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

building an anti-racist movement among white unitarian universalists to confront and dismantle white supremacy in ourselves, congregations, and communities

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This document clarifies structure, responsibilities, operations, and intentionality, but is meant to be amended when needed in order to maintain the flexibility and adaptability that the nature of our work requires; this is a “living document”.  Questions? email

The ARE Steering Committee is committed to operating in a way that empowers all members to have a voice in decision making and governance and to maintaining “horizontal” organizational systems wherever possible. Horizontal organizations seek to enable everyone to directly participate in decision-making about issues that affect them and focus on autonomous, voluntary participation that honors the diverse needs and skill-sets of those involved.  

This necessitates a minimal, formalized structure to clearly delineate accountability, facilitate clear communications, and guard against the concentration of power that can accompany such a decentralized structure.

All affairs of ARE shall be managed by the ARE Steering Committee, who shall have and may exercise all the powers of the organization, including but not limited to:

  • approving all proposals and applications for funding
  • entering into agreements and contracts consistent with the purposes of the organization
  • forming additional teams to serve the organization
  • hiring staff
  • electing the President, Treasurer, Clerk, and any other officers of the organization

The ARE Steering Committee consists of Team Leads and other volunteer members of semi-autonomous and interconnected teams, each with individual focus on specific organizational functions, in line with the ARE mission and the ARE SC mission:

Allies for Racial Equity’s Mission is to Confront racism in ways that are accountable to communities of color, Understand whiteness and privilege, and Unlearn and challenge white supremacy.

ARE Steering Committee's Mission is to Build an antiracist movement by engaging white Unitarian Universalists in the mission of ARE, Foster accountable relationships with and serve as an organizational ally to communities of color, and Provide anti-racist, anti-oppressive, multicultural leadership development to ARE members and leaders in the UUA.

The “Team of Teams” is the ARE Leadership Collective. The Steering Committee is its decision-making body. Leadership is intentionally decentralized and collaborative, and Accountability is mutual among all members, who work in covenant with one another.

Resources for Consensus Decision Making Process:

Notes on Consensus Decision-making

TLDR (too long didn't read) version/cheat sheet for meetings

Current Active Teams:

Administrative Group   The purpose of the Administrative Group is to support, empower, help with resources, remove roadblocks, and provide insight, accountability, and guidance.

The Administrative Group consists of the pro-forma officers (President, Treasurer, & Clerk) and the Organizational, Finance, and Technology Teams.  Each Team shall have two or more Team Leads, which function as organizers, facilitators, and point-people.  Administrative Group Team Leads are (s)elected by the ARE Steering Committee to act on its behalf with its input and consent. Administrative Group Teams are responsible for overall coordination, administration, facilitation, internal communication, planning, and sustainability of ARE SC operations.

Organizing Team

SC Organizing Leads, ARE & SC members with interest, energy and talent

Responsibilities include:

~ Administration, filing, record keeping, archiving meetings notes & videos

~ Calendaring & providing event reminders

~ Scheduling, organizing, and creating draft agendas for meetings

~ Maintaining current contact information for SC members & Team members

~ Updating member database, membership forms, and ARE website

(shared with Tech Team, as agreed)

~ Insuring social media pages, event, and contact information is current

(shared with Tech Team, as agreed)

Tech Support Team

SC Tech Leads, ARE & SC members who have interest, energy and talent to contribute

Responsibilities include:

~ Managing internal & external technical functions on behalf of ARE

~ Providing technical support for Zoom meetings

~ Updating member database, membership forms, and ARE website

(shared with Organizing Team, as agreed)

~ Insuring social media pages, event, & contact information is current

(shared with Organizing Team, as agreed)

Finance Team  

~ Treasurer shall be the chief financial officer and the chief accounting officer, performing organizational duties as required by law, including financial reporting.  

~ Treasurer may have other duties and powers as designated by the SC, including, but not limited to being signatory of the organizational checking account.

