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Engaging Religious Audiences for Social Change
By John D Strong

The last few years have shown a substantial increase in bias-motivated incidents in the United States. In fact, the FBI reported that 2021 marked a 12 year high in reported hate crimes. Events such as the murder of Ahmaud Arbery and a shooting rampage targeting Asian women in Atlanta are examples of racially motivated crimes. A recent hostage standoff at a Texas synagogue suggests that this violent trend will continue into 2022.

In this virtual event, Dr. Melissa Borja, a religion scholar and 2022 Anti-Racism Collaborative Research and Impact Fellow, leads a discussion with other religion scholars who draw on their research and scholarship to inform their involvement in anti-racist and social justice efforts in religious communities. Discussion topics include the possibilities and perils of using religion as a starting point for having important conversations about difficult topics, such as racism and immigration, and the challenges and opportunities of applying one's research and scholarship to influence social change in religious communities.


Melissa Borja, 2022 Anti-Racism Collaborative Research & Community Impact Fellow and Assistant Professor in the Department of American Culture at the University of Michigan


Samira Mehta, Assistant Professor of Women & Gender Studies and Jewish Studies at the University of Colorado Boulder

Matthew Cressler, Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at the College of Charleston at South Carolina

Eric Barreto, Frederick and Margaret L. Weyerhaeuser Associate Professor of New Testament at Princeton Theological Seminary

Nancy Khalil, Assistant Professor and 2018 LSA Collegiate Fellow in American Culture at the University of Michigan

Zoom Registration:


March 22
3:00pm - 4:30pm