Full Program Announced for 2017 Black Lives of UU Convening

The Black Lives of UU Organizing Collective is pleased to make the full 2017 BLUU Convening Program available. With over 100 Black UUs scheduled to attend the historic gathering in New Orleans, LA, the event program is focused on connection, collaboration and creating a shared vision for Black Lives of UU. 

Program Highlights include:



Black Lives of Unitarian Universalism Convening announces historic UUA Presidential Forum

Pictured: current candidates for UUA President, Rev Susan Frederick-Gray, Rev Allison Miller & Rev. Jeanne Pupke

Pictured: current candidates for UUA President, Rev Susan Frederick-Gray, Rev Allison Miller & Rev. Jeanne Pupke

With it’s first ever National Convening just a month away, the Black Lives of Unitarian Universalism Organizing Collective is excited to make an exciting programming announcement. All three candidates for UUA President, Rev. Susan Frederick-Gray, Rev. Alison Miller & Rev. Jeanne Pupke, will join the convening on Saturday March 11 for a historic Presidential Forum moderated by lead organizers Takiyah Nur Amin, PhD & Royce James PhD. 

Dr. Amin shares, "I'm excited about the upcoming BLUU convening and understand its historical importance, growing out of the intersection of engaged faith practice and the long struggle for Black Liberation more broadly. The forum we'll be hosting with candidates for UUA President is especially significant in that it creates a space for candidates to respond specifically and directly to questions from Black Unitarian Universalists."

“We as Black people have been integral to the faith since its inception. Living this legacy, we look forward to the opportunity to renew Black voices in the democratic principles of our faith tradition.” added Dr. James.

With close to 100 Black Unitarian Universalists set to gather in New Orleans from March 9-12, this Presidential Forum is just one of many program elements the collective has planned for attendees. “For us, this convening is an opportunity to learn from our past, be clear about our present & plan together for our future as Black UUs, said Convening Coordinator Leslie Mac. 

Black Unitarian Universalists can submit questions for the forum in advance via an online form. Registrants will receive access to the form next week via email with form access also available via the Explicitly Black UU Facebook group run by the BLUU Organizing Collective. The forum will also be broadcast via Livestream for those will not be in attendance at the Convening.

Stay tuned for more exciting announcements in the coming days from the Convening team.

New Pastoral Care leader join the Black Lives of UU Organizing Collective

We are so excited to announce the addition of Adam Dyer to the Black Lives of UU Organizing Collective. Adam joins BLUU to focus specifically on pastoral care needs and other theologically based projects.

We are particularly overjoyed that Adam is joining the collective in advance of the March 9-12 BLUU Convening.

Full information about both Adam can be found below:

Adam is a Unitarian Universalist Candidate for the Ministry and this spring he will complete his M.Div. at the Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley, California.  His life's work focuses on disrupting the lingering effects of colonialism on modern culture.  Specifically, he is committed to: liberating faith and spirituality from biases that stem from exclusively privileged world views; exploring healthy concepts of how people experience their bodies as expressions of their lived experience; and working to counter the social oppression that is entrenched in traditional Western economic models.  Upon graduation, he will also receive a Certificate in Sexuality and Religion for which he has studied and worked closely with leaders in LGBTQ communities and youth in sexuality education.   

Adam sees his ministry developing out of his long held belief in the shared beauty and power of human bodies and his belief that the ability to make healthy, informed choices and decisions about our bodies is at the heart of the divine gift of human life.
Born in New York City and raised in Framingham, Massachusetts, Adam attended college at Princeton University where he majored in English Literature and Creative Writing. Early on, he pursued a performing arts career which allowed me to travel around the globe working as a cruise director.  Ultimately, Adam had the great fortune to appear in the original Broadway company of Ragtime the Musical. Prior to pursuing the ministry, he became a well known personal trainer, fitness instructor and massage therapist.  Learn more about his journey on the Life Beyond Ministry page.

