the hds RACIAL JUSTICE & healing initiativePresents... A vision for the Center for Racial Justice & Healing at Harvard Divinity School
Standing beside Love is always Justice -Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
To The Community... D e a r M e m b e r s o f t h e H a r va r d D i v i n i t y S c h o o l ( HD S ) C o m m u n i t y: M e m b e r s o f t h e H D S R a c i a l J u s t i c e & H e a l i n g I n i t i at i v e a r e p l e a s e d t o p r e s e n t t h i s “ P r o g r a m m at i c D e s c r i p t i o n a n d O b j e c t i v e s ” f o r a p r o p o s e d “ C e n t e r f o r R a c i a l J u s t i c e & H e a l i n g” at H a r va r d D i v i n i t y S c h o o l . The wave of reactions and resistance that followed the fatal shooting of an unarmed Black teenager by a White police officer in Ferguson, Missouri this past summer did much to raise public consciousness regarding police brutality and violence against Black Americans and other people of color in our country. The deaths of Michael Brown, Eric Garner, countless migrants crossing the US-Mexico border, Arab-Americans and South Asian Americans in the aftermath of 9/11, and many others, are tragic indicators of the continued presence and spread of personal and systemic racism. As scholars and practitioners of religion at HDS, we believe we have a moral and ethical duty to respond to racial injustice. Our vision for a center reflects our collective response to the urgent need to cultivate racial justice and healing in our time, as well as to provide a foundation and commitment for generations to come. We are “dreaming big” and acting now to address this pressing moral crisis. Our goal is to equip students, scholars, and practitioners of religion to lead racial justice and healing efforts within HDS, Harvard University, the greater Boston area, and throughout the United States and the world, in order to contribute significantly to the eradication of racism.
Dean David Hempton and his administration have demonstrated consistent support for our efforts and have been clear about the challenges of a center model. We appreciate their commitment to engage in this work with us in order to accomplish some important goals during this crucial time. Other groups within the HDS community are also involved in various efforts to address racism. We present our vision for a center in the spirit of working collaboratively with members of the HDS community in an effort to work collectively and effectively to eliminate individual and structural racism within our society. We invite you to review this document and to consider the material presented. You are encouraged to share your thoughts, questions, and/or concerns with us via the following email address: email@example.com.
P l e a s e p l a n t o at t e n d t h e s c h o o l- w i d e f o r u m o n W e d n e s d ay, M a r c h 2 5 , 2 0 1 5 , f r o m 6 p m - 8 p m i n t h e B r a u n room, during which this vision will be discussed. Thank you for your consideration of this matter. We look forward to engaging with you in this critical work.
Love & justice, The HDS Racial Justice & Healing Initiative March 2015
Mission HDS Center for Racial Justice & Healing
OUR MISSION is to advance racial justice and healing by means of cross-disciplinary dialogue, scholarship, and training designed to address personal and systemic racism through strategies rooted in love.
OUR VISION is a world healed of racial injustice and inequity.
OUR GOAL is to equip students, scholars, and practitioners of religion to lead racial justice and healing efforts within HDS, Harvard University, Greater Boston, and throughout the world, in order to eradicate racism.
Rationale T h e I m pa c t o f R a c i s m
Despite its unstable and imprecise nature, the concept of race represents a social reality that has impact on the flourishing of physical bodies. Whether self-identified or identified by others, race regulates oneâ€™s engagement in society. This is especially true because racial categories were initially developed as a tool for racist oppression and they continue to function within this legacy. Race, consequently, is inextricably tied to racism, defined as a hierarchal social order in which whiteness represents power, privilege, and opportunity. This racial hierarchy plays out on two levels: the individual (internalized and interpersonal racism) and the systemic (institutional and structural racism). Racism has produced psychological and spiritual trauma that impacts every member of our society, and in particular, has led to the oppression and devastation of non-white people.
The Work of Racial Justice and Healing
The sacred and strategic work of racial justice strives for right relation against interpersonal divisions and structural inequities fostered by racism. At a fundamental level, right relation is achieved through recognizing and affirming the humanity in others and in oneself, as well as through securing systemic fair treatment and equitable opportunities and outcomes for all. The concept of racial healing signifies the daily work of confronting implicit biases and judgments in ourselves and in the system in order to begin to overcome them. Additionally, firmly rooted in an understanding of our shared vulnerability and interconnectedness, healing involves examining and mourning the trauma of white supremacy and racist ideologies that afflict people from all racial and ethnic backgrounds. We pay special attention to the reality that racism is most opportunistic and pernicious when infused with the power necessary to carry out its ends.
