In May 2016, the congregation chose the Racial Justice Initiative (RJI) as its two-year initiative. Over the past two years, RJI has hosted film screenings, workshops, educational trainings, and church services (see some of our past events below). Our congregation's focus on educating ourselves about racial issues and the need to combat white supremacy in our society led to the vote this May to hang the Black Lives Matter banner outside church.

Now, the decision has been made to extend our congregation's racial justice work by forming a permanent working committee. Thus, RJI is now the Racial Justice Project (RJP)! We are excited to continue our educational and advocacy work:

  • RJP will continue to provide workshops, movie screenings, and other educational opportunities to our church members and friends from the community. In partnership with Interim Director of Religious Education, Michele Grove, we have begun to consider how these activities can be reframed as part of our congregation's religious education. We also hope to provide programming for children and families, in addition to adult education.

  • RJP will strive to form more and deeper connections with other organizations in Champaign County who are working on behalf of racial justice in our community.

  • Through participation in community events, RJP has begun to increase UUCUC's visibility around issues of race and racial justice.

  • RJP will continue to partner with Reverend Florence on church services that explore race and racial justice.

  • RJP will lead the congregation in reflecting critically on the procedures, documents, and practices within our congregation that might deter people of color from becoming more fully a part of our community.

The members of the RJP committee look forward to helping the congregation maintain racial justice education and advocacy as a sustained, central part of our church. The RJP committee meets on the 2nd Thursday of the month from 6:30–8 pm, and new members with interest in racial justice work are always welcome. If you have questions or suggestions for RJP, please contact the committee co-chairs: Deanna Hence ( and Karla Peterson (

Past Racial Justice Initiative Sponsored Events

Wednesday, April 4th, marks the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. 

Please join us for a short service at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Urbana-Champaign on Wednesday, April 4th.  The service will start promptly at 5:45pm in the Sanctuary and will last 30 minutes.  Participants will be invited to ring our UU bell as we join churches all across the country ringing their bells 39 times – once for each year of his life.

Workshop: Exploring Whiteness

The workshop was held on Mondays evenings in April and was led by AJ Herzog and Tim Livingston. The classes were patterned after a class developed by Rev. Kate Lore, a UU Minister in Portland, Oregon. Participants focused on a variety of educational and personal exploration activities related to whiteness and the institutional systems that favor whites and reinforce inequality. 

Film Viewing: "In Whose Honor?"

Sponsored by the UUCUC Racial Justice Initiative

Filmmaker Jay Rosenstein focuses on the story of Charlene Teters, a Spokane Indian whose campaign against Chief Illiniwek, the University of Illinois' beloved team mascot, turned our town upside down and made people rethink the larger issues of culture and identity. A discussion was led by Ross Wantland, Director of the Office of Inclusion and Intercultural Relations.

Film Viewing: "I Am Not Your Negro"


Sponsored by the UUCUC Racial Justice Initiative 

2016 Academy Award nominated documentary, "I Am Not Your Negro". The film explores the history of racism in the US through James Baldwin's reminiscences of civil rights leaders Medgar Evers, Malcolm X, and Martin Luther King, Jr.. 

Workshop: Exploring Whiteness

Sponsored by the UUCUC Racial Justice Initiative

We hosted a conversation on how white privilege and supremacy is reproduced through racially segregated spaces on Sunday, October 1st and 8th, 2018. U of I Professor Ken Salo showed and discussed with us portions of the PBS series, Race, the Power of an Illusion, primarily focusing on part three, The House We Live In. This deals with the ways institutions and policies advantage some groups and have fostered and maintained segregated racialized spaces which are part of a system which, by itself, works to maintain white supremacy. We discussed how this relates to the inequalities of Ferguson and how this process is manifested in Champaign-Urbana.

Professor Salo teaches and conducts research in environmental racism and justice in the context of urban and regional planning.  

Workshop: "Talking with my racist Uncle Joe" 

Sponsored by the UUCUC Racial Justice Initiative

A workshop was held on September 17th and 22nd, led by Amy Felty (Community Coalition's Racial Justice Task Force) and featured small group interactions that explored opportunities to be more prepared to respond to racist (or sexist) comments by friends, relatives, and coworkers. The interactive exercise - called "Racist Uncle Joe" - was designed to help us prepare how to respond in a group setting through creativity, compassion, and strategy.

Workshop: Being White in the Black Lives Matter Movement

Sponsored by the UUCUC Racial Justice Initiative 

As another step in our efforts to promote racial awareness and justice, we conducted a 4-session class in February 2017. Inspired by a class developed by Rev. Kate Lore, a UU Minister in Portland, OR, it includes education, personal exploration, and opportunities to take action related to broad racial justice topics. 

The class was co-led by Jim Hannum and Andrea (AJ) Herzog, with assistance from Kathleen Robbins and Dave Sutton. 


The House I live In                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     April 9, 2017                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  

Racial justice film series - part six

Cracking the Codes: The System of Racial Inequity                                                                                                                                                           March 12, 2017                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   

racial justice film series - part five

13th                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    January 8, 2017

racial justice film series - part four

The Return                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       December 11, 2016

racial justice film series - part three

Ferguson: A Report from Occupied Territory                                                                                                                                                                                         November 13, 2016

racial justice film series - Part two

Putting Racism on the Table" Robin DiAngelo on White Privilege                                                                                                                                                  October 9, 2016


kick-off to two-year initiative on racial justice

On Sunday, September 18, 2016, UUCUC kicked off its two-year initiative on RACIAL JUSTICE with a film viewing and discussion of Racial Taboo.

Thanks to the leadership of the Racial Justice Task Force and thanks to leaders from the community who volunteered their time to facilitate the discussion groups following the film, the event was a huge success!  Scroll down on this page for photos of the event.

Full-house to view our Racial Justice Initiative kick-off film and discussion of RACIAL TABOO!

Full-house to view our Racial Justice Initiative kick-off film and discussion of RACIAL TABOO!