BLACK LIVES OF UNITARIAN UNIVERSALISM

Organizing Collective Board

The Black Lives of Unitarian Universalism Organizing Collective Board (OCB) serves as the Board of Directors for BLUU. This is a working board whose collective work is to breathe life into the vision and mission of BLUU and be in relationships with various constituencies to build and grow a Unitarian Universalism that centers Blackness. Many OCB members are also on BLUU’s staff. Members of the OCB have various areas of expertise where they take primary responsibility for related work.

  • Overview

    The Black Lives of Unitarian Universalism Organizing Collective Board serves as the Board of Directors for the BLUU organization. This is a working Board whose collective work is to breathe life into the vision and mission of BLUU and be in relationships with various constituencies to build and grow a Unitarian Universalism that centers Blackness. Many members are also on BLUU’s staff. Members of the OC Board have various areas of expertise where they take primary responsibility for related work.

    These areas include (but are not limited to): organizing, communications, infrastructure, fundraising, youth and young adult ministry, content development, organizational relationship-building, worship-leading, pastoral care, and event and gathering planning.

  • Reasons for a board of directors

    • To provide oversight and long-term visioning and planning to for the organization.

    • It is legally required.

  • Structure

    • The BLUU OCB started as a self-established group of Black organizers, that received funding from the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) to build out our mission and vision in the world. As part of our work to create a platform focused on self-determination for Black UUs, we created a more collaborative model of organizational leadership that centers accountability to the wider Black UU community. This model is what we called the ‘organizing collective.’
    • BLUU leadership has decentralized power, instead of hierarchical power. This is a subtle but important difference. The OCB is accountable for how it uses power through shared principles, values, and a covenant (which we call working agreements), being transparent, and by being grounded in community. Because we exist in a litigious and capitalist society, in order to legally continue our work started with the generous financial investment from the UUA, we had to transition BLUU’s founding Organizing Collective into a Board of Directors (OCB). However, we are not abandoning our aspirations of collective governance and nonconventional power-sharing. We built a hybrid model to adjust to our legal requirements, while not eschewing our original commitment to collective leadership. We created three other co-governing entities, in addition to the OCB, that support the work of BLUU: the Financial Transparency Group, The Advisory Team and the BLUU Elders 360 Vision Council. Please refer to our bylaws for more information about these various groups and their relationship to the OCB and their areas of work.
    • A member of the OCB can serve up to three, two-year terms.
    • OC Board Members, according to our bylaws, are the decision-makers for the organization. However, the OCB is required to consult with all advisory groups in making major decisions for the BLUU.
  • Expectations

    • Attend weekly OCB meetings.

    • Attend all working retreats. Usually two per year.

    • Attend all in-person gatherings (in the past this has been a Convening, Revival, and a Symposium).

    • Agree and adhere to the OCB working agreements.

    • Engage actively in the work and help the organization grow, succeed, and develop.

    • Keep up with the fast-paced nature of project management and communications.

    • Be honest about capacity and ability to follow through with current projects.

    • Build project management skills interpersonally and in online platforms.

Lena K. Gardner

Executive Director

Dr. Takiyah Nur Amin

Organizing Collective Board Member

Marchaé Grair

Communications Director

Rev. Mykal Slack

Community Minister for Worship & Spiritual Care

Rev. Kimberly Quinn Johnson

Organizing Collective Board Member

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