SC Finance Leads (Treasurer +1), ARE & SC members with interest, energy and talent

Responsibilities include:

~ Accounting & financial record keeping in an accurate and ethical manner

~ Providing financial reports at regular intervals, as determined by the SC

~ Managing fundraising initiatives

Internal Life & Support Team   (Dedicated & Consistent Organizational Health Guides)

SC Internal Life Leads, ARE & SC members with interest, energy and talent to contribute

Responsibilities include:

~ Planning team building, connective, and deep sharing opportunities for meetings, conferences, and retreats

~ Providing opportunities for SC members to deepen analysis, skills, and our AR/AO spiritual journey on a regular basis (monthly, bi-monthly, weekly; as practicable)

~ Leading support calls, self care initiatives, pastoral efforts, and other sustainability-oriented activities for ARE members

~ Creating and Inculturating health and resilience-centric organizational practices

Liaison & Representation Team***   (Primary & Default Spokespeople & Representatives)

SC Lead ARE Liaisons (1 laity, 1 clergy), ARE & SC members with interest, energy and talent to contribute  (preferably a balanced team of laity, religious educators, administrators, and clergy)

Responsibilities include:

~ Communicating with DRUUMM President and/or leadership

~ Representing ARE in official spaces and capacities (UUMA, LREDA, UUMN, CCCE)

~ Working with SC & Communications Team to create and deliver strategic messaging and representation within Unitarian Universalism

*** The ARE Representation Policy is in the Processes Section near the end of this document.

Communications & Promotions Team  (Primary & Default Writers & Message Crafters)

SC Communications Leads, ARE & SC members with interest, energy and talent

Responsibilities include:

~ Developing messaging strategies

~ Writing formal statements and letters

~ Crafting responsive resolutions for/at GA

~ Creating promotional material for programs and events

Social Media & ARAO Advocacy Team  (Dedicated & Consistent Social Media Presence)

SC Social Media Leads, ARE & SC members with interest, energy and talent

Responsibilities include:

~ Increasing ARE engagement & visibility via social media

~ Connecting online with other anti-racist UUs and coordinating messaging

~ Performing online advocacy & resource sharing

~ Communicating with other Teams about opportunities for deeper engagement

Membership & Outreach Team   (Dedicated & Consistent Member “Recruiters” )

SC Membership Leads, ARE & SC members with interest, energy and talent

Responsibilities include:

~ Growing ARE membership and promoting opportunities for member engagement

~ Connecting with ARE membership to determine needs and facilitate support

~ Networking with ARE regional groups & congregations to promote AR/AO work

Education & Resources Team   (Primary & Dedicated Resource Developers)

SC Education Leads, ARE & SC members who have interest, energy and talent to contribute

Responsibilities include:

~ Organizing/Presenting educational opportunities: workshops, webinars, discussions

~ Obtaining/Developing resources for publication on ARE website and/or facebook page

~ Planning/Assisting with creating educational content for conferences and other events

~ Planning orientation calls for ARE members prior to GA and other events

(shared with Events Team, as agreed)

Consultancy & Connection Team   (Primary & Dedicated Assessors & Advisers)

SC Consultancy Leads, ARE & SC members with interest, energy and talent

Responsibilities include:

~ Developing accessible programs for ARE members to receive individual consulting

~ Growing ARE SC tools, skills, and capacity for individual consulting & advising

~ Establishing and implementing best practices for both free, and reasonably-priced

AR/AO assessment and consultancy

Events & Actions Team   (This is where we keep our logistics folks!  :D)

SC Event Coordinators/Leads, ARE & SC members with interest, energy and talent

Responsibilities include:

~ Organizing ARE presence at GA, including managing booth, schedule, & advocacy

~ Planning and Managing logistics for national and regional conferences

~ Coordinating and Promoting event content (workshops, speakers, activities)

(shared with Education Team, as agreed)

~ Planning orientation calls prior to GA and other events

(shared with Education Team, as agreed)

~ Facilitating ARE/UU Connection & Caucusing opportunities at related events

(RevLove, WPC, Regional Gatherings, GA, etc.)