3 Through this Center, we seek to create and support spaces to examine the reality of racially induced psychic trauma. The project of the racial justice movement has historically been to challenge the systems that perpetuate inequality through a socially constructed racial caste system. This effort has entailed looking outside of oneself in strategizing the disruption of a system. There has been little effort to examine the trauma that people of all racial and ethnic backgrounds, including white people, have been impacted by. Within this context, what is meant by healing is liberation. While we may be concerned with and dedicated to the ongoing project of disrupting systematic racism, we must also, at the same time, concern ourselves with the internal project of liberating ourselves from the psychic trauma of racism. This is the project of healing that we must engage with in order to be sustained agents of the racial justice movement.
T h e R o l e o f H a r va r d D i v i n i t y S c h o o l
Harvard Divinity School is powerfully positioned to cultivate these notions of racial justice and healing for four reasons. First, HDS convenes uniquely wide-reaching scholars and practitioners, across faiths and academic disciplines, committed to addressing complex social problems. Second, our location within Harvard University provides the opportunity to magnify our impact and serve as a model for other centers nation-wide. Third, HDS fosters diverse and complex ways of knowing and being, which in turn allows for more nuanced engagement with social problems. Finally, HDS is committed to nurturing its community members holistically, which will allow the Center to address the healing of hearts and minds, in addition to pursuing racial justice.
HDS Center for Racial Justice & Healing
objectives & activities In pursuit of this mission and vision, the HDS Center for Racial Justice and Healing focuses its efforts on six main objectives. Within each objective we have highlighted the strategic activities we will undertake to achieve our desired outcomes.
1. Capacity T o i n c r e a s e t h e c a pa c i t y o f s t u d e n t s , fa c u lt y, a n d s ta f f t o a d d r e s s r a c i s m a n d r a c e - r e l at e d i s s u e s w i t h i n a n d b e yo n d H D S a n d H a r va r d U n i v e r s i t y. â€˘Provide trainings for faculty and staff on racism and racerelated issues inside and outside the classroom including racial oppression, internalized oppression, and white privilege, as well as the intersection of racism and religious conflicts. â€˘Provide trainings for students in racially-focused conflict resolution strategies, race-based trauma healing, facilitation of healing circles, anti-racism training, white ally training, and interracial dialogue. â€˘Provide opportunities for community members and students to build skills, connections, and strategies for collective action.
To foster and support scholarship in theological a n d r e l i g i o u s s t u d i e s t h at e x a m i n e t h e i n t e r s e c t i o n s of race, racism, and religion, as well as the role of religion and spirituality in racial justice and healing.
To enhance the knowledge and experience of HDS students in the area of religion, racial justice, and h e a l i n g.
•Conduct transformative research in: Faith-based and spiritual interventions for healing the impact racism locally and internationally, such as interventions for Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome (Dr. Joy DeGruy). TRC processes in South Africa, Rwanda, and other countries in an effort to examine the viability of a process in the US and with the aim towards developing a potential model. The intersection of race and racism with other social issues, such as gender, ethnicity, sexuality, religion, etc. Strategies and methods for nurturing and strengthening social change efforts.
•Establish an Area of Focus in Religion, Racial Justice, and Healing, for both MTS and MDiv students.* •Offer field education opportunities in ministry settings that focus on racial justice and/or racial healing. •Develop strategies for recruitment & retention of students, faculty, and staff of color. •Develop strategies for recruitment & retention of faculty who demonstrate a capacity and commitment to racial justice and healing through their scholarship and practice. •Offer J-term cross-cultural courses in reconciliation in places like South Africa and Rwanda.**
F O O TN O TE S
•Produce and edit an interdisciplinary Journal on Religion, Racial Justice, and Healing. *An initial proposal for developing this area of focus would be to utilize the resources of scholars and practitioners throughout the university, as well as others outside the university, who study race, racism, reconciliation, and trauma healing to create a curriculum around racial justice and healing. This should incorporate an examination of the history of racial oppression in America, including the research documented in Harvard and Slavery: Seeking a Forgotten History compiled by Harvard professors and students (visit http://www.harvardandslavery.com/ to learn more and to read the entire document). A curriculum could also include course offerings such as the course “Racial Justice in Relief: Movement Texts & Strategies” proposed by visiting Professor Jennifer Leath and co-designed by Rod Owens, MDiv ’17 (see attachment A). ** For an example of a program in South Africa, see the attachment on Bethel University’s Reconciliation Studies program (attachment B).