Registration is now open for 2017 Black Lives of UU Convening

We are pleased & excited to announce registration for the 2017 Black Lives of UU National Convening is now OPEN. The very FIRST Black Lives of UU Convening will take place in New Orleans, LA on March 9–12, 2017.

Being held at The Double Tree by Hilton, this historic event will bring together Black Unitarian Universalists from across generations. Over the course of four days together we will co-create spiritual nourishment and healing through ritual, worship and pastoral care.

As a community we will help design what we want for ourselves and our faith now and for the future. Black Lives of UU rose out of the Movement for Black Lives and we need YOU to join us in justice making and liberation through our faith.

All Black Unitarian Universalists are encouraged to attend. Financial assistance is available for registration fees, transportation & housing. Please visit http://www.blacklivesuu.com/convening2017 for full event information & registration.

Black Lives UU acknowledges historic UUA Board support

Today, the UUA Board affirmed support for Black Lives of UU with a motion allocating $300K to address our short term organizing needs, AND a commitment to meeting our long term request for financial support in the amount of $5 million. This moving act of solidarity followed a stirring presentation to the Board by Black Lives of UU Organizing Collective members Leslie Mac and Rev. Carlton E Smith.

We acknowledge those that came before us in the struggle for self determination as Black UUs, and we are overcome with emotion at this historic moment for our faith.

To read the full statement visit:

You can also read more in coverage from UU World here: http://www.uuworld.org/articles/board-commits-5-million-bluu?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=oct17

Rev Carlton E Smith & Leslie Mac present to the UUA Board on Friday Oct 14

Rev Carlton E Smith & Leslie Mac present to the UUA Board on Friday Oct 14

Black Lives of UU joins the #ReviveLove Tour

The Black Lives of Unitarian Universalism Organizing Collective is excited to confirm our participation in the upcoming #ReviveLove Tour hitting the road this Fall. We join Standing on the Side of Love and Rev Sekou & the Holy Ghost in planning this exciting tour focused on movement fortification and healing.

Key pieces to the tour which centers local organizers in its goal to create spaces for artists & activists to be sustained include:

  1. ‘Fortify the Movement’ workshop/discussion with Standing on the Side of Love

  2. An explicitly Pro-Black and Pro-Trans/GNC show by Rev. Sekou and the Holy Ghost in every site in relationship with local and national artists.

  3. Training and 1:1 support ‘clinics’ for lead organizers in local communities

  4. Strong local partnering in every site to build networked relationships

Currently planned tour stops include the following cities in the South & UpSouth:
• Knoxville, TN
• Nashville, TN
• Atlanta, GA
• St. Louis, MO
• New Orleans, LA

We ask that our faith — at the individual, congregational & institutional level — support the #ReviveLove Tour along with all of the amazing organizers involved. Donate & support the #ReviveLove Tour Faithify campaign: http://www.faithify.org/projects/revive-love-tour/

For more ways that you can help support the tour & get involved visit: http://www.blacklivesuu.com/revivelove

See you on the road!

BLUU Endorses #Vision4BlackLives Policy Platform & issues statement regarding UU response to recent killings

The Black Lives of UU Organizing Collective issued two new statements this week in the first we formally endorsed the Movement for Black Lives #Vision4BlackLives Policy Platform. This visionary platform features a set of six demand categories including policy specific recommendations and actions.

To read the full #Vision4BlackLives endorsement statement CLICK HERE

In the second statement we address our concerns around Unitarian Universalist responses to recent killings around the country - we say in part:

We feel compelled to urge all Unitarian Universalists and other people of good conscience not to equate the system-wide killing of Black people by police with the killing of police by people unaffiliated with the Movement for Black Lives. Doing so makes life more dangerous for Black people who are already at great risk.