Membership Criteria, Roles, & Responsibilities

Team-of-Teams (ARE Leadership Collective) Candidate

~ Identifies as white

~ Identifies as UU

~ Is a member of ARE

~ Is able to commit 6 hours per month, or more to ARE initiatives

~ Has the prerequisite skill-set to fulfill responsibilities  

~ Is committed to the ARE mission and the ARE Steering Committee mission

~ Is grounded in anti-racist understanding and its ongoing development  

~ Is dedicated to shared leadership, mentorship, team building & empowerment

Steering Committee Candidate

~ Identifies as white

~ Identifies as UU

~ Is a member of ARE

~ Is able to commit 10 - 12 hours per month, or more to ARE initiatives

~ Has prerequisite skill-set to fulfill responsibilities  

~ Is committed to the ARE mission and the ARE Steering Committee mission

~ Is grounded in anti-racist understanding and its ongoing development  

~ Is dedicated to shared leadership, mentorship, team building & empowerment

~ Is active in one or more ARE Teams

~ Has attended three or more Steering Committee Meetings

Officer, Administrative Group, Team Lead Candidate

~ Identifies as white

~ Identifies as UU

~ Is a member of ARE

~ Is able to commit 12-16 hours per month, or more to ARE initiatives

~ Has prerequisite skill-set to fulfill responsibilities  

~ Is committed to the ARE mission and the ARE Steering Committee mission

~ Is grounded in anti-racist understanding and its ongoing development  

~ Is dedicated to shared leadership, mentorship, team building & empowerment

~ Is active in one or more ARE Teams

~ Has attended three or more Steering Committee Meetings

~ Has been actively involved in an ARE Team for three months or more

Additional Responsibilities of Steering Committee Members & Leads

~ Organizing, Creating Agendas, and Facilitating Team meetings

~ Communicating information about Team activity to the SC and reporting in & out

~ Recruiting and Orienting interested team members from ARE membership

~ Mentoring Steering Committee applicants and developing new leadership

~ Maintaining transparency and accountability within the organization

~ Focusing on how month-to-month work aligns with the vision and mission

~ Attending General Assembly and participating in ARE initiatives***  (3rd week in June)

~ Attending and providing leadership at the annual ARE Conference *** (mid - end of October)

*** GA and Conference attendance is very important, but it is not an absolute requirement.

ARE is committed to making attendance as accessible as possible for its volunteer leadership.

Please feel free to discuss any concerns about event commitments with ARE SC members.

Roles: Flexibility and Limitations

~ More than one person may be responsible for any single role, if desired.

(3 Communications Team Leads, Co-Treasurers, several Lead Liaisons)

~ A person may assume responsibilities of more than one role, and be active with several

teams, provided that they honor their primary commitments.  

~ A person may hold only one Lead role per term.

~ With the exception of the Administrative Group, Team Leads shall include, at minimum,

1 clergy member and 1 laity member.    

Officer Requirements & Roles:  (pro-forma to maintain 501c3 status)

Officers:  The President, Treasurer, and Clerk, are required to maintain 501c3 status and shall be elected by the ARE SC at the annual meeting.  Only SC members in good standing may be elected officers. The SC may elect additional officers or assistant officers as they may deem proper.  No more than one office may be held by the same person.  Officers are Pro-Forma and hold no organizational power and/or responsibility other than those required by law.

The President shall be the chief executive officer of the organization and, subject to the control of the SC, shall exercise necessary duties required by law, including but not limited to being signatory of the organizational checking account.

The Treasurer shall be the chief financial officer and the chief accounting officer of the organization, who shall be in charge of its financial affairs, and keep accurate records thereof. The treasurer may have such other duties and powers as designated by the SC, including but not limited to being signatory of the organizational checking account.

The Clerk shall keep and maintain organizational documents, articles of incorporation, and by-laws, as required by law, which shall be kept at the organization’s principal office and/or in a digital archive.

Other Officers and Agents: The SC may appoint such officers and agents as it may deem advisable, who shall hold their offices for such terms and shall exercise such power and perform such duties as shall be determined by the SC.

Processes:  Meetings, Decision Making, Addition of SC Members

(s)Election of Officers & Admins, Tenures, Representation Policy


The Annual Meeting of the ARE SC (planned on a weekend between October 15th and October 31st) shall be for the (s)election***  of officers, Administrative Group Leads, & Lead Liaisons (1 laity, 1 clergy), delivering Administrative reports, as well as any other necessary business and policy making. Incoming and Renewing Team Leads will be affirmed at this time.