T o i n c r e a s e t h e e x p o s u r e o f s t u d e n t s , fa c u lt y, s ta f f, a n d c o m m u n i t y m e m b e r s t o s c h o l a r s h i p a n d a r t t h at e x a m i n e s t h e i n t e r s e c t i o n s o f r a c e , racism, religion, justice, and social change.
T o i m p r o v e t h e e n v i r o n m e n t at H D S , a n d w i t h i n t h e b r o a d e r H a r va r d c o m m u n i t y, f o r s t u d e n t s , fa c u lt y, a n d s ta f f o f c o l o r .
•Sponsor lecture series and public forums on the intersection of race, racism and religious conflict.
•Develop and facilitate safe forums for intrapersonal and interpersonal healing, as well as events for all members of the Harvard community to engage in the work of racial justice and healing.
•Host annual conferences to gather religious scholars and practitioners from around the world to address spirituallyfocused, multifaith strategies for racial justice and healing.
•Offer spiritual support for racial healing through practices such as prayer, meditation, and worship.
•Develop art series (visual, literary, and performative) on racial justice and healing.
•Provide a safe space for students of color to address their challenges stemming from racism, including microaggressions, experienced in the classroom, on campus, and in other settings.
T o e n h a n c e t h e r e l at i o n s h i p b e t w e e n H D S a n d o r g a n i z at i o n s w i t h i n t h e b r o a d e r B o s t o n - a r e a community committed to racial justice and h e a l i n g. •Procure funding for experiential learning courses that establish connections between students and communities in the Boston-area, such as Dr. Kaia Stern’s courses in Norfolk and Framingham prisons. •Actively encourage community members to engage with HDS by attending and participating in lecture series, conferences, and trainings. •Develop ongoing institutional relationships between HDS and community organizations.
Thank You. The HDS Racial Justice & Healing Initiative (continue reading for attachments)
All Are Welcome! example: hds reading group
Racial Justice in Relief: Movement Texts & Strategies Harvard Divinity School, Spring 2015 4:00PM-5:30 PM, Thursdays Rock Hall #117 attachment a
This reading group/course invites participants (students and faculty) to examine some of the texts that have helped shaped 20th Century racial justice movements in the United States. These readings will be an opportunity to learn both the histories and strategies of racial justice movements. It will also provide participants with an opportunity to consider how these strategies might be developed to strengthen various communities in better reflecting social justice and racial healing. While, for the sake of our development together, we ask that you attend every session, we understand that this may not be possible and encourage you to participate whenever you are able to do so.
Jennifer S. Leath, Roderick Owens & Melissa Bartholomew
• Present one text that will become part of the syllabus prior to the first meeting of class. • Present a bibliography of texts, documentaries, films or other resources that have been important for their development of racial justice consciousness to be shared with the entire reading group/class. We particularly invite texts that address racially induced trauma, psychological impacts of racism, strategies for resistance, movement building efforts, intersectional engagements between racial justice and other forms of justice, and healing as integral to projects of racial justice. • The course will culminate with the synthesis of strategies into a two-part framework that recommends a future agenda for racial justice at HDS and in broader community contexts. • Each student will be asked to journal (1-2 pages) every other meeting of the course beginning with the second meeting, critically engaging course documents in these journals. • Virtual Presenters will be invited to greet and engage the class for up to an hour of some of our sessions depending upon the suggestions of reading group participants and presenters’ availability. • Following the conclusion of the course, interested participants will join in a weekend pilgrimage to an agreed upon “place” of movement futures. • Facilitate a daylong retreat on the HDS campus in the beginning of the first half of the semester in which a broader community will be invited to engage in a time of learning – as
students share what the course readings have inspired thus far and strategizing – as students facilitate small group conversations with other participants in the daylong event. The strategizing effort will be focused on ways to promote racial justice in the HDS community and in other communities to which students are connected at large.
What We’ll Read W e e k 1 . Ly n c h i n g
Wells-Barnett, Ida. Southern Horrors and Other Writings: The Anti-Lynching Campaign of Ida B. Wells, 18921900. Boston: Bedford Books, 1997. Southern Horrors and ten or more accounts from Red Record.
Week 2. SNCC Documents Holsaert, Faith S., Martha Prescod Norman Noonan, Judy Richardson, Betty Garman Robinson, Jean Smith Young, and Dorothy M. Zellner, eds. Hands on the Freedom Plow: Personal Accounts by Women in SNCC. 1st Edition. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2012. Selections.
Week 3. Justice and Jesus Thurman, Howard. Jesus and the Disinherited. New York: Abingdon-Cokesbury Press, 1949.
