uusc4all is licensed under CC BY 2.0

uusc4all is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Election of Rev. Susan Frederick-Gray comes after the resignation of ex-president amidst diversity issues.
The Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) elected its first woman president in Rev. Susan Frederick-Gray. Frederick-Gray is the UUA’s ninth president and will lead the 1,000 UUA congregations and 200,000 members in the U.S.

The Arizona pastor is well known as an advocate for immigrants. Her election comes after the Rev. Peter Morales resigned following rising controversies regarding hiring practices and diversity in the organization. However, Frederick-Gray announced she was not the first president of UUA, indicating the strong leadership shown by the Rev. Sofía Betancourt, who was one of the three co-presidents who were chosen to take on the organization’s leadership following Rev. Peter Morales’ resignation.

Frederick-Gray has been instrumental in fighting against Arizona’s strict laws on immigration and has been putting in a lot of effort to fight for immigrant rights. She has already issued a statement showing her distaste for the High Court’s decision to allow some portions of Trump’s ban on the seven Muslim countries to be enforced even as the issue is still being battled in the Court. “Our country should welcome people regardless of their religious affiliation or lack thereof,” she said in her statement adding that the restrictions are an example of blatant religious discrimination because it was targeted specifically at Muslims.

Frederick-Gray’s election campaign has been crucial in recasting the appearance of the UUA as “a voice for love and justice.” Frederick-Gray was pitched against Rev. Jeanne Pupke and Rev. Alison Miller – all three contestants women. Perhaps the selection of women candidates for the presidency of the organization was a deliberate move to restore the image of the UUA which had taken a beating over diversity issues recently. The UUA has also faced a lot of heat for its selection practices.

Ironically, “Escalating Inequality” was adopted as the key point of contention for the organization’s General Assembly, held in New Orleans and attended by 4,100 members from 1,000 congregations. The General Assembly observed that racism, poor health, and low literacy were major factors that were causing misery in the world today. The statement by the General Assembly says, “As Unitarian Universalists, our faith invites us to counter fear with courage and manifest a collective vision of a more just, equitable, and compassionate society.’’

Frederick-Gray pointed out the work the UUA was yet to do and said she looks “forward to working with you (the congregations) on this transformative path ahead”.

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