Once established, each non-Administrative Team selects their own Team Leads, as appropriate for their needs and preferences. These Team Leads will also be affirmed, if desired.

*** Elections are in October; Terms begin on July 1. Please see (below) Terms/Tenure and Leadership Transitions for details.

Monthly SC meetings will be held for reporting, organizing, and decision making.  

All SC meetings are considered open and may be attended by any member of ARE.

Individual teams hold meetings as needed.  These may be open or closed, per preference.

Special SC meetings may be called at any time by consent of twenty-five percent (25%) of SC members in good standing.

Reasonable notice to all SC members must be given for all meetings. A minimum of two week's notice, but no more than 60 day’s notice shall be provided for all meetings. E-mail or other electronic means, letter, or phone, shall be considered reasonable methods of notification. In the case of a "special" meeting called in an emergency, forty-eight hours notice shall be considered reasonable.

Decision making:

Quorum:  A quorum is required for any decision or adoption of proposals by the SC.  

At any SC meeting, the attendance of at least seven members or twenty-five percent (25%) of the SC, whichever is higher, not including a facilitator, shall constitute a quorum.

When a quorum is present at any meeting, a consensus, using Formal Consensus (as defined in On Conflict and Consensus by C.T. Lawrence Butler and Amy Rothstein, available at shall decide any question, excepting a contested election for an officer which shall be decided by using the MBC or another Inclusive Voting Procedure as outlined in (s)Election of Officers (below).

Addition of Members to the SC:

If an ARE member who has been engaging consistently in ARE Team activities wishes to become a member of the Steering Committee and/or a Team Lead (if the position is open):

1.) The person will ask two (2) current SC members to act as their sponsors.

2.) The sponsors will review and discuss the SC's practices with the applicant, and together with the applicant, create any plans necessary to assist with the applicant's successful engagement.

3.) The sponsors will send a written request to the SC ( ), indicating their desire to have the applicant considered for admittance to the SC.

4.) The Organizing Team will send notice of the application to all current SC members, asking for any concerns to be raised by reply to all SC members. The discussion may happen over email, and/or at the next meeting of the SC, as deemed appropriate.   Should a SC member have concerns of a sensitive or confidential nature, they may communicate privately with a member of the Administrative Group and/or the Internal Life & Support Team to discuss how to best proceed in raising those concerns.

5.) SC members will be given a period of two weeks for deliberation.

6.) If, at the end of the two week period, no concerns were raised, or all raised concerns were resolved, the Organizing Team shall petition the SC to certify, affirm, and welcome the new SC member immediately preceding the next monthly SC meeting.

7.) The Organizing Team shall enter the new SC member’s information into the SC database.

8.) The Organizing Team shall announce the certification of the SC member in their report.

9.) A SC member’s tenure begins immediately after affirmation of the SC, and lasts the duration of one year.  Every SC member’s tenure is renewed annually by consensus of the SC.

(s)Election of Officers, Administrative Group & Team Leads:

Election of Officers, Administrative Group Leads, and Lead Liaisons shall be by Formal Consensus of the SC whenever possible.  When contested elections are held, the voting method to be used shall be the Modified Borda Count (available at  

or another Inclusive Voting Procedure as defined by the de Borda Institute ( such as the SC shall designate.

Terms/Tenure: Administrative Group, Lead Liaison, and Officer terms are for two years, beginning July 1st after their election and ending June 30th.***  

*** Elections are in October; Terms begin on July 1. Please see (below)  Leadership Transitions for details.

Renewal: Any or all of the officers, administrators, and leads may be (s)elected for renewal terms by the consent of the SC. Renewal terms are for one year.

Resignation: A Steering Committee member and/or officer may resign at any time for any reason. Resignations must be received in writing.

Termination: Any SC member’s tenure may be terminated for cause by consent of the SC. The SC member to be terminated must be given 30 day’s written or electronic notice and provided an opportunity to be heard at the meeting considering their termination. Provided a quorum is present, a consensus in favor of the SC member's removal shall terminate their tenure,

Vacancies: If the position of any Officer or Administrative Group Lead becomes vacant, the SC may (s)elect a successor, who shall serve the remainder of the term.

