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Building an anti-racist movement among white Unitarian Universalists in ways that are accountable to communities of color.  


History of ARE

ARE began as the White Anti-Racist Allies Caucus of DRUUMM, a UU People of Color Organization. In 2005, the leadership of DRUUMM decided that a new relationship was needed between DRUUMM and its allies in order for all of us to be able to do the racial identity work that strengthens our multiracial coalitions. They requested that white allies get together to form a partner organization rather than a caucus.

In response to this request, thirty-six individuals who identified as white people committed to anti-racism work gathered in Tom’s River, New Jersey, in November 2005 to develop a formal organization with a clear leadership structure. The planning team who organized the conference (Minton Brooks, Beth Dana, Julian Sharp, Annette Marquis, Hannah Stampe, Diane Martin and Gini Courter), asked the Rev. Dr. Tracey Robinson-Harris, then the Director of Congregational Services for the UUA, to facilitate the business meetings to help accomplish the ambitious goals.

By the end of the weekend, the group adopted a vision, mission, and organizational structure; affirmed DRUUMM's understanding of our relationship, adopted an organizational structure, developed a proposed list of short term and longer term objectives, elected a steering committee, and began a membership drive. The new organization was named Allies for Racial Equity.  DRUUMM and ARE leadership maintained a close relationship with ongoing reporting, face-to-face meetings, and DRUUMM participation in the ARE nominating process until 2016.

In October of 2016, ARE leadership committed to a cultural shift and organizational restructure in order to more effectively disrupt white supremacy within.  ARE's current organizational model was adopted by consensus on July 11, 2017 (pub. 7/23/17).  "The Transition" (moving completely from the former to the current model) is expected to take about 3 months, and be complete by the end of October, 2017.  A review of the Accountability Guidelines, and creation of new Covenants will be priorities for the ARE Leadership Collective during this time. 

Below are the original ARE Guiding Documents, which, along with several movement-centric models, informed the work of the StructureTeam and the 2017 ARE Steering Committee.




ARE Guiding Documents

Affirmed at the First ARE Conference (November 2005)

CONTEXT

  • how we got here -- the work that went before
  • events at GA 2005
  • we are a start-up organization; that's what the documents guide us in creating
  • this is not about perfection nor about any one of us getting what we want
  • these documents are not assumed to define the organization forever and ever amen
  • this not about us as individual white folks and is about accountability as a collective and accountability to DRUUMM (Diverse and Revolutionary Unitarian Universalist Multicultural Ministries)
  • there is urgency for moving ahead now

VISION
We the [White Allies Organization] ground ourselves in a vision of an anti-oppressive, multicultural Unitarian Universalist faith. We will be accountable to DRUUMM by building a movement among white UUs to understand white privilege and unlearn racism and white supremacy. Recognizing that we have a long journey to becoming an anti racist, anti oppressive, multicultural faith community, we begin with a commitment to:

  • Develop an anti-racist practice
  • Support DRUUMM leadership and DRUUMM initiatives
  • Include diverse perspectives committed to recognizing our humanity
  • Cooperatively journey together in mutuality and right relationship towards transformation, and wholeness
  • Support other white UUs as we struggle together to effectively use our anti-racist power to help transform the institution and Unitarian Universalist congregations
  • Provide resources for a sustainable road to justice built on love, faith, hope, and courage.

MISSION
Our mission is to be accountable to people of color in building a movement among white UUs committed to unlearning white privilege/supremacy and to confronting racism in all its forms.

MEMEBERSHIP DEFINITION

Membership in the organization is open to persons who are Unitarian Universalist members and friends of our congregations, and affiliate, associate and other organizations; persons training for ministry, religious education or other professional capacities; and persons working for the UUA who:

  • Self-identify and live as white people striving to be anti-racist
  • Make an annual recorded financial contribution
  • Support the vision and mission of the organization

ACCOUNTABILITY STATEMENT FROM DRUUMM
One of the reasons why DRUUMM decided to form the White Allies Caucus was to ensure an identifiable community of White Allies for ourselves. The other reason was to give our White Allies a strong institutional presence. The fact is that, as far as DRUUMM is concerned, there needed to be an organized White Allies movement with identifiable leadership to support DRUUMM. DRUUMM is the place where we people of color deal with our internalized racist oppression, within ourselves and within our communities. The White Allies Caucus was initially identified as the place where you, our white allies could and would -- do the work that you need to do around internalized white superiority. In the best of all worlds, DRUUMM and the White Allies Caucus would serve as mutually reciprocal accountability structures, each having each other's back if you will, within and outside of our respective communities as well as with the institution and beyond.