To read the full UU response to recent killings statement CLICK HERE

Black Lives of UU Welcomes Two New Lead Organizers to the Collective

We are so excited to announce the expansion of the Lead Organizing Team with the addition of Takiyah Nur Amin & CDR Royce W. James. After showing great leadership in their home congregations and communities, these two Black UU rock stars join the BLUU Collective with vibrant ideas & energy.

The will both begin their work with the collective immediately on upcoming projects including planning the first Black Lives of UU Convening, #BLUUGA17 and more.

Full information about both Takiyah & Royce can be found below:

Takiyah Nur Amin is a native of Buffalo, NY and the daughter of Karima and the late Abdul Jalil Amin. 

She is an alumna of the UUA's Multicultural Leadership School for Youth and Young Adults of Color (known today as THRIVE) and a former RE Assistant.
An intellectual by training and tradition, Takiyah earned a PhD in Dance and Cultural Studies (with certificates in Women's Studies and Teaching in Higher Education) from Temple University in 2011. She is an active member of the National Coalition of 100 Black Women, an advocacy organization on behalf of Black women and girls. A lover of reading, podcasts, shopping and travel, Takiyah is currently an Assistant Professor of Dance Studies. 

CDR Royce W. James, Ph.D. served with AmeriCorps*National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC) as a Team Leader then graduated from USCG Boot Camp in 1996.  Royce attended New Mexico State University and served with the Regional Alliance for Science, Engineering, & Mathematics for persons with Disabilities through AAAS before graduating in 1999.  He graduated from Officer Candidate School in 2000.  He earned a Master’s of Science Degree from Columbia University, and began teaching at the academy in 2004.  Royce completed his Doctorate in Plasma Physics through Columbia’s Plasma Physics Lab at Steven’s Institute of Technology in December 2008.  

Now a member of the Academy's permanent command teaching staff, Royce is the current Chair of Physics.  He is the founder and Principle Investigator of the Coast Guard Academy Plasma Lab (CGAPL), Department Equity Officer, Co-founder/Director for CGA’s Science Partnership for Innovation in Learning (Project SPIL), Genesis & Spectrum Council Advisor (CGA’s Black and Gay Student Unions) and the Science Department Diversity & Inclusion Officer.  He was a member of the team that was instrumental in the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," and more recently worked to facilitate the military's change in policy to allow transgendered persons to openly serve.

Royce is co-founder of the former New London Freedom School, active with the youth of All Souls UU Congregation, member of the #Blacklivesmatter South Eastern CT,  member of the Science Technology and Mathematics Magnet School Advisory Board, and Member of the Nuclear Energy Advisory Council for the state of CT.  Dr. James lives in New London, CT with his wife Jessica (a Graduate Student of Divinity at Andover Newton Theological School) and their four children: Isis, Yemaya, Olorun and Sati.

BLUU Call to Action - Safe Spaces for Black Organizers - UPDATE

In the wake of the murders of #AltonSterling & #PhilandoCastile the Black Lives of UU Organizing Collective issued a call of action encouraging UU congregations to open their doors and make meeting/healing space available to Black organizers in this difficult time.

We are overjoyed to report that as of today over 70 congregations answered our call. We are currently in the process of matching congregations with local Black organizers but see this response as a positive sign in our faith. A sign that our needs as Black UUs are important to our congregations and that we as a faith are ready to begin the difficult work or rooting out Anti-Blackness in our congregations and communities.

A new page has been created around this call to action. This page includes

  • A link to our original statement

  • Best practices for engaging with Black organizers and organizations

  • A form to add your congregation to the growing list of UU spaces being offer to facilitate Black organizing & healing

  • A list of cities where space is available.

More updates will be posted as matches are made. Our hope is to allow this to be an entry point to better connection between our faith congregations and local Black organizers. We also hope this will increase the number of spaces in our buildings where Black UUs feel fully welcome & able to lay down their burdens on the path towards healing.

Please contact Black Lives of UU with questions/concerns about this initiative.