Leadership Transitions: Officers, Administrative Group Leads, and Lead Liaisons are (s)elected at the annual ARE conference (currently in October). Terms begin on July 1st.  

In the interim time, outgoing Leads and other Team members are responsible for preparing the newly elected Leads to assume their roles. Incoming Leads will “shadow” their predecessors,  whenever feasible to build necessary relationships and ensure smooth transitions.

Once roles are assumed, outgoing Leads will remain available for consult until the next annual meeting, whenever possible.

For all other Teams within the ARE Leadership Collective, Team Leads are chosen by the teams themselves, and transitions are negotiated internally, as per their needs and capacity.    

ARE Representation Policy

A.)  For informal matters in the public sphere, including responding to unexpected questions from media, any member of the ARE SC may speak on behalf of ARE to provide factual information about matters on which the ARE SC has a recorded (consensus) decision/position, or a common practice.  

B.)  For formal matters, including delivering public statements, giving pre-arranged interviews with media, negotiating with other organizations, and/or providing official signatures on petitions or public advocacy statements, only designated members of the Liaison & Representation Team may represent ARE.

C.) In the event that no members of the Liaison & Representation Team are available in a situation of pressing need, a temporary Public Information Liaison shall be empowered by the SC to speak on behalf of ARE, with the same authority and limitations as the Liaison & Representation Team.

Interested in joining ARE’s Leadership?

Proposal Completed:     May 31, 2017

Brought to Agenda:       June 13, 2017

Adopted by Consensus:  July 11, 2017

Finalized and Published:  July 23, 2017

Transition Timeline (est): 7/23-10/23, 2017

Appendix / Additional Reference Material

I.  The CWSC article informs the intentionality and functioning of the ARE Steering Committee.
It is included to provide additional insight to ARE organizational values and goals, particularly power sharing, individual and group accountability, embracing difference, and collective, consensus-oriented decision making.  Highlighted portions indicate areas of particular focus/interest.

Kenneth Jones & Tema Okun; Characteristics of White Supremacy Culture

This is a list of characteristics of white supremacy culture which show up in our organizations. Culture is powerful precisely because it is so present and at the same time so very difficult to name or identify. The characteristics listed below are damaging because they are used as norms and standards without being pro-actively named or chosen by the group. They are damaging because they promote white supremacy thinking. They are damaging to both people of color and to white people. Organizations that are people of color led or a majority people of color can also demonstrate many damaging characteristics of white supremacy culture.


-       little appreciation expressed among people for the work that others are doing; appreciation that is expressed usually directed to those who get most of the credit anyway

-       more common is to point out either how the person or work is inadequate

-       or even more common, to talk to others about the inadequacies of a person or their work without ever talking directly to them

-       mistakes are seen as personal, i.e. they reflect badly on the person making them as opposed to being seen for what they are: mistakes

-       making a mistake is confused with being a mistake, doing wrong with being wrong

-       little time, energy, or money put into reflection or identifying lessons learned that can improve practice, in other words little or no learning from mistakes

-       tendency to identify what’s wrong; little ability to identify, name, and appreciate what’s right

antidotes: develop a culture of appreciation, where the organization takes time to make sure that people’s work and efforts are appreciated; develop a learning organization, where it is expected that everyone will make mistakes and those mistakes offer opportunities for learning; create an environment where people can recognize that mistakes sometimes lead to positive results; separate the person from the mistake; when offering feedback, always speak to the things that went well before offering criticism; ask people to offer specific suggestions for how to do things differently when offering criticism

Sense of Urgency

-       continued sense of urgency that makes it difficult to take time to be inclusive, encourage democratic and/or thoughtful decision-making, to think long-term, to consider consequences

-       frequently results in sacrificing potential allies for quick or highly visible results, for example sacrificing interests of communities of color in order to win victories for white people (seen as default or norm community)

-       reinforced by funding proposals which promise too much work for too little money and by funders who expect too much for too little

antidotes: realistic work-plans; leadership which understands that things take longer than anyone expects; discuss and plan for what it means to set goals of inclusivity and diversity, particularly in terms of time; learn from past experience how long things take; write realistic funding proposals with realistic time frames; be clear about how you will make good decisions in an atmosphere of urgency


