Union News

Acclaimed Author & Legal Scholar Michelle Alexander to Lead ‘The Spirit of Justice’, a Series of Public Dialogues at Union

Categories: Press Releases, Public Programs & Events, Union News

September 20, 2017
NEW YORK– Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York (Union) announces the launch of a series of free public dialogues that aims to explore what kind of democracy, economy, and global community that we, the people, aim to co-create in the months and years to come.  Michelle Alexander, Visiting Professor and Scholar at Union, and bestselling author of The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, will host these timely discussions through a series of one-on-one dialogues with provocative and inspiring thought leaders, beginning with acclaimed activist and scholar, Angela Davis (Oct. 20), bestselling author Naomi Klein (Feb. 15, 2018), and Black Lives Matter co-founder, Patrisse Cullors (April 19, 2018).

The Spirit of Justice dialogues come not a moment too soon. The 2016 U.S. presidential election highlights the dangers of viewing American history as a slow but steady march towards greater freedom, justice, and equality for all. The reality is far more complicated. But one thing is clear: Since the days of our nation’s founding, there have always been people who have courageously embraced and embodied a spirit of justice. People of all colors, backgrounds, and walks of life have, in various ways, shown up in American history as revolutionaries, challenging us to reimagine what dignity, justice, and equality ought to mean and forcing us to reconsider who should be considered worthy of our collective care, compassion, and concern.

While some may wish to return to a time when most Americans had few rights and little hope for justice, The Spirit of Justice aims to amplify the voices of modern-day revolutionaries—artists, activists, scholars, healers, teachers and more—who are committed to moving forward in new ways with a keen understanding of the political history and moral dilemmas which brought us to this moment in time.

“Conversations about power, privilege, race, gender, and class have always been part of life and learning at Union,” says Rev. Dr. Serene Jones, president of Union Theological Seminary.  “The Spirit of Justice series offers an exciting opportunity to engage the wider community in thoughtful, challenging conversations about the future of our democracy and the fate of our planet.”

Angela Davis
Friday, October 20, 2017
6 p.m.
James Memorial Chapel
Angela Davis is an American political activist, academic, and author. She emerged as a prominent counterculture activist and radical in the 1960s as a leader of the Communist Party USA, and had close relations with the Black Panther Party through her involvement in the Civil Rights Movement. During the past fifty years, she has continued to be at the cutting edge of radical thought, organizing and movement building. She is also a prolific author. Her most recent works are Freedom is a Constant Struggle: Ferguson, Palestine, and the Foundations of a Movement and The Meaning of Freedom: And Other Difficult Dialogues.

Naomi Klein
Thursday, February 15, 2018
7 pm
James Memorial Chapel
Naomi Klein is a Canadian author, social activist, and filmmaker known for her sharp political analysis and criticism of capitalism and corporate globalization. Her most recent book—No Is Not Enough—was nominated for a National Book Award. It offers timely analysis US President Donald J. Trump’s election, and calls readers to move from passive opposition to engaged resistance.

Patrisse Cullors
Thursday, April 19, 2018
7 pm
James Memorial Chapel
A self-described “wife of Harriet Tubman,” Patrisse Cullors is a performance artist, author, movement-builder and co-founder of Black Lives Matter. A Fulbright scholar, Cullors first received critical acclaim for her performance piece STAINED: An Intimate Portrayal of State Violence. She has been named an NAACP History Maker and a Civil Rights Leader for the 21st Century by the Los Angeles Times. Her forthcoming book, When They Call You a Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir will be out in January.

About Union Theological Seminary
Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York is a seminary and a graduate school of theology established in 1836 by founders “deeply impressed by the claims of the world upon the church.” Union prepares women and men for committed lives of service to the church, academy and society. A Union education develops practices of mind and body that foster intellectual and academic excellence, social justice, and compassionate wisdom. Grounded in the Christian tradition and responsive to the needs of God’s creation, Union’s graduates make a difference wherever they serve.

Union believes that a new interreligious spiritualty of radical openness and love is the world’s best hope for peace, justice, and the care of God’s creation. Empowered by groundbreaking inquiry aligned with practical realism and a bias for action, Union is charting a profound new course for enduring social change. Our graduates make a difference wherever they serve, practicing their vocations with courage and perseverance, and speaking clearly and acting boldly on behalf of social justice in all of its forms.

Robin Reese, rreese@uts.columbia.edu, (212) 280-1552
Ben Perry, bperry@uts.columbia.edu, (212) 280-1591