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Dismantling Racism with Youth

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Leading theologians and pastors explore the importance of addressing race and racism as part of ministry to youth.

Christopher Carter

Rev. Dr. Christopher Carter’s teaching, research, and activist interests are in Black, Womanist, and Environmental ethics, with a particular focus on race, food, and nonhuman animals. He is the co-creator of Racial Resilience, an anti-racism and anti-bias program that utilizes the combined insights of contemplative practices and critical race theories. His academic publications include The Spirit of Soul Food (University of Illinois Press, forthcoming), and “Blood in the Soil: The Racial, Racist, and Religious Dimensions of Environmentalism” in The Bloomsbury Handbook on Religion and Nature (Bloomsbury, 2018).

The passion that informs all of his work evolves out of his family’s struggle to loosen the chains of systematic racism – similar to bell hooks he believes that education is the practice of freedom. He believes that at its broadest level, learning should be transformational: it should transform how the student views herself, her neighbor, and her worldview. Currently he is an Assistant Professor of Theology at the University of San Diego, a Faith in Food Fellow at Farm Forward, and Assistant Pastor at Pacific Beach UMC.

Seth Schoen Seth Schoen

Dr. Seth Schoen’s research and teaching interests are in contemplative and spiritual practices, especially the cultivation of compassion. He is currently exploring how the Compassion Practice and critical race and racial formation theories mutually inform each other to create a spiritual path of renewal and transformation. As part of this effort, he has co-created Racial Resilience, anti-racism and anti-bias training program. Racial Resilience seeks, in part, to facilitate conversations about race by grounding them in compassionate, open, non-judgmental, and non-reactive personal and inter-personal spaces. Currently he is also an adjunct professor of Practical Theology at the University of San Diego.

Dr. Evelyn Parker Evelyn Parker

Dr. Evelyn Parker is the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and a Professor of Practical Theology at the Perkins School of Theology at Southern Methodist University.

Nyle Fort Nyle Fort

Nyle Fort is a minister, organizer, and scholar based in Newark, NJ. He received a BA in English from Morehouse College and a Masters of Divinity from Princeton Theological Seminary. Nyle has worked in the fields of education, criminal justice, and youth development for nearly a decade in various capacities including Youth Pastor of First Baptist Church of Lincoln Gardens, American Friends field worker at the Union County Juvenile Detention Center, and International Fellow at the St. Andrew Centre for Human Development in Southern India.

An activist committed to global transformative justice, Nyle brings his national experience and international lens to his local work. He recently travelled to Ferguson, Missouri to help build the Movement for Black Lives. Upon his return home, Nyle created 7 Last Words: Strange Fruit Speaks, a liturgy commemorating the last words of black people killed by police and vigilantes. In addition, he established Newark Books and Breakfast, a monthly program providing free books and breakfast to local youth and families. Most recently, Nyle travelled to Amsterdam, historic Palestine, and the Vatican in the effort to build solidarity across social movements.

In addition to his organizing work, Nyle has spoken at various academic, cultural, and religious institutions including Harvard University, University of Amsterdam, the Malcolm X and Betty Shabazz Center (former Audubon Ballroom), and the Riverside Church. His writings are featured in several academic presses including Harvard Journal of African American Public Policy and Socialism and Democracy as well as various popular media outlets including The Guardian, The Nation, and The Root – where he made its 2015 100 list alongside Kendrick Lamar and Ta-nehisi Coates. Nyle is currently a Ph.D student in Religion and African American studies at Princeton University and a Ford Pre-Doctoral Fellow.

Dr. Alemda Wright Almeda M. Wright

Professor Wright’s research focuses on African American religion, adolescent spiritual development, and the intersections of religion and public life. Prior to her arrival at Yale, she served for four years as assistant professor of religion and youth ministry at Pfeiffer University and, before that, from 2004 to 2009, was an adjunct faculty member and teaching assistant at the Candler School of Theology at Emory University. At Candler, she also served as program director of the Wisdom of Youth Project for one year and in various positions over four years with the Youth Theological Initiative. She has served as a consultant to the Women’s Theological Center in Boston and has taught at several schools in the Greater Boston area, including Shady Hill School, the Young Achievers Science and Math Academy, and the Martin Luther King, Jr. Open School. Professor Wright’s publications include a book she coedited with Mary Elizabeth Moore, Children, Youth, and Spirituality in a Troubling World, and an issue of Practical Matters Journal that she edited. She has given presentations at a number of conferences, including the annual meeting of the American Academy of Religion, and delivered the keynote address at the Children, Youth, and a New Kind of Christianity conference in Washington, D.C., in May 2012. Professor Wright is an ordained minister of the American Baptist Churches and has been on the ministerial staff of several churches, including Union Baptist Church in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and Victory for the World United Church of Christ in Stone Mountain, Georgia.

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