-       the organizational structure is set up and much energy spent trying to prevent abuse and protect power as it exists rather than to facilitate the best out of each person or to clarify who has power and how they are expected to use it

-       because of either/or thinking (see below), criticism of those with power is viewed as threatening and inappropriate (or rude)

-       people respond to new or challenging ideas with defensiveness, making it very difficult to raise these ideas

-       a lot of energy in the organization is spent trying to make sure that people’s feelings aren’t getting hurt or working around defensive people

-       the defensiveness of people in power creates an oppressive culture

antidotes: understand that structure cannot in and of itself facilitate or prevent abuse; understand the link between defensiveness and fear (of losing power, losing face, losing comfort, losing privilege); work on your own defensiveness; name defensiveness as a problem when it is one; give people credit for being able to handle more than you think; discuss the ways in which defensiveness or resistance to new ideas gets in the way of the mission

Quantity Over Quality

-       all resources of organization are directed toward producing measurable goals

-       things that can be measured are more highly valued than things that cannot, for example numbers of people attending a meeting, newsletter circulation, money spent are valued more than quality of relationships, democratic decision-making, ability to constructively deal with conflict

-       little or no value attached to process; if it can't be measured, it has no value

-       discomfort with emotion and feelings

-       no understanding that when there is a conflict between content (the agenda of the meeting) and process (people’s need to be heard or engaged), process will prevail (for example, you may get through the agenda, but if you haven't paid attention to people’s need to be heard, the decisions made at the meeting are undermined and/or disregarded)

antidotes: include process or quality goals in your planning; make sure your organization has a values statement which expresses the ways in which you want to do your work; make sure this is a living document and that people are using it in their day to day work; look for ways to measure process goals (for example if you have a goal of inclusivity, think about ways you can measure whether or not you have achieved that goal); learn to recognize those times when you need to get off the agenda in order to address people’s underlying concerns

Worship of the Written Word

-       if it’s not in a memo, it doesn't exist

-       the organization does not take into account or value other ways in which information gets shared

-       those with strong documentation and writing skills are more highly valued, even in organizations where ability to relate to others is key to the mission

antidotes: take the time to analyze how people inside and outside the organization get and share information; figure out which things need to be written down and come up with alternative ways to document what is happening; work to recognize the contributions and skills that every person brings to the organization (for example, the ability to build relationships with those who are important to the organization’s mission)

Only One Right Way

-       the belief there is one right way to do things and once people are introduced to the right way, they will see the light and adopt it

-       when they do not adapt or change, then something is wrong with them (the other, those not changing), not with us (those who know the right way)

-       similar to the missionary who does not see value in the culture of other communities, sees only value in their beliefs about what is good

antidotes: accept that there are many ways to get to the same goal; once the group has made a decision about which way will be taken, honor that decision and see what you and the organization will learn from taking that way, even and especially if it is not the way you would have chosen; work on developing the ability to notice when people do things differently and how those different ways might improve your approach; look for the tendency for a group or a person to keep pushing the same point over and over out of a belief that there is only one right way and then name it; when working with communities from a different culture than yours or your organization’s, be clear that you have some learning to do about the communities’ ways of doing; never assume that you or your organization know what’s best for the community in isolation from meaningful relationships with that community


-       decision-making is clear to those with power and unclear to those without it

-       those with power think they are capable of making decisions for and in the interests of those without power

-       those with power often don't think it is important or necessary to understand the viewpoint or experience of those for whom they are making decisions

-       those without power understand they do not have it and understand who does

-       those without power do not really know how decisions get made and who makes what decisions, and yet they are completely familiar with the impact of those decisions on them

antidotes: make sure that everyone knows and understands who makes what decisions in the organization; make sure everyone knows and understands their level of responsibility and authority in the organization; include people who are affected by decisions in the decision-making

Either/Or Thinking (The Binary)

-       things are either/or, good/bad, right/wrong, with us/against us

-       closely linked to perfectionism in making it difficult to learn from mistakes or accommodate conflict