Reading... Week 4.Highlander Documents W e e k 5 . S t r at e g i z i n g M o v e m e n t s Rustin, Bayard. Strategies for Freedom: The Changing Patterns of Black Protest. New York: Columbia University Press, 1976.
W e e k 6 . Pa n t h e r D o c u m e n t s Week 7. Writing the Movements Baldwin, James. The Cross of Redemption: Uncollected Writings. New York: Pantheon Books, 2010.
Week 8.Indigenous Documents Week 9. Futures of Movements Alexander, M. Jacqui. Pedagogies of Crossing: Meditations on Feminism, Sexual Politics, Memory, and the Sacred. Durham: Duke University Press, 2005.
W e e k 1 0 . M o v e C a m pa i g n D o c u m e n t s
â€œThere must exist a paradigm, a practical model for social change that includes an understanding of ways to transform consciousness that are linked to efforts to transform structures.â€?
bell hooks Killing Rage: Ending Racism
Program Example example: conentration formation
Reconciliation Studies Program at Bethel University attachment b
We live in a world where differences increasingly cause tensions between people, groups, and nations. We are divided in many ways including by race, culture, gender, social class, and religion. This is true in many parts of the worldâ€”Northern Ireland, Palestine/Israel, Zimbabwe, Guatemala, Burma, and elsewhereâ€”as well as in the cities, suburbs, and rural towns of the United States. In order to address this global reality, Bethel University developed a bachelorâ€™s degree in reconciliation studies that is biblically framed and designed to equip students with knowledge, experience, and skills in the areas of cultural and religious diversity, sociology, conflict resolution, spiritual disciplines, social and economic justice issues (racism, sexism, classism), and related topics. The academic discipline of reconciliation studies is housed in the department of anthropology and sociology and significantly influenced by the social sciences. Reconciliation studies shares some similar curricular content with disciplines such as peace and justice studies, conflict transformation, restorative justice, religion and society, and the like. Since reconciliation studies draws from a number of disciplines it is multidisciplinary in spirit. What sets reconciliation studies at Bethel University apart from these disciplines is that its core understanding of reconciliation emerges from a Jesuscentered theological foundation. The program of reconciliation studies at Bethel University prepares students to lead lives that impact the world of the twenty-first century. Whatever their vocation, a major or minor in reconciliation studies offers students an opportunity to become more proficient in recognizing injustice, addressing conflict, and engaging diversity. With a semester abroad in South Africa, the major can stand alone as a marketable degree for students who plan to serve organizations addressing diversity, international conflict, or a host of other issues facing our world.
Students can strategically align minors to further enhance their degree. A major or minor in reconciliation studies complements any of Bethel University’s many majors (if students choose to double major or add a minor). Students who can resolve conflict and embrace diversity have an advantage in a crowded job market. A business major can demonstrate an awareness of how culture, conflict, and injustice impact the market. A physical education major can show an understanding of the particular dynamics involved in team sports when diversity is present. A nursing major can express how cultural perspectives impact the care of patients. The reconciliation studies program not only prepares students to compete for jobs in their fields of study, it also develops their character, enhances their leadership ability, and expands their world view—it helps them grow to become better people.
M a j o r i n R e c o n c i l i at i o n S t u d i e s The major consists of 34 credits. This includes 22 credits from Bethel University courses plus 12 credits transferred in from courses enrolled in at Cornerstone Christian College in Cape Town, South Africa. The number of credits makes the major well suited for students interested in a double major or adding multiple minors.
A ) R E S 2 0 1 — I n t r o d u c t i o n t o R e c o n c i l i at i o n S t u d i e s ( 3 c r e d i t s ) Course Description: This course provides an overview
of theory and literature in the field, contributing factors leading to the need for reconciliation in our world, and paradigms for reconciliation praxis. It presents biblically-framed principles and
processes for moving toward societal reconciliation. Cultural and religious diversity, conflict resolution, spiritual disciplines, social and economic justice issues (racism, sexism, classism), and related subjects are covered. The course utilizes the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in South Africa as a model for what is possible in other contexts.
B ) S O C 1 0 1 — I n t r o d u c t i o n t o S o c i o l o gy ( 3 c r e d i t s ) C) Elective (3 credits) Choose one course from: • COM203F—Gender Communication • GES212E—Reconciliation in a Racialized Society • RES207E—Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, and Our Multicultural World • SOC204E—Race, Ethnicity, and Peacemaking • SOC385G—Social Inequality • SOW227E—Minority/Majority Issues in the USA: Power and Privilege
D ) R E S 3 0 5 - - C o n f l i c t R e s o l u t i o n a n d M e d i at i o n S k i l l s ( 3 c r e d i t s ) Course Description: Provides practical peacemaking
and reconciliation skills relevant to helping Christians resolve conflict in a healthy, balanced way. Focus on using experiential learning to develop negotiation and mediation skills.
