We have to imagine the kind of society we want to inhabit. We can’t simply assume that somehow, magically, we’re going to create a new society in which there will be new human beings. No, we have to begin that process of creating the society we want to inhabit right now.

~ Angela Davis

Racial Equity and Social Justice

The work of racial and social justice has been necessarily woven into my life. I participated in my first picket-line at four years old with the mothers in my community, and by age seven I was among the small group of children who desegregated the elementary school I attended. Since that time, I have stepped into gaps to address issues of racial and social injustices I saw before me. I did not always do this in any “organized” way, only as an act of living.

As a minister I’ve come to appreciate the power the moral presence of clergy brings to our collective acts of justice. And while I believe all injustice and oppressions must be addressed, it is also true that when they intersect with race, there’s an even greater negative impact – whether it’s climate change, reproductive rights, gender, disabilities, or other oppressions. We’re not fully addressing oppression or injustice if we’re not also addressing structural and systemic racism.

I find that some of my most important work is in bringing community relationships and UU people and resources together to meet needs named by those directly impacted by injustice, and to work together to build power that elicits change. Our UU principles informed by a theology of liberation can guide us in how we might create transformative change in the world – and it happens most powerfully through listening and being in relationship both within and beyond our walls.

I  have found Rev Brett to be an extremely dedicated and strong advocate for justice and equality in any environment she finds herself. I have marveled at her ability to remain calm, and speak with wisdom and clarity into issues of varying complexities. I count it as an honor to serve with Rev. Brett.

Rev. Dr. Herbert Reynolds Davis
Nehemiah Church
Durham CAN, Strategy Team & Clergy Caucus

Rev. Brett brings large measures of always present compassion, wisdom, humor, and humility to our shared work in leading an organizing community for justice. Her substantive impact for justice is accompanied by a skillful relationality that demonstrates her gifts in care, formation, and peacemaking. I honestly feel like I learn something every time she speaks or leads and consider myself quite privileged to collaborate with her across several leadership roles.

Timothy Conder
Black Mountain School of Theology & Community

Jacqueline Brett is a leader for these times. She offers a fiercely loving and lovingly fierce commitment to our shared humanity. She speaks softly and strongly to our need to be accountable to each other, ourselves, and the spirit of God in all of us. Any community is lucky to have her as a member.

Tema Okun
Racial justice teacher, writer, speaker, activist

As a Black woman minister in a mostly White congregation working toward racial equity and inclusion, she does not allow the congregation to become complacent, i.e., unaware of the ways in which progressive White people help perpetuate racism and other social injustices. She calls us to action and lifts up our values in her sermons and meditations. Even amidst overwhelming despair, she inspires hope.

Committee on Ministry Evaluation
Eno River Unitarian Universalist Fellowship

She is strongly pulled in the direction of leading Unitarian Universalists forward in matters of race and multiculturalism. I trust that every UU has a grasp of the extra pressure many ministers of color feel when they take up that call. I know Jacqueline understands it. She lives it. Outwardly, at least, she responds to that call with grace and resilience…. She has involved herself out of her deep love for people and for our Unitarian Universalism.

Lee Barker
President Emeritus
Meadville Lombard Theological School

She has spontaneously initiated healthy discussions in her own peer group around topics of race and class when something in the group’s conversation gave her intuition to do that. On these occasions, I was struck by her skilled facility in introducing the topic and guiding the discussion of presuppositions and prejudices. In larger gatherings as well, she did not hesitate to speak openly and forthrightly about race and class….

Rev. Ronald Hindelang, PhD, BCC, ACPE Supervisor
Chaplaincy Services
Brigham and Women’s Hospital

Rev. Brett has offered vital wisdom and courageous leadership at multiple levels in the grass roots broad-based community organizing work we do in Durham CAN. Rev. Brett is a deeply respected member of CAN’s Strategy Team, a visionary voice in CAN’s clergy caucus, and a key leader on multiple action campaigns — especially in criminal justice reform. CAN’s ongoing advocacy for social justice by organizing power to act on concrete and specific issues in the Durham community are enriched and empowered by Rev. Brett’s leadership. It is an honor to work alongside her.

Cullen McKenney
Co-Chair Durham CAN Strategy Team

Beyond her work with particular justice groups within and beyond ERUUF, Rev. Brett often integrates tenants of organizing and justice-making into her sermons, conversations, and teachings within the congregation.

Committee on Ministry Evaluation
Eno River Unitarian Universalist Fellowship

Rev. Brett’s work and witness have made our organization, Durham and North Carolina a more just, more beloved and more powerful community. She is a living testimony of what it means to integrate our whole selves, including the legacies of those who have come before us and shaped us, into our respective callings. And we are better for it.

