Growing Racial And Cultural Equity

The Growing Racial and Cultural Equity Team (G.R.A.C.E.) is committed to building a learning community among congregations working to grow their capacity to create and engage in multicultural, anti-racist ministries.

The team is made up of both clergy and lay people. If you or your social action/diversity committee would like to check in about how the team can support you and your congregation, please contact mgroot [at] uua [dot] org (Meck Groot).

The team supports the GRACE Learning Community by offering:

  • an annual GRACE summit for New England Region congregations. 2015 Summit details.
  • Learning Community Gatherings at locations throughout the region and throughout the year. Check the Regional Calendar for dates of upcoming gatherings. Can't find what you're looking for? Contact mgroot [at] uua [dot] org (Meck Groot).
  • consultations to individual congregations on request. Contact mgroot [at] uua [dot] org (Meck Groot). 

Araya FastAraya taught racism and oppression classes in the 70’s and 80’s at Boston University. She is excited to renew her commitment to anti-racism work in the past 5 years. She has been a leader in the establishment and functioning of the Multicultural Ministries Committee at First Church Unitarian Littleton. She has co-facilitated a monthly movie and discussion series of multicultural movies for the Church and the surrounding communities and has assisted in the Beloved Conversations training for church congregants for 2 years. Her passion at this time in her life is building anti-racist/anti-oppression/multicultural awareness  among white people. 

Meck is Justice Ministries lead for New England Region UUA. She is a former co-director of the Women's Theological Center where she worked for many years building inclusive, intentional multicultural community. She is committed to the co-creation of the Beloved Community, Dr. King's radical concept of a world rooted in relationships of reciprocity and responsibility.

Together with Rev. Deborah Holder and Hilary Allen, she created and maintains a website and blog called Be the Love which inspires a vision and practices for living Beloved Community.

Carl McCargo

Carl is a member of the UU Society of Greater Springfield where he is on the congregational Social Justice Team. He is also a JUUST Change consultant, activist with UU Mass Action and a member of Unitarian Universalists for a Just Economic Community. He has a passion for making cultural change by addressing the ways racism is perpetuated through media messages and images.


Rev. Josh PawelekREV. JOSH PAWELEK

The Rev. Josh M. Pawelek has been minister of the UU Society: East in Manchester, CT since 2003. In the past he has served as President of the Greater Hartford Interfaith Coalition for Equity and Justice and chair of CT Clergy for Marriage Equality. He describes himself as a theistic Unitarian Universalist; accountable white anti-racist, feminist, queer ally; liberal, suburban American minister dedicated to transformative preaching, teaching, healing and social justice ministries. He lives in Glastonbury, CT with his wife and two young sons. Read his blog on faith-based social justice work.

Polly is a member of the UU Society: East in Manchester, CT and has been on the G.R.A.C.E. since it began. 



For a decade now, Sam has trained in and worked at facilitating social justice initiatives, promoting multiculturalism and anti-oppression; and bringing a comprehensive focus in both communities and congregational environment. He is a member of the UU Church in Meriden.



Rev. Maria Cristina Vlassidis Burgoa is Assistant Minister at First Parish in Brookline. She has served as President of DRUUMM, as a member of the UUA's Council for Cross Cultural Engagement, and Commit2Respond. She currently serves on the Steering Committee of the Boston New Sanctuary Movement and is a Candidate in the Religion, Gender, and Culture Doctoral Program at Harvard Divinity School. 

Ken WagnerKen is currently on the Executive Board of Allies For Racial Equity (ARE). He is the former president of the Clara Barton District, the District Presidents Association and First Parish Church of Stow & Acton and, together with his spouse Laura, is currently a member of First Parish Church in Northborough. He began his anti-racist journey during the anti-war movement in the Viet Nam era, but didn’t begin understanding or unraveling his own role in the perpetuation of oppression until he began working in what was called a "white-privilege" group in early 2004 in his congregation. Since that time, he has collaborated with a number of such groups to sponsor and facilitate workshops and film series within several congregations and conducts anti-racist multicultural Sunday services upon invitation from congregations around the country. Ken regularly facilitates and leads the discussion of films sponsored by ARE at General Assembly each summer. He is the proud father of four children, a grandfather of one and lives in Marlborough with Laura.