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 has been a parishoner of FCU Littleton for over 10 years and their minister, Rev. Valentin, has reawakened Araya's desire and excitement about multiculturalism. Twenty years ago, while teaching Social Work at Boston University, Araya taught courses on racism and oppression as well as consulted with agencies on these issues. She is enjoying being in the process of her congregation becoming more multicultural.  

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. He serves as President of the Greater Hartford Interfaith Coalition for Equity and Justice, a 25-member faith-based community organization working on community-based schooling, reducing urban violence, and addressing race-based health disparities. He serves as chair of CT Clergy for Full Equality, who helped win passage of CT's transgender civil rights bill in 2011. 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.


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.