-       no sense that things can be both/and

-       results in trying to simplify complex things, for example believing that poverty is simply a result of lack of education

-       creates conflict and increases sense of urgency, as people are felt they have to make decisions to do either this or that, with no time or encouragement to consider alternatives, particularly those which may require more time or resources

antidotes: notice when people use “either/or” language and push to come up with more than two alternatives; notice when people are simplifying complex issues, particularly when the stakes seem high or an urgent decision needs to be made; slow it down and encourage people to do a deeper analysis; when people are faced with an urgent decision, take a break and give people some breathing room to think creatively; avoid making decisions under extreme pressure

Power Hoarding

-       little, if any, value around sharing power

-       power seen as limited, only so much to go around

-       those with power feel threatened when anyone suggests changes in how things should be done in the organization, feel suggestions for change are a reflection on their leadership

-       those with power don't see themselves as hoarding power or as feeling threatened

-       those with power assume they have the best interests of the organization at heart and assume those wanting change are ill-informed (stupid), emotional, inexperienced

antidotes: include power sharing in your organization’s values statement; discuss what good leadership looks like and make sure people understand that a good leader develops the power and skills of others; understand that change is inevitable and challenges to your leadership can be healthy and productive; make sure the organization is focused on the mission

Fear of Open Conflict

-       people in power are scared of conflict and try to ignore it or run from it

-       when someone raises an issue that causes discomfort, the response is to blame the person for raising the issue rather than to look at the issue which is actually causing the problem

-       emphasis on being polite

-       equating the raising of difficult issues with being impolite, rude, or out of line

antidotes: role play ways to handle conflict before conflict happens; distinguish between being polite and raising hard issues; don't require those who raise hard issues to raise them in “acceptable” ways, especially if you are using the ways in which issues are raised as an excuse not to address the issues being raised; once a conflict is resolved, take the opportunity to revisit it and see how it might have been handled differently


-       little experience or comfort working as part of a team

-       people in organization believe they are responsible for solving problems alone

-       accountability, if any, goes up and down, not sideways to peers or to those the organization is set up to serve

-       desire for individual recognition and credit

-       leads to isolation

-       competition more highly valued than cooperation and where cooperation is valued, little time or resources devoted to developing skills in how to cooperate

-       creates a lack of accountability, as the organization values those who can get things done on their own without needing supervision or guidance

antidotes: include teamwork as an important value in your values statement; make sure the organization is working towards shared goals and people understand how working together will improve performance; evaluate people’s ability to work in a team as well as their ability to get the job done; make sure that credit is given to all those who participate in an effort, not just the leaders or most public person; make people accountable as a group rather than as individuals; create a culture where people bring problems to the group; use staff meetings as a place to solve problems, not just a place to report activities

I’m the only one

-       connected to individualism, the belief that if something is going to get done right, ëI’ have to do it

-       little or no ability to delegate work to others

antidotes: evaluate people based on their ability to delegate to others; evaluate people based on their ability to work as part of a team to accomplish shared goals

Progress is Bigger, More

-       observed in systems of accountability and ways we determine success

-       progress is an organization which expands (adds staff, adds projects) or develops the ability to serve more people (regardless of how well they are serving them)

-       gives no value, not even negative value, to its cost, for example, increased accountability to funders as the budget grows, ways in which those we serve may be exploited, excluded, or underserved as we focus on how many we are serving instead of quality of service or values created by the ways in which we serve

antidotes: create Seventh Generation thinking by asking how the actions of the group now will affect people seven generations from now; make sure that any cost/benefit analysis includes all the costs, not just the financial ones, for example the cost in morale, the cost in credibility, the cost in the use of resources; include process goals in your planning, for example make sure that your goals speak to how you want to do your work, not just what you want to do; ask those you work with and for to evaluate your performance


-       the belief that there is such a thing as being objective

-       the belief that emotions are inherently destructive, irrational, and should not play a role in decision-making or group process

-       invalidating people who show emotion

-       requiring people to think in a linear fashion and ignoring or invalidating those who think in other ways

