJ Dell'Antonia

7 Ways to Create Family Friendly Movement Spaces, by Victoria Law

Baby Steps Toward Restorative Justice, by Linea King, featured in Rethinking Schools magazine 


Resources for People of Color in Unitarian Universalist Ministries

Finding Our Way Home 
An annual retreat hosted by the UUA for Unitarian Universalist religious professionals of color. It offers community building, spiritual reflection, and collegial support while connecting participants with local community organizations as partners in service, witness, and advocacy. 

DRUUMM: Diverse Revolutionary Unitarian Universalist Multicultural Ministries
"DRUUMM includes religious professionals, adults, youth, children, joined together to affirm, celebrate and strengthen the racially diverse communities within Unitarian Universalism. While people of color are inspired by the liberating messages of Unitarian Universalism, congregational life often does not reflect diverse worldviews or cultural practices.  Often congregations are not committed to the justice struggles of communities of color.  This can leave people of color feeling invisible and isolated.  For many members, participating in DRUUMM enhances their congregational experience and empowerse them to work for racial justice and cultural inclusion in their home church.  For others, DRUUMM may be their primary place of Unitarian Universalist religious expression."



Curriculum and Book Group Suggestions

Tapestry of Faith Options for foundations of Racial Justice Literacy*:
Wonderful Welcome (K-1), by Aisha Hauser and Susan Lawrence 
Moral Tales (Grades 2-3), by Alice Anacheka-Nasemann and Elisa Davy Pearmain
Sing to the Power (Grades 4-5), by Lynn Ungar
Amazing Grace: Exploring Right and Wrong (Grade 6), by Richard Kimball
* These curricula choices don't necessarily explicitly deal with racial justice, but would pair well with other activities and serve to build a foundation of receptivitiy for racial justice work.
Heeding the Call: Qualities of a Justice Maker (Youth), by Jodi Tharan, Nicole Bowmer
Virtue Ethics: An Ethical Development Program for High School Youth (Youth), by Jessica York
Building the World We Dream About (Adult)

Be the Change! Youth Multiculturalism and Anti-Racism Project 
Be The Change! gives Unitarian Universalist (UU) youth a starting place for discussions about the role of race, identity and justice in living out their faith. The core of the project is a six-session, nine-hour training program that can be used by groups of different sizes. The project also includes additional activities, further links and resources, and an online community to support groups engaging with the project.

Multiracial Families and Families of Color Retreat Curriculum, by DRUUMM
"This guide is designed to help districts and congregations organize gatherings for multiracial and families of color. These retreat gatherings are part of a larger strategy to make our congregations more welcoming for the many people of color who are drawn to our theology. The Identity Based Ministries Staff Group of the Unitarian Universalist Association in partnership with Diverse and Revolutionary Unitarian Universalist Ministries (DRUUMM) and numerous UU’s from around the continent are committed to supporting these gatherings across the United States as part of our efforts to ensure that all who are Unitarian Universalist feel comfortable in our congregations."

Sacred Conversations on Race (+Action) Facilitators' GuidebookDeveloped by Metropolitan Congregations United in St. Louis Missouri with the Gamaliel Network.

Book Group Suggestions

The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, by Michelle Alexander
"The New Jim Crow is a stunning account of the rebirth of a caste-like system in the United States, one that has resulted in millions of African Americans locked behind bars and then relegated to a permanent second-class status—denied the very rights supposedly won in the Civil Rights Movement."
Related resources: 2013 UUA Common Read Study GuideThe New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration and Institutional Racism, with Michelle Alexander, GA 2012; Building the Movement To End the New Jim Crow, GA 2013

Towards the "Other America": Anti-Racist Resources for White People Taking Action for Black Lives Matter, ed. Chris Crass
"a call to action to end white silence and a manual on how to do it. In addition to his own soul searching essays and practical organizing advice in his “notes to activists", Crass lifts up the voices of longtime white anti-racist leaders organizing in white communities for Black Lives Matter."

Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption, by Bryan Stevenson
Stevenson, founder of the Equal Justice Initiative, has dedicated his legal career to defending those who are trapped by an often capricious, political, and willfully unjust criminal justice system - poor people, people of color, children, and others over whom the system has run roughshod. It speaks to justice, mercy, and compassion, themes of concern to us as Unitarian Universalists and as human beings. (Common Read Discussion Guide)

The Third Reconstruction: Moral Mondays, Fusion Politics, and the Rise of the New Justice Movement, by William J. Barber II and Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove
A modern-day civil rights champion tells the stirring story of how he helped start a movement to bridge America's racial divide.

Between the World and Me, by Ta-Nehisi Coates
In a profound work that pivots from the biggest questions about American history and ideals to the most intimate concerns of a father for his son, Ta-Nehisi Coates offers a powerful new framework for understanding our nation's history and current crisis. 

Black Pioneers in a White Denomination, by Mark D. Morrison-Reed
"Portraits of racism in liberal religion tell the stories of two pioneering black ministers; including accounts of some of today's more integrated UU congregations and biographical notes on past and present black Unitarian, Universalist and UU ministers."

Uprooting Racism: How White People Can Work for Social Justice, by Paul Kivel
"Uprooting Racism explores the manifestations of racism in politics, work, community, and family life. It moves beyond the definition and unlearning of racism to address the many areas of privilege for white people and suggests ways for individuals and groups to challenge the structures of racism. Uprooting Racism’s welcoming style helps readers look at how we learn racism, what effects it has on our lives, its costs and benefits to white people, and what we can do about it."