Chanel Gomez waits to greet participants for an Our Whole Lives workshop on Jan. 25.
Meet Chanel Gomez - a young professional working for the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA). She is the Events Coordinator for the New England region, which includes six northeastern states including Massachusetts. That means she helps organize major events like leadership development workshops and trainings on Our Whole Lives (OWL) - a curriculum for healthy sexual ethics. According to Chanel, these events are specifically geared toward ministers and other people in positions of influence in their congregations. The goal is to build healthy and well-rounded leaders in all UU churches.
Chanel has been Events Coordinator since Jan. 2018. She didn’t grow up in a UU church, but was drawn to work for the UUA when she saw on the job description that the denomination had “a commitment to dismantling white supremacy.”
“That sounds like me,” she thought.
According to Chanel, the UUA New England region is constantly having conversations about how they can meet that goal. That’s the focus of many of their events. For example, one of their intro workshops is titled, “Addressing White Supremacy.”
“It’s not easy to do, and it’s not something that’s done in one fell swoop,” Chanel said. “Diversity, equity, and inclusion is at the center of all our workshops. That’s something that [the UUA] had an issue with, and now we’re actively addressing.”
After an event, part of Chanel’s job is to review surveys. She is encouraged to see that in the feedback, many people write that they are energized by those types of workshops.
“Most of the responses we got back was, ‘We want to see more of this - we want to start from the beginning.’ And that makes me really excited. It isn’t like, ‘I don’t need this workshop.’”
Chanel’s long-term goal is go back to school for policy. For now she is fulfilled by her role of helping organize these hard, but necessary conversations in the UUA.
“Everyone I work with - one of the questions they ask is which is really fascinating to me is, ‘How do we do this job [of addressing white supremacy] better’? So that’s something we’re constantly having conversations about... We do a lot of learning. We do a lot of self-teaching. We bring in a lot of people who have those different perspectives, and we try to have a conversation about race, which is not easy, but it’s interesting."
We are humbled to know that many of these conversations are happening inside our four walls here at Walker Center. Thank you Chanel and the UUA for all you are doing to build a more just and peaceful world!
--by Laura Keating, Communications Assistant and Walker Resident, BU STH M.Div '21