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In Memoriam: Elandria Williams, UUA Co-Moderator, 1979–2020

On behalf of the Unitarian Universalist Association, we are sharing our heartbreak for the profound loss of the UUA’s recent past Co-Moderator Elandria Williams, a dear friend and incomparable leader of our faith, who died unexpectedly on September 23, 2020.

We especially lift up in our prayers and in deep care Elandria’s parents, Elnora and Erven Williams, and E’s twin brother Frederick. We know that innumerable people, communities, and organizations across the world are grieving and honoring Elandria’s life, leadership, activism—and E's love that knew no bounds. (Links are included below which share some of the outpouring of tributes to Elandria.)

What is lifting up my spirit is holding that I am unbound. What is lifting up my spirit is that I will break the chains. What is lifting up my spirit is that I am deserving of a 100% radical love, care and worthiness. And I will accept nothing less.

               – Elandria Williams, Source: United States Federation of Worker Cooperatives (USFWC) 

Elandria was a joyous presence and an indomitable force in our Unitarian Universalist community and beyond, a righteous organizer for justice and liberation who inspired so many. We will be forever grateful for Elandria’s legacy in our faith tradition, helping us transform our faith communities to build the inclusive, anti-oppressive world we imagine, in which we all are held in the circle of love and care.

We invite you to view the following video tribute in honor of E’s memory, Remembering Elandria: We are Worthy:

A long-time member of Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church in Knoxville, TN, Elandria Williams was a formidable UU leader for decades. Beginning with E’s days as a youth leader with Young Religious Unitarian Universalists (YRUU), Elandria continued as a leader with the Continental Unitarian Universalist Young Adult Network (C*UUYAN) and Diverse and Revolutionary Unitarian Universalist Multicultural Ministries (DRUUMM). Elandria was a founding member of the Black Lives of Unitarian Universalism (BLUU) Organizing Collective in 2015.

Elandria created indelible change within our Association and held this faith and all our people in deep and fierce love. E served on the UUA Presidential Search Committee from 2010 to 2016 and was elected to the UUA Board of Trustees in 2016. Elandria served, with Rev. Mr. Barb Greve, as our Association’s first Co-Moderators from 2017-2020.

Online Services

Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church (TVUUC) hosted a Wake for Elandria on Thursday, October 8 and an online Memorial Service on Saturday, October 10, at 2:00 p.m. EDT. Watch the recording on the TVUUC Facebook page

Online Tributes

Knoxville community activist & beloved church leader, dies at 41 (WBIR 10News)

Tribute from Tennessee Valley UU Church in Knoxville (Facebook)

Tribute from the UU Ministers Association

Tribute from the Highlander Research and Education Center (Facebook)

Tribute from People’s Hub (Facebook)

Tribute from the United States Federation of Worker Cooperatives

Tribute from Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung (International civic education organization)