On March 30, after a series of challenging events, Rev. Peter Morales resigned as President of the Unitarian Universalist Association effective April 1, 2017. The UUA Board will appoint an acting president at its next meeting. And as planned, the members of the Association will elect a new president at General Assembly in New Orleans this June.
In his resignation letter, Rev. Morales makes reference to the current controversy over the lack of diversity in hiring in the Association and the ways in which this reflects a continued institutional and systemic preference for White leadership, especially at senior leadership levels. The question raised was: How can the UUA lead in areas of diversity and equity for all, when the UUA itself is not capable of making a space in its own ranks for meaningful leadership from People of Color? Rev. Morales did not believe that he was capable of leading the UUA into an answer to this question. Please read Rev. Morales’ letter and a letter from the UUA Leadership Council below:
LETTER FROM THE UUA LEADERSHIP COUNCIL, MARCH 30, 2017
We take very seriously the question of how our policies, practices, leadership and culture systematically center and advantage white people within Unitarian Universalism. We acknowledge that it is past time for us to examine more deeply than we ever have the patterns of institutional racism that are embedded in our practices of leadership, including hiring.
It has been humbling, devastatingly sad, and inspiring to read so many courageous calls to a deeper justice, to more courage, more faithfulness from us, especially from Unitarian Universalists of Color who have helped us hold a mirror to our own institution. We recommit ourselves and our service to this call.
In the next week, we will begin putting together a plan for how we will engage in an immediate internal review of how our institution advantages white leaders, and Unitarian Universalists. This will include a review of hiring and promotion procedures and goals, the involvement of outside expertise, working together with the UUA Board, and engaging in critical self-examination about how all of our programs and initiatives advance our commitment to anti-racism and inclusivity.
We will be examining our own hearts, listening humbly, and partnering with other leaders in our faith to find our way forward.
We are grateful for your faithful, angry, disappointed, loving expressions of your hopes for our faith. This, all of it, is what will carry us to a new way.
Yours in service,
Rev. Harlan Limpert
Director of Stewardship and Development
Director of Beacon Press
Director of Multicultural Growth and Witness
Director for Congregational Life
Director of Communications
Director of Ministries and Faith Development
Director of Human Resources
Director of Information Technology Services
Members of the UUA staff will be present at the UUSCR Veatch Board of Governors policy meeting on May 9. They will report on the Association’s support of congregational health and social justice engagement, and will be able to respond to questions about the current crisis. This is an open meeting and all members of the UUCSR community are invited to attend as observers.
Please feel free to contact any member of the ministerial team if you would like to discuss the current painful situation in our Association. While there is much hurt inherent in these times and in the crisis that brought about Rev. Morales’ resignation, Unitarian Universalism continues to do good work in the world. And we strive to become a better and more equitable Association that can live up to its Principles and honor, respect, and celebrate the gifts of leadership inherent in all its members.