FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Joey Longley, 419-953-5495
CORNEL WEST AND JASON COLLINS TO DISCUSS SEXUALITY, SPORTS, AND SPIRITUALITY AT UNION THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY
NEW YORK, NY — The NBA’s first openly gay player, Jason Collins, will join an all-star panel including Cornel West, Caroline Dessert, and Valerie Purdie-Vaughns to discuss the intersection of sports, sexuality, and spirituality. The public panel is sponsored by and will take place at Union Theological Seminary on Tuesday, June 30th, with lunch starting at noon and the panel running from 12:30 to 2:00.
The panel will be live streamed at utsnyc.edu, and the public is welcome to join the discussion in person by RSVPing here. Event is open to all press.
“Religion should bring communities together through love and acceptance,” said Collins. “Unfortunately, there are those who use religion as a way to justify discrimination and separate our community. The intersection of faith and LGBT issues should focus on spreading a message of love and quieting the intolerant voices of hate.”
The increasing visibility of professional athletes who identify as members of the LGBT community has generated a great deal of public discussion. However, those discussions rarely include any mention of faith.
“For far too long, the LGBT community has been relegated to second-class citizenship not only in the church, but in sports, public life, and every corner of our society,” said Union Theological Seminary President Serene Jones. “I hope this discussion will shine a light on the dark places in our society where we have not fully included our LGBT brothers and sisters.”
The panel will discuss how identities and institutions intersect in ways that limit an athlete’s capacity to live fully as a physical and spiritual being, looking at how cultural norms around gender, sexuality, and faith play out specifically in the worlds of sports and society.
The Center on African American Religion, Sexual Politics and Social Justice at Columbia University is cosponsoring the event.
WHO: Jason Collins, former NBA Basketball player and first openly gay active NBA athlete
Cornel West, Professor of Philosophy and Christian Practice, Union Theological Seminary
Caroline Dessert, Executive Director, Immigration Equality
Valerie Purdie-Vaughns, Associate Professor of Psychology, Columbia University, former collegiate athlete (moderator)
WHAT: Panel discussion on Body and Spirit: Sports Sexuality, and Society sponsored by Union Theological Seminary and The Center on African American Religion, Sexual Politics and Social Justice at Columbia University
WHEN: Tuesday, June 30th, with lunch from noon to 12:30pm and a discussion from 12:30pm to 2:00pm
WHERE: Union Theological Seminary at 3041 Broadway and 121st Street