Presenters for the Multicultural UU University Track
Soul Work: Creating Welcoming Multicultural Unitarian Universalist Communities is a deeply collaborative effort. Seven Unitarian Universalists (UUs), with varied stories, experiences, and understandings of “Multiculturalism" and "Beloved Community” came together to form the design team shepherding this effort.
The Reverend Leslie Takahashi Morris is co-minister at the Mt. Diablo Unitarian Universalist Fellowship. Leslie was a founding member of the Thomas Jefferson District Anti-Racism Transformation Team, was on the Eno River UU Fellowship congregational team, and served as moderator for All Souls Unitarian Universalist Church in Durham, NC, an intentionally multicultural anti-racist congregation. Her consultative work has included documenting resources for multiracial families within the UUA and she helped host a conference for multiracial families as part of the TJD Anti-Racism Conference in 2006. Ordained in 2004, she has been active in efforts to involve congregations in advocacy for the rights of bisexual, lesbian, gay and transgendered people. She helped organize the UU response to a constitutional marriage amendment banning same-sex partnerships or marriages when this issue arose in Virginia and supported congregational efforts in California. Since 2005 she and Chip Roush and Leon Spencer have been working on a book examining the UUA’s efforts to address racism since the 1992 General Assembly in Calgary passed a resolution calling for the UUA to be racially and culturally diverse. As part of this work, she has developed a passion for supporting youth of color/Latina/o/Hispanic youth. The book is slated to be published this fall by Skinner House. She has served on the steering committees for the Asian Pacific Islander Caucus of DRUUMM and as part of the Multi-racial Caucus. She currently serves as vice-president of DRUUMM and on the UUA’s Diversity of Ministry Team.
Matt Meyer is a percussionist and worship leader living in the Boston area. He has lead services for dozens of congregations all over the country as well as leading workshops on drumming and what it is has to teach us about UU values and culture. He is also the co-chair for the Boston chapter of the National Organization for Men Against Sexism, as well as being active in the Anti-slavery campaigns for the Coalition of Immokalee workers.
India McKnight is the Program Associate in the Office of Youth Ministry at the UUA. Her primary responsibilities are supporting the goals and objectives from the Summit on Youth Ministry, providing administrative support for the Diverse Revolutionary Unitarian Universalist Multicultural Ministries (DRUUMM) Youth and Young Adult of Color Steering Committee and for General Assembly Youth Caucus. She appreciates this opportunity to be a part of the design team for the Multicultural track of UU University and hopes to make youth participation and leadership integral to the success of this programming.
The Reverend Deborah Holder is a fellowshipped community minister currently serving the Mountain Desert District in the role of Program Consultant and Justice Ministries coordinator. Prior to entering professional ministry, she served the UU Veatch Program at Shelter Rock where her portfolio as Program Officer included economic globalization, environmental justice, media democracy, and denominational social justice funding. During her tenure with the foundation, she developed and piloted the UU Urban Social Justice Ministries Program in support of eight congregation-based social justice programs and staff. As former director of Unitarian Universalists for a Just Economic Community, the Pittsburgh Area Religious Task Force on the Economy and a founding board member of the National Interfaith Committee for Worker Justice, she has worked with UU congregations and grassroots faith-based community organizing for the past 20 years. She currently serves as President of the UU Society for Community Ministries (UUSCM). A graduate of the Iliff School of Theology, her passion and great joy is theologically-based care of UU social justice leaders and technical assistance support for Unitarian Universalist lay and ordained public ministries. MSW, Community Organizing and Social Administration; Masters Theological Studies, Iliff School of Theology. Professional affiliations include: UU Society for Community Ministries; UU Ministers Association (UUMA); National Association Community Organization and Social Administration, American Academy of Religion.
The Reverend Dr. Devorah Greenstein is Program Coordinator of the Office of Accessibility Concerns in the Identity-based Ministries staff group at the UUA. An alumna of Starr King School for the Ministry, she brings to her work what she learned as part of this seminary’s “education to counter oppression” commitment. Prior to her call to ministry, her lengthy career as a counselor and developmental psychologist was similarly committed to anti-oppression. She brings a deep understanding of linked oppression and a dedication to work on behalf of people with disabilities as her part on the design team for the Multicultural track of UU University.
The Reverend Alicia Roxannne Forde serves with the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA), within Identity-based Ministries staff group as the Program Coordinator for Multicultural Congregations. In this position, Alicia works with the Diversity of Ministry Initiative, engaging congregations around education and awareness in our increasingly multicultural world. She serves as the Dean for this UU University track and is grateful for the opportunity to work with this extraordinary team.
The Reverend Patricia Jimenez is a Staff Chaplain at the Hennepin Medical Center, Level 1 Trauma Center. She was born and raised in New Mexico, and identifies as Latina. Patricia studied languages, business, and journalism, before going to Andover New Theological School, outside of Boston. She is a board certified chaplain of the Association of Professional Chaplains. Her experience as a chaplain includes psychiatric hospitals, hospice, and small neighborhood general hospitals, in addition to her current work at a Level 1 Trauma Center. This is also a downtown hospital serving the underinsured, unemployed, and immigrant populations coming from Africa, Asia, and Latin America. Over the course of her ministry Patricia has taught classes on cultural sensitivity and competence, and religious differences to hospital staff, community clergy, and congregations. She is a founding member of the Latino(a) Unitarian Universalist Networking Association (LUUNA), and currently serves as chair of the steering committee. Patricia has served on the UUMA Executive Committee holding the portfolio of anti-racism, anti-oppression, and multiculturalism; and is a founding member of DRUUMM.