8th Principle of Unitarian Universalism

See the UUA 8th Principle Website to learn more:

Where did this come from originally?

Why Now?

Why the UUA (USA)?

Why single out racism?

What is Beloved Community?

What does it mean to be accountable?

Unitarian Universalist Association Article II Study Commission

In 1997, the General Assembly voted to commit to intentionally becoming an anti-racist, anti-oppressive, multicultural institution. Yet, almost 25 years later, we continue to fall short of our commitments and promises.

The process of examining and possibly revising Article II of the UUA Bylaws is a scheduled effort of the UUA Board, demanded by the bylaws themselves. The Study Commission, who has been charged with making a proposal to the UUA Board in January of 2023, has tremendous respect for what the 8th Principle movement has accomplished—and is accomplishing within UU communities. More than the language of the 8th Principle itself, we are moved by the ongoing conversations about what it means to be accountable to each other, and how we must—through our actions—take on the work of anti-racism and anti-oppression as an inextricable part of our Unitarian Universalist faith.

Article II Study Commission and 8th Principle Statement

How the UU Principles were Adopted. (Warren E. Ross, UUWorld, 2006)

Widening the Circle of Concern: UUA Commission

At the New Orleans General Assembly in 2017, the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) Commission on Institutional Change was established and charged by the UUA Board of Trustees to conduct an audit of white privilege and the structure of power within Unitarian Universalism, and analyze structural racism and white supremacy culture within the UUA. The Commission was in place for three years through the Virtual General Assembly in June of 2020.

The final work of the Commission, Widening the Circle of Concern: Report of the UUA Commission on Institutional Change, was presented to the Board of Trustees and General Assembly in June 2020.

The Commission on Institutional Change  and Widening the Circle of Institutional Change 

Click for Report (PDF format)    Click for Study Guide (PDF format)

Authors and Origin of the 8th Principle

Paula Cole Jones is the co-author of the 8th Principle, the founder of ADORE (A Dialogue on Race & Ethnicity), a former president of DRUUMM (Diverse and Revolutionary Unitarian Universalist Multicultural Ministries), and one of current board/esteemed advisors/what is group, for BLUU (Black Lives Unitarian Universalists. For more information:  https://www.uua.org/offices/people/paula-cole-jones

Bruce Pollack Johnson is the co-author of the 8th Principle.  Bruce is currently Assistant Moderator and Chair of the Justice Council at the UU Church of the Restoration in Philadelphia, which led civil rights work against blockbusting in the 60’s and in 2017 was the first UU congregation to pass the 8th Principle, which Bruce co-wrote with Paula Cole Jones. For a 6 min. presentation about why we need the 8th principle and some history of how it was written:  (May 2017, 6’) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cqzH9UUhAuU

Our Reforming and Transforming Tradition | New England Region

The call to adopt an 8th Principle is rippling through Unitarian Universalism. Institutions. As of March 2022, 156 congregations across the United States have adopted or endorsed the 8thPrinciple. The grassroots goal is to achieve 300 by General Assembly 2023.

UU Affiliate Organizations and History Related to UU Black Membership and Activities

We encourage all of you to explore some of the information out there about the black empowerment controversy, resolutions about anti-racism, and black affiliate organizations.
https://www.druumm.org/our-history/ Diverse and Revolutionary UU Multicultural Ministries, formed in 1997
https://www.uuare.org/  Allies for Racial Equity, formed in 1997
https://www.uua.org/action/statements/toward-anti-racist-unitarian-universalist-association 1997 antiracist resolution
https://blacklivesuu.org/ BLUU, Black Lives of Unitarian Universalism, formed in 2015
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8sRgw5FlDkA from the 2017 UU GA, a BLUU presentation, 20 min.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3DG1A-rjvik   from the 2017 UU GA, Dr. Sanyika talking about BlackEmpowerment, 20 min.

Ministry and the 8th Principle UUA Leader Lab 
(1:28:51, Dec. 2020)

Congregations that have adopted the 8th Principle are making history. Four ministers share their experiences and insights with the 8th Principle Learning Community. Three of the four speakers are among the first four congregations to adopt the 8th Principle in 2017. These ministers give us a glimpse inside of a new moment in leadership fulfilling the vision of a more inclusive future for Unitarian Universalists.

  • McKinley Sims, UU Church of the Restoration, Phil, PA (1st to adopt in 2017)
  • T.J. Fitzgerald, First Unitarian Church of Honolulu, HI (2nd to adopt in 2017)
  • John Crestwell, UU Church of Annapolis, MD (4th to adopt in 2018)
  • Dr. Robin Tanner, Beacon UU Church, Summit, NJ (recent – June 2020)

8th Principle Additional Resources Click HERE!