On the entanglement of race, religion, and politics in America : News Center



January 23, 2023


HONORING MLK’S LEGACY: Valeria Sinclair-Chapman (front left), professor of political science at Purdue University, and Anthea Butler (right), chair of religious studies at the University of Pennsylvania, arrive as invited guests guest at the University of Rochester for a talk on the entanglement of race, religion, and politics in America. Moderating the discussion was Jeffrey McCune Jr., director of the University’s Frederick Douglass Institute for African and African-American Studies. (University of Rochester Photo / J. Adam Fenster)


Former University of Rochester professors Valeria Sinclair-Chapman (left) and Anthea Butler (right) are the featured speakers at the 2023 Martin Luther King Jr. University Commemorative Address. Held Jan. 20 in the Feldman Ballroom, the address was billed as “A Conversation Highlighting the Intersection of Social Justice and Religion,” with Jeffrey McCune Jr., the director of Rochester’s Frederick Douglass Institute for African and African-American Studies, who -moderate the discussion.

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Butler, a professor of religious studies and Africana studies at the University of Pennsylvania, noted how the injection of religion into politics created division in the United States—a historical legacy that continues until now. “What I want people to understand is that while people are talking about moral issues, they’re also talking about race, and you can’t escape that in America,” he said. “We have to start realizing that it’s not about good or bad religion, it’s what people do with religion.”

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Sinclair-Chapman, a professor of political science at Purdue University, added that institutions such as universities play an important role in the movement against racism and oppression. “What kind of questions do we need to ask? Where should we put our money that can bring these great minds to use against the questions that we really face in our local communities and really in the world ?” he asked. “This is the work we can do, and I think it can begin—that it should begin—in a place like Rochester. This is exactly the place where it should begin. It should be like a beacon. “

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Watch the 2023 MLK Commemorative Address

Tags: diversity, events, Frederick Douglass Institute for African and African-American Studies, MLK Commemorative Address

Category: In Pictures

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