Public Statement: UUMA People of Color and Indigenous Chapter, Regarding The Gadfly Papers

June 22, 2019

Dear Unitarian Universalist Clergy:

We represent the chapter of the Unitarian Universalist Ministers’ Association for ministers of color.

As we conclude a General Assembly reflecting on the Power of We, clergy of color are faced with the dissemination of racism, ableism, and the affirmation of other forms of oppression, including classism and homo- and transphobia, in a book called The Gadfly Papers by Todd Eklof.

We recognize that as Unitarian Universalist ministers, we choose, each and all, to commit to the UUMA Guidelines, which apply to this situation as follows:

  • I will demonstrate respect and compassion without regard to race, color, class, sex, sexual orientation, gender expression, age, physical or mental ability or ethnicity. Such equitable treatment shall be extended to all to whom I minister regardless of position in the organization, including to those who may disagree with me.

  • I will work to confront attitudes and practices of unjust discrimination on the basis of race, color, class, sex, sexual orientation, gender expression, age, physical or mental ability, or ethnicity, and to challenge them within myself and in individuals, congregations, and groups I serve.

The material in question lacks both respect and compassion, continually asserting that if people of color would only be logical, things would be different. Unfortunately, since racism is not logical, logic cannot be a primary tool in its resolution. The material goes on to single out a religious professional of color, Christina Rivera, as the cause of the problem of having to deal with racism, in a clear case of racialized bullying.

We, as ministers of color, reject the following:

  1. The assertion that conflict concerning racism is a problem of faulty logic and can be addressed by logic.
  2. The assertion that the faithful service of Christina Rivera is the source of the problem. Her work has been the embodied practice of our liberation. We  embrace the work of Christina and other religious educators of color with  a deep respect and gratitude.
  3. The assertion that changes of heart and changes of practice will leave white Unitarian Universalists with less. All of us will benefit from the healing of our movement.

We call on our white colleagues to resist confusion and renew their dedication to the work of decentering white supremacy. We call on the UUMA to distinguish vitriol and destructive rhetoric from alternative constructive perspectives and, likewise, to enforce the UUMA guidelines. We are Unitarian Universalist ministers. We both belong with and co-create the Beloved Community.

In faith,

Your colleagues

UUMA People of Color and Indigenous UUMA Chapter

Rev. Theresa I. Soto, Lead Minister, First Unitarian Church of Oakland

Rev. Dr. María Cristina Vlassidis Burgoa, Minister, Starr King Unitarian Universalist Church in Hayward

Rev. Lindasusan V. Ulrich, Assistant Minister, First UU Congregation of Ann Arbor

Julica Hermann de la Fuente, Lay Community Minister, Ministerial Candidate and incoming UUMA intern

Rev Chris Long, Justice Minister West Shore Unitarian Universalist Church, Rocky River, OH

Antonia Bell-Delgado, Meadville Lombard Seminarian

Ministerial Aspirant, (incoming) Intern Minister, Unitarian Universalist Congregation at Montclair

Rev. Adam Lawrence Dyer, Lead Minister, First Parish in Cambridge Unitarian Universalist

Rev. Aisha Ansano, Community Minister

Rev. María Uitti McCabe, Minister, UU Fellowship of Harford County

Rev. Helen McFadyen

EqUUal Access Leadership Circle

Administrative Director, Accessibility & Inclusion Ministry (AIM) Program for the UUA & EqUUal Access

S. Sangye L. Hawke, UUA Ministerial Candidate, Starr King School for the Ministry Final Year Seminarian, author, and 2018 Marjorie Bowens-Wheatley Scholarship Recipient

Rev. Marcus Fogliano, Meadville Lombard Seminarian, Universalist Unitarian Church of Peoria, Institutional Minister, UUA

Rev. Danielle DiBona, Minister for Pastoral Care and Small Groups, First Parish Cambridge

Rev. Manish Mishra-Marzetti, Senior Minister, First Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Rev. Tania Y Márquez, Assistant Minister, First Unitarian Universalist Church of San Diego

Jennifer Simon, Iliff School of Theology seminarian,  Ministerial Aspirant, (incoming) Intern Minister, First Unitarian Society of Denver

Sana Saeed, Harvard Divinity School Mdiv 18, Intern Minister, UU Ministers Association and Chaplain, University of Pennsylvania and President of Diverse Revolutionary Unitarian Universalist Multicultural Ministers.

Rev. Ranwa Hammamy, Executive Director, Unitarian Universalist Justice Ministry of California and Pacific Central Chapter Secretary.

Rev. Marta I. Valentin

UU Church of Medford, MA

Denominational Counselor, Harvard Divinity School

Christin C. Green, MA, MDiv

Wesley Theological Seminary grad, May 2019

Chaplain Resident, Christiana Care Hospital, Newark, DE 2019-2020  

Rev. Karen Hutt

VP United Theological Seminary

Of the Twin Cities

St. Paul, Minnesota

Rev. Carol Thomas Cissel, MS, MDiv


Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Center County

State College, Pennsylvania


Leika Lewis-Cornwell

Intern Minister, UU Church of Annapolis

Rev. Rosemary Bray McNatt, President

Starr King School for the Ministry, Berkeley, CA

Rev. Angela Henderson, Chaplain at Lutheran Medical Center

Rev. Pratima Dharm, Settled Minister, Monte Vista UU Congregation, Montclair, CA

Rev. Kimberly Quinn Johnson, Unitarian Universalist Congregation of the South Fork

Jake Hearen,

Chaplain Candidate, United States Army Reserves

Field Education Seminarian, Community Church of New York

Rev. Dr. Clyde Grubbs, Minister at Large and Spiritual Director, Quincy MA

Rev. Archene Turner, Affiliated Community Minister of Cedar Lane UU Church, Bethesda, MD

Rev. Rebekah Savage, Associate Minister UU Congregation of Rockville, MD

Viola Abbitt

Meadville Lombard, M. Div. 2019

Ministerial Candidate

Rev. Amanda Weatherspoon

Minister for Justice and Community Building

River Road Unitarian Universalist Congregation

Bethesda, MD

Rev. Leela Sinha, Community Minister, The Intensives Institute, San Francisco, CA

Rev. Sofia Betancourt, Assistant Professor of UU Theologies and Ethics, Starr King School for the Ministry

Rev. Dr. Adam Robersmith

Senior Minister, Universalist Church of West Hartford CT

Mariela Pérez-Simons

Meadville Lombard M. Div student | Ministerial Candidate

Byron Tyler Coles, M. Div, Young Adult Community Leader, Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Fairfax

Rev. Elizabeth "Nell" Newton

Minister, Amarillo Unitarian Universalist Fellowship

Amarillo, TX