Racial and Ethnic Diversity in Your General Assembly Program

Centering Diversity and Inclusion

Aim for programs that are developed and implemented by people with racial and age diversity. Involve people of color from the beginning; don’t just feature folks of color as presenters for the sake of appearing diverse. Questions for your workshop planning team to consider include:

  • Who is the intended audience for this program? Is it to be a youth-friendly program? What in this GA program will resonate with UUs of color? With white UUs? With all UUs of diverse ages?
  • How does this GA program include diversity in terms of sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, age, ability, and class in addition to race and ethnicity?
  • How will this GA program support the spiritual needs of UUs of color? Of all young adults? If it is a youth-friendly program, how will it support the spiritual needs of all youth? Of youth and young adults of color?
  • How will this program support white UUs to take action to counter systems of power, privilege and oppression using methods that are accountable and equitable?
  • How will this program take into account and lift up the growing Movement for Black liberation and ongoing organizing for racial justice more broadly?

Accountably Engaging Presenters

  • Many UUs of color are often asked to take on leadership at GA. If you’re a UU of color, consider what people, practices, and processing will support your leadership and wellbeing during GA- even if that means saying no.
  • If you’re a white UU seeking a facilitator, panelist, program planner or worship leader of color, reach out early and honestly explain why you think they’d be a good fit. Genuinely welcome ideas that may shift the initial program vision. The best time to ask someone to speak or help lead a workshop is when the program is envisioned, not after it is accepted.
  • Consider including a stipend or other way to compensate people for their skills and time.

Building This GA Program into Your Year-Round Work

Our efforts are part of a long Journey Toward Wholeness that requires our work beyond GA.

  • Look beyond General Assembly—whether or not a GA Program is led by racially diverse leaders, commit to supporting leaders of color.
  • Learn to be aware and wary of tokenism.
  • Treat any program or event for which you have responsibility as an opportunity to be intentionally inclusive, multigenerational and multicultural and engage in partnerships to counter systems of power, privilege and oppression (from the Unitarian Universalist Association “Global Ends,” the shared vision of the association, 1.3, 1.4)
A woman stands behind the podium at a workshop before a small audience; there is also an accompanist sitting nearby.
An African American woman in a bright yellow sweater sits in a workshop and speaks to several other women.
Two young white woman and another woman turn in their chairs to listen to an attendee seated behind them.