In 1997, leaders of the African American UU Multicultural Ministries, Latino/a UU Networking Association, ministers and religious educators of color, met in Los Gatos, California for a retreat focused on forging a deeper alliance together. A commitment was made to create a formation initially named the UU Religious Professionals of Color organization. A steering committee was elected and after further organizational development, bylaws were ratified in 1998 under the name of DRUUMM, Diverse & Revolutionary UU Multicultural Ministries. This group was initially reserved for religious professionals of color (primarily religious educators, seminarians and ministers) and was created to support and advocate for one another.
The Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) recognized DRUUMM as a primary accountability partner in fulfilling the Journey Towards Wholeness resolution. The UUA committed to providing annual support through a financial allocation and direct staff support from the UUA Faith in Action and later Identity Based Ministries Departments.
In early 1999, in part responding to interest from youth and young adults of color, congregational lay leaders, and other religious professionals, DRUUMM leadership voted to broaden membership to People of Color who affirm DRUUMM’s mission and values.
While People of Color are inspired by the liberating messages of Unitarian Universalism, congregational life often does not reflect diverse worldviews or cultural practices. Often congregations are not committed to the justice struggles of communities of color. This can leave people of color feeling invisible and isolated. For many members, participating in DRUUMM enhances their congregational experience and empower them to work for racial justice and cultural inclusion in their home church. For others, DRUUMM may be their primary place of Unitarian Universalist religious expression.
In 2005, anti-racist white allies founded Allies for Racial Equity (ARE) as a partner with DRUUMM. Together, DRUUMM and ARE work for an anti-racist, anti-oppressive, multicultural Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations.
In 2008, the UUA cut off support and formal relations with DRUUMM due to backlash and budget cuts.
In 2018, the UUA and DRUUMM re-entered into a five year covenant, including direct financial support and mutual agreements to serve UU People of Color. Today, DRUUMM includes religious professionals, adults, youth, children, joined together to affirm, celebrate and strengthen the racially diverse communities within Unitarian Universalism.