Side with Love is invested in providing culturally relevant and spiritual nourishing resources alongside affirming and resourcing leading edges within Unitarian Universalism and secular movement organizing. We’ve been experimenting with incorporating and connecting with artists and cultural workers - from the Revive Love Tour with Black Lives of UU and Rev. Sekou and the Holy Ghost in 2016 to working with artists for 30 Days of Love on our mixtapes. This Spring, we collaborated with Black Lives of UU to solicit justice, spiritual and theological reflections and conversations from across Unitarian Universalism. We’re excited to share them with you on our websites as well as social media platforms.
Over the next few months, you can expect to see poetry, narratives and multimedia art pieces from Black Unitarian Universalists involved with Black Lives of Unitarian Universalism. We’ll be sharing the content every Friday beginning Friday, April 20th - the week preceding the BLUU Revival - through General Assembly on social media and here. Stay tuned!
Read about the contributors below - with a new piece added each week. Click their name to see the art, poetry and reflections they have submitted.
Quiana Perkins is a black, queer, polyamorous fierce mama bear of two great kids. She lives in Ann Arbor MI by way of Minneapolis MN which she still calls home. When she’s able to carve out free time, she loves to write and perform poetry. She is also a big fan of nature photography and being in nerdy fellowship.
Christopher D. Sims is a poet, spoken word artist, human rights activist, and has been a Unitarian Universalist for almost eighteen years. He is a on the advisory board for the UUA’s Green Sanctuary Program. As an activist, Christopher has been involved with the movement for Black Lives, and has traveled to Ferguson, MO and Charlottesville, VA to witness and experience what is taking place in some of the most racially segregated or charged cities in the United States. Currently Christopher is speaking at UU places of worship about his experiences, and his knowledge of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s work. Christopher is a full-time poet, organizer, and activist. He’s always finding ways to inform, educate, and build community across the country. You can read more of his work at christopherdsims.wordpress.com and listen to his poetry at soundcloud.com/UniverSouLove.
Kris McElroy is a 33 year old, mixed black and white, transgender, multidimensional individual living with multiple disabilities. He is an artist; writer, including author of Perspectives: Discovery through Difference; Special Olympian; volunteer; and educator. The UU message, “whoever you are, all parts of you are welcome here”, describes his vision of a spiritual home and world founded in love and acceptance free to be all of who you are. Art, writing, and community engagement are the primary ways Kris expresses, processes, and addresses life’s topics such as disabilities, race, sexuality & gender identity, faith, trauma, social justice, and self-identity.
Candice Evans has been a member of the First Unitarian Universalist Church of Richmond for five years, but feels she's been a UU in spirit her whole life. She resides in Central Virginia with her husband and their young daughter. Aside from writing poetry and prose, she enjoys playing video games, watching movies, reading comic books and enjoying all manner of pop culture.
Helena Showell began attending Unitarian Society Germantown, Philadelphia, PA, in September 2014. She has been a member since October 2015, and has served as Worship Associate since September 2016. Being Worship Associate is a passionate ministry for her! She and her husband, Allen, live in Philadelphia, PA. They have three adult daughters, Bethany, Alyson, and Carole, and one son-in-law, Tom LaPorta. Alyson and Helena own an online herbal tea business, risingdawnteas.com. Helena is also a writer, photographer, graphic designer, and illustrator. She has an MFA in Media Design. Helena enjoys nature walking and observing plants and animals, and enjoys reading, crocheting, gardening, baking bread, and other pursuits.
Mathew P. Taylor, is a Southern California Native, and has a Bachelor’s in Communications. He is a community organizer, UU Seminarian, Pagan high priest, author, and Ceremony Celebrant. He has over 15 years’ experience in community organizing and Pagan Ministry Leadership. He is currently a student and Claremont School of Theology and will be seeking ordination in Parish ministry. He is currently Board President of the Universalist Unitarian Church of Riverside. He believes that his ministry is meant to help give a voice to the voiceless and to help find a home for the spiritually homeless.
"I am Oshara Meesha and I am an artist in Topeka, Kansas. I love to express my life through the lenses of art. Art has been a source of healing for me. I was given a diagnosis of Depression, Anxiety and PTSD. The more I create art, the more I feel like I am allowing healing to take place in my life. I believe that as I express myself, I in turn allow my life to become a source of healing and love to others. I am a member of Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Topeka. My minister is Sarah Oglesby-Dunegan."
Jesse N. Alexander is a performance poet, Afrofuturist, micro-publisher, electrical engineer, and finalist in the 1999 Allen Ginsberg Poetry contest. He has been featured at the Knitting Factory, Groove Drops, and the Sumei Multidisciplinary Center, and his work has appeared in Sojourners Magazine, The Drumming Between Us: Black Love & Erotic Poetry, and Drumvoices Revue: A Confluence of Literary, Cultural & Vision Arts.
A 17 year veteran of Bell Labs, Jesse holds a Master of Engineering degree in electrical engineering from Howard University. He supports his amateur radio, poetry, science, and science fiction addictions by developing documentation for the cloud computing industry.
LaTonya has been a member of the UU Fellowship of Winston-Salem for 15 years. She owns an event design and coordination business, Event Experts. When not working, LaTonya's goal is to have way more fun!