Atinuke Diver
Executive Director and Lead Organizer
Durham Congregations, Associations and Neighborhoods (CAN)

I’ve had the pleasure of collaborating with Jacqueline as we’ve led a caucus of clergy members united in a community organizing coalition. I respect Jacqueline’s leadership immensely. She is careful in her thinking and wise in her perspective; gracious toward others, yet unbending in truthfulness. Her devotion is unquestionable, yet she brings a lightness to the work with her smile and laughter. She is a leader in our community, and Durham’s clergy are honored to call her a colleague and a friend.

Rev. Tommy Grimm
Durham CAN
Clergy Caucus Co-Chair
Strategy Team Member

Durham Pride
Durham Pride
Transgender Remembrance
Transgender Remembrance
Moral Monday
Moral Monday
HK on J
HK on J
Dismantling Racism ERUUF
Dismantling Racism ERUUF
Andrew Brown Jr Clergy March
Andrew Brown Jr Clergy March
Andrew Brown Jr
Andrew Brown Jr

Justice Movement Participation

Eviction Court Watching, Durham CAN Affordable Housing, October 2021

Relational Meeting with County Commissioner Wendy Jacobs on Evictions and EARP Funding, Durham CAN Strategy Team, September 2021

Clergy Accountability March for Death of Andrew Brown, Jr – Elizabeth City, NC, May 2021

Relational Meeting with Congressman David Price on Affordable Housing, Durham CAN Strategy Team, March 2021

Durham CAN Metro Actions on Mayor, County Commissioners, & City Council Members, 2017-2019

Relational Meeting with Stelfanie Williams, Vice President Duke Office of Durham & Community Affairs, Durham Durham CAN Clergy Caucus, October 2018

Relational Meeting with Dr. A. Eugene Washington, President and Chief Executive Officer Duke University Health System, Durham CAN Clergy Caucus, October 2018

North Carolina PrideFest, LGBTQ Center of Durham, September 2015 – 2019

HKonJ March, North Carolina NAACP, February 2015 – 2019

Women’s March, Raleigh, North Carolina, 2018

Durham: A City of Inclusion, Durham CAN, 2017

Women’s March on Chicago, 2017

Moral Monday Actions, Raleigh, NC, 2014 – 2017

Justice Actions during Finding Our Way Home Retreat for Religious Professionals of Color — UUA / Multicultural Growth & Witness, 2014-2017

State of Emergence: Faith Filled People Rally for Racial Justice, UU General Assembly, 2016

Southern Coalition for Social Justice — Intern, 2014-2015

Selected Classes and Continuing Education

Trauma and Faith — Leslie Takahashi / MFC, 2021

Reparations Is An Ethical and Spiritual Practice – Dr. David Ragland / UUSC, 2021

Introduction to Disability Justice Training for UUA Leaders – UUA, 2021

Personal Work of Racial Equity – Tema Okun / Pauli Murray Center for History and Social Justice, 2021

Self-Care as Caring for Racial Justice: The Inner-Outer Work of Change – Rhonda V. Magee, Spirit Rock Meditation Center, 2021

Transgender Inclusion – ERUUF / Transforming Hearts Collective, 2021

City of Durham Budget Academy, 2021

The Dharma of Kingian Nonviolence – Spirit Rock Meditation Center, 2021

Beloved Conversations – Fahs Collaborative, Fall 2020, May-September 2014

Community Organizing Training – Durham CAN / Metro IAF, 2019 (5-day), 2014, 2017 (1-day)

A Groundwater Approach to Racial Equity — Racial Equity Institute / Durham County Department of Public Health, 2018

Guardians of the River, Climate Justice for Religious Leaders (Nicaragua) – UU College of Social Justice, 2016

Pushing Our Bodies’ Limits: Janet Mock – Gender Rights Advocate, Chautauqua Institution, 2016

The Third Reconstruction: Rise of a New Justice Movement with Rev. William Barber – Chautauqua Institution, 2016

Unleashing Your Multicultural Ministry – MLTS, 2015 – 2016

A Conversation on Race, CGUUS, October 2015

Dismantling Racism Workshops – ERUUF: Fall 2015, Peoples Alliance: Fall 2014

Diversity and Inclusiveness Dialogues: Conscious Conversations About Race & Health Inequities – Brigham and Women’s Hospital, August 2015

Racial Equity Workshop Phase I – Racial Equity Institute/OAR, Spring 2015, Fall 2013

Race, Reconciliation and Courage: Creating the World We Want – Middle Collegiate Leading Edge Conference, April 2015

Mosaic Makers Conference – UUA Southern Region, Fall 2014, Spring 2015

Borderlinks Immigraton Justice (Arizona & Mexico) –UU College of Social Justice, 2015