Commentary: Diverse Revolutionary Unitarian Universalist Multicultural Ministries is renewing its relationship with the UUA.
We write to announce that Diverse Revolutionary Unitarian Universalist Multicultural Ministries (DRUUMM), the oldest and largest UU people of color organization, is renewing its relationship with the UUA, a relationship that first started in 1997 but has had nearly a decade of disinvestment.
This renewed promise from the UUA includes $50,000 in operational funding for both this fiscal year and the next year, as well as additional UUA staff support. Renewing this relationship demanded significant spiritual, emotional, physical, and financial energy of DRUUMM leadership, energy that has allowed us to survive for the last two decades as a national organization centering UUs of color. While we are eager to work with the UUA in rebuilding our relationship, much more reflection and action will be needed before trust and celebration is wholly deserved.
We are hopeful that there will be true systemic change within our larger Association that will dismantle its roots in white supremacy culture, yet we are also exhausted and wary. It is difficult to trust a promise of relationship that has been made countless times before to people of color in our faith, and to our organization, as UUA board members have themselves acknowledged. In light of this, DRUUMM leadership has been consistently meeting and coordinating with the UUA to move towards creating a memorandum of understanding this spring that is grounded in an acknowledgement of our history and affirms our shared commitments to serve UU people of color.
A clear, ongoing funding commitment to DRUUMM is an essential change. The UUA’s financial support of DRUUMM has been a patchwork since it began in 1999, with grants for specific programs, one-time contributions, and limited general operations funding, changing from year to year. Regular operations funding was entirely eliminated from the UUA budget after 2009. Getting support for an ongoing funding stream for DRUUMM is a critical lifeline for an all-volunteer organization and has been a challenge across multiple UUA administrations and leaders. Prioritizing investment in leaders of color is a core embodiment of the commitment to building a more inclusive and antioppressive UUA.
DRUUMM has a growing membership of UU people of color from every district and region. As an all-volunteer ministry, DRUUMM continues to lead efforts to fulfill the 1997 Journey Towards Wholeness Resolution adopted by the General Assembly towards becoming antiracist, antioppressive, and multicultural, creating space for youth, young adults, and our families of color to heal and work collectively, as well as stewarding an effective organization that develops new leadership and manages consistent communication with members. This renewal will allow us to continue our work as a collective to support our membership with events, programming, trainings, chapters, and UU people of color spaces at GA and regional gatherings.
As we reflect on the importance of this moment, we are left with gratitude for sibling groups, including Black Lives of UU and Transgender Religious professional Unitarian Universalists Together (TRUUsT), and for allies, such as Allies for Racial Equity (ARE), as we move our living tradition and its institutions closer to the promise and fullness of Unitarian Universalism. druumm.org
—The Rev. Ranwa Hammamy, president, and Sana Saeed, co-vice president, submitted this on behalf of the DRUUMM steering committee.
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DRUUMM is a Unitarian Universalist People of Color Ministry and anti-racist collective bringing lay and religious professionals together to overcome racism through resistance and transform Unitarian Universalism through our multicultural experiences. We developed from several older ministries, namely the African American UU Ministries and Jubilee World anti-racism change trainings.
DRUUMM has a growing membership of UU People of Color from every district and region. As an all-volunteer ministry, DRUUMM continues to lead efforts to fulfill the Journey Towards Wholeness Resolution towards becoming an anti-racist, anti-oppressive, multicultural UUA, creating space for youth, young adult and our families of color to heal and work collectively, and steward an effective organization that develops new leadership and manages consistent communication with members.
DRUUMM is a collective of people who identify as People of Color. Allies are welcome and organized as Allies for Racial Equity. Together we are open to all people. We are grounded in the Unitarian Universalist tradition, and maintain a close relationship with the Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations.
President: Rev. Ranwa Hammamy
Co-Vice Presidents: Rev. Theresa Soto & Sana Saeed
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