Dismantle White Supremacy

Watch Brittany Packnett's 2018 Ware Lecture, given at our last General Assembly, and explore a study guide created by the UUA Commission on Institutional Change.

We Must Dismantle White Supremacy 

Whitesupremacy affects everyone. As Unitarian Universalists, we must fight white supremacy individually and together if we hold hope for Beloved Community. There is work to do in congregations and there is personal work to do.

White supremacy is the idea that white people are better and more deserving of wealth, power, and privilege than people of color. White supremacy pervades our culture, institutions, and relationships. It is a self-perpetuating system that continues to fuel colonialism, exploitation, oppressions, inequities, and brutalities that people of color experience.

Use the resources below to:

  • Expose the impact of white supremacy
  • Engage in study and change
  • Enter partnerships for action

Expose the Impact of White Supremacy

Communicate with others about the harm caused to people and communities of color by different expressions of white supremacy (systemic, overt, microaggressive).

A culture of white supremacy perpetuates itself by marginalizing people of color. Seek ways to amplify and incorporate the voices of people of color in all aspects of congregational life. Centering voices of people of color helps to destabilize white supremacy as the dominant cultural norm in a UU setting and beyond. Use these collections to share the voices of Unitarian Universalists of color:

Engage in Study and Change

Predominantly white institutions, including UU communities, without reflection and self-correction tend to maintain systems that privilege and center white individuals. To spark change, make space in the community for self-reflection, study, and conversations about race.

Many white people have not thought much about their own race and participate in maintaining white supremacy culture without full awareness. Encourage white members of the faith community to read and discuss White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo (who is white), the 2018 New York Times bestseller from the UUA's Beacon Press. Download a White Fragility study guide for UU groups. Other inspiring reads to ground and inspire change include How to Be Less Stupid About Race by Crystal M. Fleming (who identifies as a queer black millennial) and So You Want to Talk about Race, another bestseller, by Ijeoma Olua.

Engage a leadership team to read Salsa, Soul, and Spirit by Juana Bordas and learn ways to build multicultural sensibility into congregational governance and life. Follow further suggestions on this webpage to become a more multiculturally adept UU congregation.

Launch antiracism religious education programming:

Do a UUA Common Read to examine the roles systemic racism and white supremacy ideology play in contemporary justice issues and find paths toward change.

Enter Partnerships for Action

Consider personal practices to start dismantling white supremacy today. See the Greenpeace five-point plan, "5 Things You Can Do to Confront White Supremacy Right Now."

Follow the lead of organizations and initiatives led by and primarily serving people of color to engage with justice issues. Give time to service projects and money to their funding priorities.

National UU groups that provide gatherings, webinars, and other resources around dismantling white supremacy include:

  • Allies for Racial Equity (ARE). ARE began in 2005 as the White Anti-Racist Allies Caucus of DRUUMM, a UU People of Color Organization. ARE seeks to build "an anti-racist movement among white Unitarian Universalists in ways that are accountable to communities of color."
  • Black Lives of Unitarian Universalism (BLUU). The BLUU Organizing Collective works to expand the power and capacity of Black UUs within Unitarian Universalism, provide support, information, and resources for Black Unitarian Universalists, and advance justice-making and liberation through a UU faith.

Get clear on the ways your faith compels your activism. "Do you have to be an activist to be a UU?" Read how six leaders in Unitarian Universalism answer this question.

Revisiting the Empowerment Controversy Black Power and Unitarian Universalism

By Mark D. Morrison-Reed

From Skinner House Books

The preeminent scholar of black Unitarian Universalist history presents this long-awaited chronicle and analysis of the events of the Empowerment Controversy.

Buy This Book

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    Adrian Ballou, Mylo Way

    From Uplift

    It can be a frightening time to be trans, and to love trans folks. There can be a giant sense of fear and overwhelm, which can make us feel like shutting down. We want to offer more ways to navigate these times.

  • Capital Pride is June 8th

    Eric Eldritch

    From Uplift

    Celebrating Pride allows us to experience power and possibility. When parades and festivals appear in your hometown, everyone can experience the power of community.

  • Trans Day of Visibility 2024
    From Uplift

    Please know that, here at UPLIFT and across our Unitarian Universalist Association, you are loved. You are cared for. We will love, support, and protect you, and we won’t give up on building what we all need to survive and thrive, and in acting and speaking out for the world we need.

More from Uplift

Police pull over black and brown motorists at higher rates than whites. "There's an emotional, psychological impact;" motorists share their experiences in the video, above. Read more in National Geographic's "The Race Issue."


​In most Unitarian Universalist faith communities, white, mainstream culture is well rooted and people of color are a stark minority. Expressions of white supremacy can make a sense of belonging elusive. Too often, white UUs rely on co-religionists of color to break silence and tell truth about race; this can be burdensome.

Unitarian Universalism includes specifically people-of-color spaces for faith development, pastoral and community support, leadership development, and more. Some are:

  • THRIVE workshops are five-day gatherings for UU youth of color or UU young adults of color to deepen faith, lift spirits, and build leadership skills.
  • Finding Our Way Home is an annual retreat for UU religious professionals of color.
  • DRUUMM is a UU people of color ministry. For many members, participating in DRUUMM enhances their congregational experience and empowers them to work for racial justice and cultural inclusion in their home congregation.
  • Black Lives of UUism (BLUU) is an organizing collective working to provide information, resources and support for Black UUs and expand the role and visibility of Black UUs within our faith.

Connecting People of Color in UUism

Here are some "on ramps" to discussions about race, racism, and white supremacy.