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Ware Lecture
Ware Lecture
General Assembly, GA Programs & Schedule

2018 Ware Lecturer: Brittany Packnett

Brittany Packnett is a leader at the intersection of culture and justice.

Cited by President Barack Obama as a leader whose "voice is going to be making a difference for years to come," Brittany is an unapologetic educator, organizer, writer, and speaker.  

Known as @MsPackyetti on social media, Brittany has become a sought-after voice in the work of social change and empowerment.

A former teacher, policy expert, and non-profit executive director, Brittany has committed her life and career to justice.  She currently plays many roles, all focused on freedom.

Brittany serves as Teach For America’s Vice President of National Community Alliances, where she leads partnerships and civil rights work with communities of color.  Beyond Teach For America, Brittany was a Ferguson protestor and continues in activism as, among other things, co-founder of Campaign Zero, a policy platform to end police violence. She is a contributor to the Crooked Media network, most notably contributing to the weekly news roundup on Pod Save The People, a Video Columnist for Mic News, and writes for many publications.

Recently, Brittany launched Love + Power, a hub created to inspire, empower, and outfit everyday people to seismically shift society.

Brittany was an appointed member of the Ferguson Commission and President Obama's Task Force on 21st Century Policing.  Today, she continues to advocate for urgent systemic change at critical decision making tables and through national and international media.

From New Zealand to London, across the United States, and at the White House, Brittany has traveled extensively to impart lessons of movement building, effective social impact, liberatory leadership, and empowerment for women and girls-especially those of color.  Her popular TEDx talk, “It’s about time to value Women of Color in Leadership” exemplifies the passionate calls to action and personal storytelling she shares with audiences.

She has graced the cover of Essence Magazine, been named one of TIME Magazine’s 12 New Faces of Black Leadership, to Marie Claire's New Guard, LinkedIn’s Next Wave, received the Peter Jennings Award for Civic Leadership and shares the number 3 spot on Politico’s 2016 50 Most Influential list.  She has been honored by Emily's List, The Women's Choice Awards, the NAACP, Ebony Magazine, Public Allies, and Washington University, among others.

Brittany is an alum of Washington University in St. Louis, American University in Washington, and is a current Aspen Institute Education fellow.  She is a proud Advisory Board Member of Rise To Run, an organization committed to recruiting grassroots, diverse, progressive women to run for office, and Erase The Hate, NBCUniversal's Emmy-Winning initiative to rid the world of discrimination.

Ultimately, Brittany is a proud Black woman who believes that freedom is within our grasp—as long as we unleash love, and build our power, because “power at its best is love implementing the demands of justice.” (MLK)

History of the Ware Lecture

The Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) President, in consultation with the General Assembly Planning Committee, invites a distinguished guest each year to address the General Assembly as the Ware Lecturer.

In 1920, Harriet E. Ware of Milton, MA, bequeathed $5,000 to the American Unitarian Association (AUA) for its unrestricted use. Two years later, on the evening of May 24, 1922, the first Ware Lecture was given by the Rev. Frederick W. Norwood, pastor of the City Temple in London, England. The lecture had been "established in honor of the distinguished services of three generations of the Ware family to the cause of Pure Christianity."

The lecture has been given every year at the former May Meetings of the AUA and since 1961 at the General Assembly. No lecture was scheduled for 1945 due to World War II, although Morris S. Lazaron delivered an address on May 23, 1945 at All Souls Church in Washington, DC, which is referred to as a Ware lecture. There was no lecture in 1950 when the Unitarians celebrated their 125th anniversary.

The Harvard Square Library maintains a history of the Ware Lecture, including illustrated biographical notes.

Previous Ware Lecturers

Previous Ware Lecturers have included the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., Kurt Vonnegut, and poet Mary Oliver.

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For more information contact generalassembly@uua.org.

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