Webinar: A Transatlantic Conversation on Police States, Black Self-Reliance, and Colliding Worlds



In the age of Michael Brown, Eric Garner, the Marikana miners in South Africa, and the Chibok girls in Nigeria, the Transatlantic Roundtable on Religion and Race will be hosting a transnational conversation on assaults on Black humanity on the African continent and in the Diaspora!

Students, scholars and activists will discuss the role of young people in 21st century social struggles; lessons they’ve learned from past struggles for Black humanity including the anti- colonialism movement in Africa and the Caribbean, the civil rights movement in the US and the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa.

Presenters will share ideas and practices to move us beyond #BlackLivesMatter, to a future where the defense of Black humanity is more than a social struggle, more than a civil rights moment and is a global call for human rights for Black people everywhere.

R. Drew Smith, Pittsburgh Theological Seminary
William Ackah, Birkbeck, University of London
Rothney Tshaka, Itumeleng Mothoagae, and Mokhele Madise, University of South Africa
Yolande Cadore, Drug Policy Alliance
David Muir, Roehampton University
Iva Carruthers, Samuel DeWitt Proctor Conference
Danielle Ayers, Friendship West Baptist Church
Jonathan Weaver, Pan African Collective
Jamye Wooten, KineticsLive.com/Friends of the Congo
Vuyani Vellem, University of Pretoria
Allan Boesak, Desmond Tutu Center, Christian Theological Seminary and Butler University


Webinar Format
Opening statements from each institutional site (10 minutes)
Student responses from each  institutional site (5 minute)
Dialogue between sites


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Black and white worlds collide in tragedy

Sometimes it feels as though blacks and whites live on different planets.

Too many African-Americans are relegated to neighborhoods characterized by under-resourced schools; minimal jobs, goods and services; and governmental abandonment. The social privilege and economic prosperity enjoyed in other communities is dangled out of reach of large numbers of urban poor persons populating our American urban landscape.

These disparities translate into worlds of difference in how those on opposite sides of racial and income divides experience and perceive society. And these disparate perceptions and experiences can collide — as we saw in the tragic circumstances surrounding the recent police killings of Michael Brown, Eric Garner and others, and also in the responses by the American public to these killings.

Part of the dispute police had with Mr. Brown and Mr. Garner (which fueled subsequent public responses) was related to the issue of domain.

Where there are black neighborhoods suffering endemic political and economic neglect, leaving residents mainly to fend for themselves, should it be surprising that they sometimes chafe at police who show up asserting a drive-by public authority?
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Contesting Post-Racialism: Conflicted Churches in the United States and South Africa – April 1, 2015

81gYw5dnlRLAfter the 2008 election and 2012 reelection of Barack Obama as US president and the 1994 election of Nelson Mandela as the first of several blacks to serve as South Africa’s president, many within the two countries have declared race to be irrelevant. For contributors to this volume, the presumed demise of race may be premature. Given continued racial disparities in income, education, and employment, as well as in perceptions of problems and promise within the two countries, much healing remains unfinished. Nevertheless, despite persistently pronounced disparities between black and white realities, it has become more difficult to articulate racial issues. Some deem “race” an increasingly unnecessary identity in these more self-consciously “post-racial” times.

The volume engages post-racial ideas in both their limitations and promise. Contributors look specifically at the extent to which a church’s contemporary response to race consciousness and post-racial consciousness enables it to give an accurate public account of race.



We are isolating persons infected and affected by the Ebola crisis, but not along the lines the medical and public health sectors are promoting as a strategic response to the outbreak. Rather, Downloads4001America’s response to the recent Ebola outbreak throughout much of its deadly march across Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone has been largely one of “out of sight, out of mind.”

Though fairly visible to Americans through media sources, the Ebola crisis had not been seen or acknowledged by many of us in ways resulting in large-scale, systematic action.  Perhaps this can be traced to compassion fatigue or a general sense of helplessness in the face of so many tragedies occurring around the globe.

But American inattention to this crisis also stems from a long-standing isolationist emphasis within U.S. foreign policy and frequently within American culture in general, where too often we view problems beyond our borders as largely outside our realm of responsibility—unless of course those problems happen to jeopardize our political and economic interests abroad or our security here at home.  With the announcement on September 30 of a confirmed case of Ebola in Texas and with the death of that patient, Oct. 8, and the announcement of the infection of a nurse involved in the treatment of that patient, the crisis has now been brought dramatically closer to home. President Obama referred to Ebola in a September 25 U.N. speech as a regional security threat, but it grows clearer with each day that Ebola’s reach is decidedly more than regional.

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Scholarships for Liberian Refugee Children

TRRR Visit to Buduburam Refugee Camp Near Accra Ghana

A visit by TRRR delegates to the Buduburam Refugee Camp 40 kilometers from Accra was planned as part of our 2013 TRRR conference in Ghana.  With the official closing of the camp by UNHCR a year ago and the repatriation back to Liberia of most of the tens of thousands of Liberians who once resided in the camp, the services available to the approximately ten thousand Liberian refugees that have remained in the camp have been greatly reduced. Several reasons were given for why those who remain in the camp chose not to repatriate to Liberia,

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Violence Against Children in South Africa


Itumeleng Mothoagae, Voice and Voicelessness Project, University of South Africa
Cobus van Wyngaard, University of South Africa

If we do not speak, the rocks will cry out – On continuing violence against children and the vulnerable in society

Recent media reports about the mutilation, rape and brutal destruction of children’s bodies compel us to break our silence and to seek to stand where God stands, namely, against injustice and the denial of life for our children. We recognize that we, our society and Christian communities have become paralyzed by the scale of violence against children and the fact that places which should provide community protection and life have failed our children: homes, schools and communities have too often contributed to fear among children, parents and family. Read more

Poems by Maxine Bryant in response to Ghana slave sites 2013

[Poems by Maxine Bryant in response to the slave memorial site visits during the 2013 TRRR Ghana visit]

My Journey

My journey to Egypt transformed my theology.
My pilgrimage to Ghana transformed me!

My feet touched Mother Earth and carried me to the river
Where my ancestors had their last bath. – the thought made me shiver!
The fear that must have plagued their heart
Gripped my soul as on the soil I stood planted
Transcended for a moment – unable to depart
From the flood of memories – there I was granted
a gift from God who allowed me to bask in the presence
Of the sprints of my ancestors – a moment of reverence Read more

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