Many Unitarian Universalist congregations have little diversity when it comes to race and ethnicity. How does it feel to be a person of color in a predominantly white, liberal religious community? In the fall of 2013, three of us started this project to find out.

The project has led us to conversations, planning, reflections, fundraising, a panel workshop, and many new connections. It has been an amazing journey!

Are you a person of color wanting to connect with other Unitarian Universalists of color? Are you a member of a Unitarian Universalist community or another organization that is trying to become more multicultural? Do you simply love to read ordinary peoples’ life experiences? Whoever you are, however you arrived here, we are thrilled to make connections with you now.

In this book, you will meet fifteen Unitarian Universalists of color who come from all walks of life, live in different parts of the United States, and are uniquely talented and beautiful. As such, each story is written in each writer’s authentic style.

Some of us have known Unitarian Universalism for decades, and some of us have discovered this faith recently. Some of us love our congregations. Some of us have conflicting feelings. Some of us do not belong to any congregation at this time. Some of us play leadership roles, and some of us feel invisible.

We are proud to be unique individuals of color. Even though we share some experiences and traits with each other, we don’t want to be defined only by the color of our skin.

We present these stories to initiate more conversations because Unitarian Universalism is our chosen faith, but the Unitarian Universalist community has not always been welcoming to people who look like us. What can our congregations do to become more welcoming? What can we do together to become more whole?

We invite you to see unique beauties in each story. Look beyond our styles, vocabularies and grammars to see how we chose to tell our stories. Imagine a conversation with us.

When individuals or congregations in the stories make you feel uncomfortable, we encourage you to reflect on and have a conversation about where the feeling may be coming from and the cultures and practices of your own congregation.

Unitarian Universalists are called by our first principle to affirm inherent worth and dignity of every person. Accepting that we all make mistakes, figuring out what to do when mistakes happen, and learning from the experiences are all essential aspects of the first principle.

We believe that every person, regardless of color, has a story worth sharing. Sharing stories is an important part of creating a community that celebrates authentic people. We hope that our stories will inspire you to reach out to others and start sharing your own stories. And we definitely look forward to hearing from you!

Welcome to our worlds! Now let us begin our journey together.

With love,

Yuri, Chandra, and Tim

January 2017