Tag Archives: Identity

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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The Justice, Identity, and Social Change Initiative: Spiritual Life Meets Social Justice


It feels like the World is burning. This is what Sensei Ryumon Baldoquin, Community Religious Adviser, said at our first “Peace Meal,” a gathering for dialogue and discussion of difficult problems. Certainly in the last few weeks, with the earthquake in Nepal and the rise in media coverage of racially motivated violence, it feels as if the world is burning.

The Center for Religious and Spiritual Life (CRSL) must be a force for quenching fires; because religious and spiritual life on a college campus is most relevant to the extent that it confronts global and social Issues head-on. The Justice, Identity, and Social Change Initiative are the center’s formulation of its strategy for bringing together the internal, contemplative life of the spirit; and addressing the urgent, immediate problems of injustice that plague our world.
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Our Inescapable Network of Mutuality…


Amidst the cacophony of all that I am reading, hearing, and taking in response to the verdict in the Ferguson Grand Jury deliberation,—which I am, like many of us, just barely beginning to sort through—I have little, if anything, different or new to say.

I  do keep thinking about this quote form the Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King Jr., ” We’re caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly…” I have been wondering, what does it mean to be affected “directly” verses indirectly,” and how do we call into question these very notions, surrendering to this “inescapable network of mutuality” which most of us don’t fully experience  ourselves as part of, most of the time? Continue reading

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SWANS: Beyond Atheism, Agnosticism, and Religion to Spiritual Intersectionality


The first week in February was the United Nation’s “Interfaith Harmony Week”. While Smith will be commemorating this week later on in the semester, this is a good time to begin to talk about the what and why of “Interfaith Harmony.” Three Smith students, board members of the  Smith Spirituality In Action  Group have just returned from Atlanta where they attended the leadership institute of the Interfaith Youth Corps. The IFYC’s mission is to build religious pluralism, which they define as as respect for  peoples’ religious and non-religious identities which elicits mutually inspiring relationships and common action for the common good. Continue reading


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30 Poems In November: My Black Friends Laugh When I Tell Them I’m Black

(Yolandi Cruz)
I’m black!
… your skin is light

but I’m black!
… well your hair is too curly

but I grew up around all black people
… yeah but you got mad Spanish cousins and y’alls accent gets too thick

when y’all talk fast
Anyways what chu know about being black? What chu know about slavery
Your people didn’t go through Jim Crow or the middle passage
Martin Luther King wasn’t your king. Rosa Parks did not sit for you. Continue reading

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