E) South Africa Term (18 credits—6 from Bethel and 12 f r o m C o r n e r s t o n e ) The South Africa term offers a look at one of the few nations in world history that has demonstrated success in the arena of reconciliation. The antiapartheid struggle was
understood by most to be a reconciliation movement (most groups were multiracial). The leadership of Nelson Mandela modeled reconciliation. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission played a central role in a country-wide process of healing and reconciliation. To live in a society so fresh in its experience that it lives and breathes reconciliation is a unique opportunity for learning and embracing a lifestyle of reconciliation. A total of six courses are offered during interim and second semester. Students enroll in four existing courses within the Cornerstone Christian College curriculum offered during their first term and study side by side with Cornerstone students. Sitting in a very diverse classroom day by day has many benefits beyond the course content for Bethel students who are majoring in reconciliation studies.
T h e c o u r s e s s e l e c t e d at C o r n e r s t o n e a r e a s f o l l o w s :
1 ) D o c t r i n e s o f H u m a n i t y a n d t h e C h u r c h ( 3 c r e d i t s ) The
doctrine of humankind is investigated, emphasizing teaching and the theological significance of being created in Godâ€™s image, what constitutes human nature and the effects of sin upon humanity. In the second part the doctrine of the church, formed and empowered by the Holy Spirit, is investigated, focusing on its nature, ministry and mission. Throughout the course attention is given to the spiritual, ethical and social implications of these doctrines.
2 ) A n Ov e rv i e w o f t h e R o l e o f t h e T r u t h a n d R e c o n c i l i at i o n C o m m i s s i o n ( 3 c r e d i t s ) The course will introduce students to the primary objectives, some key submissions and the main outcomes of the TRC through readings, review of relevant materials and the interviewing of key people. The class will guide student in
their understandings of the role of the TRC and its significance in building a climate for reconciliation in South Africa.
3 ) P e r s p e c t i v e s o n T r a n s f o r m at i o n ( 3 c r e d i t s ) This course
reviews several perspectives on community development and the social transformation process. The study covers development as transformation, people-centred development, expanding access to social power, development as responsible well being, and development as a Kingdom response to powerlessness.
4 ) O r g a n i z at i o n a l L e a d e r s h i p ( 3 c r e d i t s ) Organizational
Leadership explores the theory and practice of leadership in the context of the church and other community-based and faithbased organisations. Two classes offered for Bethel students (with instructional support from Cornerstone faculty):
RES240â€”Introduction to South African History and C u lt u r e ( 3 c r e d i t s ) This course explores the history of South Africa-- the impact of colonialism on the indigenous peoples, and emergence of apartheid and its impact. Attention is given to the role of the Church both in the evolution of apartheid and in its demise. The multiculturalism that enriches South Africa is explored.
S C S 3 8 7 C r o s s - C u lt u r a l E x p e r i e n c e ( 3 c r e d i t s ) This course
credits the intensive experience of living and communicating in another culture for a minimum of two months. Student is fully immersed in the culture as much as possible and guided by a mentor from the host culture. This would provide Bethel students with service learning opportunities in ministries that partner with Cornerstone. Also, students would live for a short time in the townships.
R E S 2 0 1 — I n t r o d u c t i o n t o R e c o n c i l i at i o n S t u d i e s i s a prerequisite for the South Africa term. F ) R E S 4 0 0 — R e c o n c i l i at i o n & L e a d e r s h i p ( 4 c r e d i t s )
Course Description: This capstone course would provide a culminating experience to put to use knowledge and skills gained during studies done in the major and the minor. It would also go into much greater depth in preparing students to be leaders who can use the lenses of Christ-centered biblical “reconciliation” theology, critical thinking, multicultural perspectives, social change analysis, and conflict resolution skills. Students would study the theoretical underpinnings of reconciliation studies and the leadership models of reconciliation practice.Prerequisites: Declared major or minor in reconciliation studies and RES201— Introduction to Reconciliation Studies, or permission of the instructor.
“Love takes off the masks that we fear we cannot live without and know we cannot live within. I use the word “love” here not merely in the personal sense but as a state of being, or a state of grace - not in the infantile American sense of being made happy but in the tough and universal sense of quest and daring and growth.”
james baldwin The Fire Next Time