AUTHORIZATION

Leaders of this organization are authorized to act on our behalf guided by the documents and strategic priorities affirmed at the November 5-6, 2005 meeting of white UU AR allies.

STRATEGIC PRIORITIES

  • Where do our leaders put their time & energy in this start up period?
  • Between now and GA 2006
  • Between now and November 2006
  • Over start up years two and three till November 2008?

Recommendation were developed for input to the steering committee's strategic plan. Additional input from other white allies and people of color will be included in the final plan adopted by the steering committee.


STEERING COMMITTEE STRUCTURE

Original draft Heather Vail and Josh Pawelek
Modifications by Gini Courter in conversation with Janice Marie Johnson (DRUUMM) and the 2005 WA Conference Planning Team

Steering Committee
Shared Leadership
The Steering Committee as a whole owns their processes including facilitation and record keeping. The Committee will determine processes to be used in the conduct of their business. The facilitator will work with the steering committee to establish a schedule that rotates responsibility for facilitation and recording of minutes among steering committee members.

Positions
Facilitator
Ensures facilitation of meetings of the organization's Steering Committee. Is empowered to convene the committee when the organization is faced with a need for an emergency response. Works with the committee to set meeting agendas and keeps Steering Committee on-task. Serves as (one among many) public voices for the organization. Functions as both a public and a behind-the-scenes cheerleader for the organization and the Steering Committee. Serves as liaison to the DRUUMM Steering Committee. Keeps track of key documents for the Steering Committee and organization for reference (including things like the mission statement, position job descriptions, covenant, etc). Carries out (and/or delegates) process observations of Steering Committee meetings and reminds Steering Committee of covenant and mission statement when necessary. Serves as a positive role model and leader within the organization.

At-Large Youth, age 14-18
Contributes time, ideas, perspective, and leadership to the Steering Committee. Keeps up to date on current regional and district-wide white anti-racist ally work in UU youth communities and within continental and district YRUU including checking in with constituency groups like ministers, DREs, lay leaders, and any district Anti-Racism Transformation Teams. Must work to build close and accountable relationships with YRUU leadership, the YAYA Steering Committee of DRUUMM, and the Youth Office of the UUA. Serves as liaison between the Steering Committee and youth communities. Prioritizes transparency and approachability. (This steering committee member must be between the ages of 14 and 18 at the time of their election.)

At Large Young Adult, age 18-35
Contributes time, ideas, perspective, and leadership to the UU-OWARA Steering Committee. Keeps up to date on current regional and district-wide white anti-racist ally work in UU young adult communities and within continental and district UUYAN including checking in with constituency groups like ministers, DREs, lay leaders, and any district Anti-Racism Transformation Teams. Must work to build close and accountable relationships with the C*UUYAN leadership, the YAYA Steering Committee of DRUUMM, and the Young Adult & Campus Ministry Office of the UUA. Serves as liaison between the Steering Committee and young adult communities. Prioritizes transparency and approachability. (This steering committee member must be between the ages of 18 and 35 at the time of their election.)

At Large Member
Contributes time, ideas, perspective, and leadership to the Steering Committee. Keeps up to date on current regional and district-wide white anti-racist ally work in UU adult communities, including checking in with constituency groups like ministers, DREs, lay leaders, and any district Anti-Racism Transformation Teams. Must work to build close and accountable relationships with adult UU anti-racist leaders. Serves as liaison between the Steering Committee and adult communities. Prioritizes transparency and approachability.

Secretary/Treasurer
Keeps minutes of all Steering Committee meetings and business meetings and distributes them to all Steering Committee members. Keeps records of expenses and income for the organization. Submits reimbursement requests to appropriate UUA department (contingent upon the organization having a budget line item within a UUA office). Establishes organizational bank account if necessary. Writes checks as necessary. (As the organization grows, this position will logically split into two separate positions, secretary and treasurer.) Actively participates in discussion, work, and mission of Steering Committee and organization.

