The Proposed Eighth Principle
“We, the member congregations of the Unitarian Universalist Association, covenant to affirm and promote:
journeying toward spiritual wholeness
by working to build a diverse multicultural Beloved Community
by our actions that accountably dismantle racism and other oppressions in ourselves and our institutions.”
Unitarian Universalists are encouraged to continually explore truth and, when we arrive at a new level of understanding and clarity, to reflect that understanding and clarity in our covenant with one another. Unitarian Universalism is one of the few religions that intentionally acknowledge the importance of ongoing revealed truth. Our UU Principles were designed to be dynamic and organic, rather than fixed or creedal.
To place the proposed eighth principle in perspective, it will be useful to re – view the events that shaped it over time.
In 1960, the first version of the six principles was adopted.
In 1984, as environmental awareness and alarm reached a critical point, the Seventh Principle was added. That same year a revised “modern” form of the original six principles was also adopted.
In 1992, The Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) General Assembly (GA) passed the 1992 Resolution of Immediate Witness which, in part, affirmed the “vision of a racially diverse and multicultural Unitarian Universalism.”
In 1997, the UUA GA reaffirmed and refined the 1992 Resolution when delegates voted that the UUA commit to intentionally becoming an Anti-Racist, Anti-Oppression Multi-Cultural Organization (ARAOMC).
From 1997 until 2000, there was good progress toward this goal. Programs and practices, including Journey Toward Wholeness, Jubilee Anti-Racism Training Workshops, Multi-Cultural Consulting Services, etc. focused on moving our member congregations toward the realization of
“Beloved Community” where “people of diverse racial, ethnic, educational, class, gender, abilities, sexual orientation and all other backgrounds and identities come together in an interdependent relationship of love, mutual respect, and care that seeks to realize justice within the community and in the broader world.”
In the early 2000s, UUA funding and support for ARAOMC initiatives began to wane.
In 2013, Paula Cole Jones, the Director of Racial and Social Justice for the UU Central East Regional Group, who had been working with multiple congregations on ARAOMC goals for about 15 years, noted that UU congregations, even those in diverse communities, continued to be primarily European-American in membership, culture, and leadership. She concluded that, to elevate the work of moving more purposefully and more accountably toward the realization of “Beloved Community” as defined above, an eighth principle would be needed. She approached Bruce Pollack-Johnson (of the UU Church of the Restoration in Philadelphia) to ask for his help in deciding what components would be important to include in the proposed principle. The two of them, with input from other UU racial and social justice activists, drafted and refined what has become the Proposed Eighth Principle (stated above). That same year, the principle was presented at the General Assembly Planning Committee retreat and was later discussed by the members of the Council for Cross Cultural Engagement.
From 2013 to the present, leading BIPOC UU organizations – such as BLUU (Black Lives of Unitarian Universalists), DRUUMM (Diverse and Revolutionary Unitarian Universalist Multicultural Ministries) and ARE (Allies for Racial Equality) – have endorsed the Proposed Eighth Principle. They encourage UU congregations to add it to their congregational covenant, as yet another refinement of the first principle in which all the others are grounded.
BLUU was formed in July 2015. It is committed to expanding the power & capacity of Black UUs within our faith, and providing information, resources, and support to Black Unitarian Universalists.
DRUUMM is a collective of lay and religious professionals who identify as people of color. DRUUMM is committed to creating an anti-racist, anti-oppressive, multicultural UUA.
ARE is an activist group open to all people. It partners with DRUUMM in its mission.
In 2017, the UU Church of the Restoration in Philadelphia formally adopted the eighth principle as part of their members’ covenant with one another. Since then, over 100 UU congregations have adopted the principle.
In 2023 and again in 2024, The General Assembly will conduct votes on the formal ratification by the UUA of the Proposed Eighth Principle.
Additional information can be found at: 8thprincipleuu.org