Inviting All People of Color to Work on Climate (In)Justice

Climate change promises not to be kind on anyone, least of all on us in the Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) communities. Time and time again, we have witnessed the disproportionate and disastrous impacts of climate change on communities of color – whether it is from storms, floods, heat waves, or the everyday injustices, amplified by the challenges faced by people of color and exacerbated by unique circumstances of marginalization or pandemics such as Covid.

A small group of us, working collaboratively with the Unitarian Universalist Ministry for Earth, were moved to form a new community: A BIPOC caucus focused on the intersections of racial, environmental and climate injustices.  Our thinking was inspired by the UU Seventh Principle (respect for the interdependent web of all existence) and the Eight Principle (accountably dismantle racism and all other oppressions). 

We convened people to join hands and gather to reflect on the current moment of climate emergency, exchange our aspirations and learn how our UU values can strengthen our commitments. Paula Cole Jones and Dr. Rashid Shaikh were honored to lead this caucus (see bios below). 

The caucus helped UU Ministry for Earth to have more BIPOC voices as they restructured their organization and work.

At this time, the caucus is not meeting actively, but we hope that you’ll join the gatherings UU Ministry for Earth hosts, and that you’ll take advantage of the resources they provide.

Paula Cole Jones is the founder of ADORE (A Dialogue on Race & Ethnicity), a former president of DRUUMM (Diverse and Revolutionary Unitarian Universalist Multicultural Ministries) and an independent consultant specializing in multicultural competencies and institutional change. She lives in Washington, D.C. and is a member of All Souls Church, D.C. Paula served as a Interim Congregational Life Consultant for the Central East Region from 2018-2020.

Rashid Shaikh, Ph.D., is Director of Science Emeritus at the Health Effects Institute, Boston. He has devoted his career to understanding how air pollution harms our health and has a special interest in trends in new technologies for transportation and in environmental justice.  Rashid identifies as an Indian Muslim and a UU and is a member of the First Parish in Cambridge, MA. Read this interview in the Unitarian Universalist Association magazine, UU World, with Dr. Rashid Shaikh!