Category Archives: Justice, Identity, and Social Change

Mourning, Intersectionality, and Hope, Part I: Don’t Be Selective

We have been focusing our  vigils on  shedding light in places where the inquiry and fervor of the media does not go. To vigil means to “pay attention” and to be “watchful.” Members of our diverse community are often directly affected by violence in contexts which are largely ignored by the media. On 4/16, members of EKTA, the South Asian Student organization, came forward to both mourn and protest the violence in Pakistan where a terror attack took place on Easter Sunday. Below are the opening remarks and the words from one of the student speakers, Mahnoor Latif, who shared her powerful statement. Continue reading

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Mourning, Intersectionality, and Hope, Part I: # Our Three Brothers:

Our Three Brothers Banner

At the end of February, three young immigrant men, two of whom were Muslim, were tragically killed in Fort Wayne, Indiana under unknown circumstances. They were murdered “execution style” in an abandoned building that was “under surveillance” by police for “gang and violent crimes.” The young men themselves did not have gang affiliations.

Student activists, some identifying as Muslim themselves, helped bring to the attention of the Smith Campus the stark contrast between the media coverage of these deaths and the murders of  three dental students in Chapel Hill North Carolina.

The murders of Deah Barakat, Rezan Abu-Salha, and Yosur Aby-Salha, in North Carolina in March of 2015,  identified as a hate crime, brought media focus to Islamophobia and Xenophobia. Here at Smith we vigiled and mourned these deaths. It was a tragic moment. It was also a moment that helped create the opportunity for Muslim students on campus to talk about their daily fear of being targeted.* Continue reading

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MLK & Justice, Identity, and Social Change Initiative (Part 1)

Over January Term (or J-term), two students participated in a fellowship for with our Center as part of our Justice, Identity, and Social Change (JISC) initiative. These students, Raven Fowlkes-Witten and Lucy Tucker, serve on our JISC advisory board.

The JISC Initiative of the Center for Religious and Spiritual Life (CRSL) seeks to integrate social justice work with our mission: We discuss ethical and moral matters beyond sectarian spheres, provide interfaith dialogue and interaction, reflect deeply on community engagement, and undergird social justice work with spiritual/contemplative practice and ideals.

For the 2016 Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday, the JISC fellowship project reflected on the intersections of spirituality and social justice. Continue reading

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