-       impatience with any thinking that does not appear “logical” to those with power

antidotes: realize that everybody has a worldview and that everybody’s worldview affects the way they understand things; realize this means you too; push yourself to sit with discomfort when people are expressing themselves in ways which are not familiar to you; assume that everybody has a valid point and your job is to understand what that point is

Right to Comfort

-       the belief that those with power have a right to emotional and psychological comfort (another aspect of valuing ‘logic’ over emotion)

-       scapegoating those who cause discomfort

-       equating individual acts of unfairness against white people with systemic racism which daily targets people of color

antidotes: understand that discomfort is at the root of all growth and learning; welcome it as much as you can; deepen your political analysis of racism and oppression so you have a strong understanding of how your personal experience and feelings fit into a larger picture; don't take everything personally

One of the purposes of listing characteristics of white supremacy culture is to point out how organizations which unconsciously use these characteristics as their norms and standards make it difficult, if not impossible, to open the door to other cultural norms and standards. As a result, many of our organizations, while saying we want to be multicultural, really only allow other people and cultures to come in if they adapt or conform to already existing cultural norms. Being able to identify and name the cultural norms and standards you want is a first step to making room for a truly multi-cultural organization. ________________________________________________

II. ARE Accountability Guidelines for all members and leaders within Allies for Racial Equity.  At the 2010 ARE conference in Long Beach, California, attendees worked with Dr. Shelley Tochluk to develop a list of ways in which accountability is put into action. These Accountability Guidelines were refined through small group processes, finalized by the ARE Steering Committee, and subsequently reviewed and approved by DRUUMM leaders and members.   

ARE Accountability Guidelines

Allies for Racial Equity (ARE) is an organization of white, anti-racist Unitarian Universalists in an accountable relationship with Diverse Revolutionary Unitarian Universalist Multicultural Ministries (DRUUMM).  We seek to participate in the anti-racist transformation of our faith movement and our world. These guidelines exist as a living document within the covenant of our relationship with DRUUMM.

Institutional and Community Relationships

§  Work with the Unitarian Universalist Association, UU congregations and other UU institutions to further our shared goals of anti-racist transformation.

§  Support, initiate and expand anti-racism, anti-oppression and multiculturalism work in UU congregations and communities.

§  Deepen the understanding of white people of systemic oppression and white privilege in our organizations and institutions.

§  Know and understand the institutional relationship and history of DRUUMM and ARE.

§  Respond to requests from DRUUMM for allied participation in our UU movement.

§  Uphold a relationship of mutual accountability within ARE and with DRUUMM, including periodic auditing of these guidelines.

Interpersonal Relationships and Communication

§  Show up, speak up and challenge oppression, racism and white privilege.

§  Commit to building relationships of mutual trust and accountability with people and communities of color.

§  Be open to diverse forms of leadership and communication.

§  Commit to listening and learning.

§  Honor the experiences and cultural expressions of others and be respectful when stating our own beliefs, needs and feelings.

§  Be aware of personal assumptions and open to challenges of those assumptions.

§  Give and receive feedback openly, honestly and with compassion.

§  Ensure that all actions are taken within the framework of a healthy, accountable process.

§  Develop relationships of mentoring, support and mutual accountability with other white people.

§  Invite other white people to join us in this work.

§  Honor all people, exercise power consistent with the ARE mission, and seek to maintain right relationships.

§  Be mindful of the power of our non-verbal communication.

§  Stay at the table, even when it’s difficult.

Personal Practices, Reflection and Transformation

§  Examine our white privilege, entitlement and internalized sense of superiority and engage in ongoing discernment about personal assumptions, attitudes and motivations.

§  Learn to analyze how racism, privilege and power work on different levels in our society and seek to develop an understanding that is consistent with the analysis of DRUUMM and other UU groups that have been historically marginalized because of race or ethnicity.

§  Develop a spiritual practice that includes anti-racist reflection and transformation.

§  Commit to ongoing learning and action.

§  Take risks, be willing to make mistakes, act responsibly and seek reconciliation when there is conflict.

§  Strive for excellence and accept that we will sometimes fail.

§  Seek to connect our actions with our theology and to achieve ARE goals in a spirit of integrity, humility, generosity and love.

Email Contact

Mailing Address
4613 E Vernon Ave
Phoenix, AZ 85008

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