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 August 17, 2010—The Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) held an annual Multicultural Leadership Conference for Youth and Young Adults of Color in Boston this week, co-facilitated by the Rev. Dr. Monica L. Cummings, Janice Marie Johnson, Laura Spencer, and Jessica York. Rev. Cummings and York are members of the UUA Ministries and Faith Development staff group; Johnson is Director of the UUA’s Office of Racial and Ethnic Concerns.

The conference drew twelve participants, ages 15 through mid-30s, from California, Connecticut, Georgia, Maryland, New Jersey, and New York.

The co-facilitators, all Unitarian Universalist (UU) People of Color, provided workshops and community-building activities to empower participants in current and future leadership roles in their congregations and the wider UU community. Participants brought a variety of UU leadership experience, from several adults who are directors of religious education and one who chairs her congregation’s board of trustees to youth who serve as junior worship associates, RE leaders, and committee co-chairs.

“Beyond offering leadership skill development, this conference brings together young Unitarian Universalist People of Color,” said Rev. Cummings. “Within the UUA, People of Color often find themselves isolated. They look around their congregations and may not see anyone else who looks like them. This gathering invites young UUs of Color to connect with each other in multicultural community while deepening their knowledge of UU history, continuing the rich tradition of meetings at 25 Beacon Street.”

According to York, co-facilitators’ roles included mentoring and modeling leadership through a People of Color lens. Some participants were new to Unitarian Universalism or experiencing for the first time the mentorship of an adult UU of Color.

Workshop topics included identity development, creating inclusive community, worship-leading with a focus on spiritual development, facilitation, and conflict transformation. Through a role play, participants experienced working in a group whose members come from different cultures.

Please contact Rev. Cummings, yayaofcolor [at] uua [dot] org, if you are or know of someone who may be interested in attending a future Multicultural Leadership School. Applications are now available for summer, 2011.

This conference is part of a UUA commitment to fully serve and include a multicultural membership. Another facet of this initiative is the UUA 2009 Mosaic Project Report, an assessment of the UU ministry needs of Youth and Young Adults of Color. Written by conference co-facilitator Laura Spencer and downloadable in PDF format at no charge, the report offers many recommendations for congregations to support Youth and Young Adults of Color.

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