Ordained minister
Actively participates in and contributes to discussion, work, and mission of the Steering Committee and organization. Brings theology and social ethics from our Unitarian Universalist tradition to the work of the Steering Committee. Provides pastoral care to Steering Committee members and any members of the larger organization as needed. Mediates conflict where necessary or appropriate. Must be an ordained UU minister preferably with experience working in intergenerational communities or with youth. Prioritizes approachability.

Communications Coordinator
Establishes and chairs a committee responsible for communications and public relations within the organization. Ensures that a website is maintained, minutes of meetings are posted and publicly available in a timely fashion. Ensures that organizational list serves are functioning. Organizes, coordinates, and/or delegates to committee the needs for publicity of the organization. Works to maintain transparency and accountability in, and access to, the decision-making and doings of the Steering Committee for members of the organization.

Membership Coordinator 
Ensures that the organization's database of members is up to date and user friendly. Establishes and chairs a standing committee on membership criteria, member recruitment, and member skill development. Organizes, coordinates, and/or delegates the planning of the election for each year's Steering Committee.

Program Coordinator
Establishes and chairs a committee responsible for planning organizational programs and business meetings at General Assembly and other relevant conferences. Actively participates in discussion, work, and mission of the Steering Committee and organization.


Organizational Processes

Nominations
A slate of those willing to serve in elected leadership positions will be presented for approval on Sunday morning at the November 2005 White Allies Conference. Those elected will agree to serve for one year through the 2006 Conference. They may stand for reelection at that time.

Youth Empowerment
We hope that at least three of the positions, including the At Large Youth position, will be filled by youth and/or transitional-age youth. The Steering Committee as a whole is responsible for creating and maintaining a safe space for the voices and ideas of youth and young adult members. To ensure this end, the committee members should include trained youth advisors, and committee members are encouraged to pursue youth advisor training if possible.

Shared Leadership (same language as found at the beginning of the document on structure)

The Steering Committee as a whole owns their processes, including facilitation and recordkeeping. The Committee will determine processes to be used in the conduct of their business. The Facilitator will work with the Committee to establish a schedule that rotates responsibilities for facilitation and the recording of minutes for Steering Committee meetings among committee members.

Covenant
The newly elected organizational Steering Committee will build a covenant that guarantees equal participation for all Steering Committee members, expresses a shared understanding of expectations, and discourages domination of the work by one or a few members. The Steering Committee will implement the mission of the organization. The Steering Committee will create a formal relationship with the leadership of DRUUMM.

Scope of Structural Development Work in Year One
The Steering Committee will focus on proactively organizing and staffing anti-racist activities through GA 2006. Depending on the capacity of the leadership, the Steering Committee will also recruit and empower additional white allies. They may also develop grassroots white allies organizing and facilitate networking in UU districts. We recommend that it give priority to districts where DRUUMM has already established a district (or even a congregational) presence.

Changes to This Design
The Steering Committee is empowered to continue to interpret these guidelines so as to make them appropriate to the work and development of the organization, and will bring suggested changes to these guidelines to the organization's 2006 Conference.


Age Caucus Input to Steering Committee re Process

Youth Caucus
The youth feel that the steering committee should select their own process of decision making. That decision making should be accountable to all people involved, with intentionality around the support of marginalized people (youth, etc). Within the youth caucus we could not decide which method is the one we feel should be used, but just to be aware that the options are not only formal consensus or Robert's Rules; that there are many options outside and in between these two.

Young Adult Caucus
The young adult caucus, for the most part, agrees that consensus is the ideal process. No matter what, we need to prioritize safety and trust. We recommend that the Steering Committee at least use consensus to decide on the process they will use form then on. Before deciding on a process to be used, the Steering Committee should go through community building and trust building activities. Any process is only as effective as the people in it.

Adult Caucus
Be flexible, use whatever processes feel work, and report back at the end of year with full range of opinions on the results. Share the learnings with other groups in the UUA doing intergenerational decision-making work.

Whatever processes used should be one that moves us forward.

The Steering Committee is tasked with making sure that process is in place to insure that all Voices, especially those of youth, be seriously considered and they feel heard.

Continue in an ongoing process of learning the habits of whiteness and internalized superiority and that this becomes a part of the processes. To continue with this struggle, but not paralyzed by the concept of model perfection. As requested by DRUUMM.

Invite the support of mentors within and without the organization.


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