UUA Interim Co-Presidents Sofía Betancourt, William G. Sinkford, and Leon Spencer presented the Presidents’ Annual Award for Volunteer Service to Black Lives of Unitarian Universalism during the final general session of General Assembly 2017. The award recognizes a person or organization that has performed extraordinary and vital service to the UUA as a volunteer.
Presenting the award, Spencer said that the group “has given us a ‘movement moment’ where black people can have their own space as Unitarian Universalists.”
“BLUU does spiritual work,” Spencer said. “BLUU has challenged us and supported us to look at the white supremacy within.” Quoting BLUU, he said, “Getting there will be uncomfortable, and messy, and impolite — just as work for justice has always been.”
Accepting the award, BLUU Executive Director Lena K. Gardner said, “I just want to lift up that this work has been a blessing to us and a burden. We have put in so many hours, and we will continue to put in that work, that is our pledge and our commitment and our promise to you.” She expressed deep gratitude to the UUA co-presidents “not only for this recognition but for the work they have put into our denomination collectively because it is on their shoulders . . . that we are able to do this work.”
Also on stage to accept the award were BLUU organizers Takiyah N. Amin, Royce W. James, the Rev. Mykal O. Slack, and Kenny Wiley. Acknowledged but not present was Leslie Mac.