123 Faces of Diverse Unitarian Universalism

Three participants in C Whitten project

By Ted Resnikoff

Participants in C. Whitten uuarecolorfull project.

Some of the 123 Participants

What would a more racially diverse Unitarian Universalist faith look like?

Cameron Whitten, a 27 year old UU from Portland, recently released a self-financed project exploring answers to that question. His project, Color/Full, is a website that houses 123 stories by Unitarian Universalists (UU) and Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) staff of color who attended the General Assembly 2018 in Kansas City, MO. Whitten describes the project as, “a creative way to show the full potential of what Unitarian Universalism can look like.”

Cameron was raised Presbyterian, and when he moved to Portland, OR at eighteen, he joined the First Unitarian Church of Portland. As a young, poor, queer, Black person, he often felt challenged by the lack of the racial diversity in the church, which at this time is more than 87% white¹. However, Whitten was inspired to not just complain about the lack of diversity— but to contribute to creating solutions.

Whitten spent four days in Kansas City at the UUA General Assembly working on this project by talking to hundreds of UUs— on the street, in the exhibit hall, in hallways, and even during General Session. He asked each participant to share their goals and gifts, and then took their picture. These were short encounters that usually lasted fewer than 8 minutes, yet Whitten said he always left with a powerful story.

The tag line for Color/Full is ‘123 stories for Change,’ because Whitten believes this project benefits Unitarian Universalists – or anybody – looking for a faith community with potential. He hopes these documented experiences will provoke internal or congregational reflection and even influence policy within the Unitarian Universalist Association, and be used as a vehicle for growth and change within our faith.

When asked, Whitten reflects that Color/Full is already a success. UUs and congregations from across the US have already shared his photo-voice collection, and sees General Assembly 2019 in Spokane, WA is a prime opportunity to expand his project. He seeks funding opportunities and volunteers to continue this work.

To see the collection and support Cameron Whitten's work, visit: Color/Full: UU Kansas City 2018


¹ Pew Resarch Center: The most and least racially diverse U.S. religious groups