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A Call for Presentations on Religion, Race, and Contested Globalization

As western and westernizing nations have experienced increased socio-cultural diversification, intersectionality, and competition (within and across borders), this has been accompanied by an intensification of domestic and international conflict. This has manifested recently in widespread mobilizations against immigrants and religious minorities, including in 2016 electoral backlashes in the U.S. and UK, and similar mobilizations in France, Austria, and Italy. Against this backdrop, and mindful of increased vulnerability in-general by people of color within these intersections and collisions, the 2017 Transatlantic Roundtable on Religion and Race will be convened in Washington, DC to focus on “Religion, Race, and Contested Globalization.”

Please submit 150-250 word abstracts by February 15, 2017 to Dr. R. Drew Smith (Pittsburgh Theological Seminary) rsmith@pts.edu or Dr. William Ackah (Univ. of London) w.ackah@bbk.ac.uk.


VENUE: Howard University Blackburn Center

      TIME: June 28-30, 9:00 a.m.-5:30 p.m.

June 28-30 Conference Registration Details

* General rate: $250 dollars. includes lunch and light refreshments all 3 days.

* Students (full time)/Unwaged: $125—Partial waivers available in some circumstances

* Day rates: $ 100; or for Students/Unwaged: $50

Payment details:

Via a check or money order mailed and made payable to:

Transatlantic Roundtable on Religion and Race

2650 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Street, #88096

Indianapolis, IN 46208-9998


Credit Card via PayPal (below)

Registration type

Refund Policy (for registration fees):

Through Feb. 28, 2017: 100% refundable

March 1-31: 60% refundable

April-1-May 15: 40% refundable

After May 15: nonrefundable


Conference Accommodations

Participants are encouraged to book the hotel of their choice as soon as possible. June is peak season for visitors to Washington and the demand for affordable hotel rooms will be high. Hotels in Arlington and Crystal City, Virginia may be good options, as are hotels at Dulles Airport and BWI airport (although further away). Please make sure your hotel is accessible to a Metro train stop.

The Transatlantic Roundtable on Religion and Race (TRRR) was founded in 2010 with the aim of bringing together scholars, religious leaders and community activists from across the African diaspora and continent to facilitate dialogue, intellectual output, and activism in the cause of improving the lives of people of African heritage around the world. Though TRRR’s approach is scholarly, its commitment is to advancing informed and progressive responses to persistent racial problems in dialogue and collaboration with broad publics. Our 2016 conference in Washington DC will be the seventh TRRR conference, following successful conferences in Trinidad & Tobago (2016), the UK (2015 and 2012), South Africa (2014 and 2011) and Ghana (2013).

For additional information about conference registration and about TRRR, please visit:


Persistent Racial Problems: Political, Cultural, and Religious Responses


A Call for Presentations on

Persistent Racial Problems:

Political, Cultural, and Religious Responses


The 2016 Transatlantic Roundtable will convene in Trinidad and Tobago:

  • 60 years after the watershed election in that nation that consolidated black political empowerment and charted the course for the nation’s 1962 independence, and 50 years after the independence of its southern Caribbean neighbors Barbados and Guyana;
  • 60 years after the launch of a wave of independence in Africa that from Sudan’s independence in 1956 to Lesotho’s in 1966 included 30 sub-Saharan African countries;
  • 60 years after the successful conclusion of the Montogmery Bus Boycott which helped mobilize the nationwide mid-20th century Civil Rights Movment in the USA; and
  • 70 years since the post-World War II beginnings of mass migration from Africa, the Caribbean, and Asia to the UK.


Despite the gains in the decades since those historic markers, however, African-descended communities across the globe continue to suffer effects of political, economic and social inequities whose consequences include alarming levels of disease, unemployment, incarceration, and systemic violence. Our 2016 conference will examine public policy responses (including reparations discussions), expressions of cultural resistance, and faith-centered responses (including interfaith). We invite proposals outlining “best-practices” and practical dimensions as well as conceptual and applied scholarly papers that explore these or related themes.


Please submit 150-250 word abstracts by EXTENDED DEADLINE April 30, 2016 to Dr. R. Drew Smith (Pittsburgh Theological Seminary) rsmith@pts.edu or Dr. William Ackah  (Univ. of London) w.ackah@bbk.ac.uk .


 August 3-5 Conference Registration Details

  • General rate: $250 dollars. includes lunch and light refreshments all 3 days.
  • Students/Unwaged/Local participants REDUCED rate: $125—Partial fee waivers available in some circumstances
  • Day rates: $ 100; or for Students/Unwaged/Local participants, $50


 Conference AccommodationsHilton Trinidad and Conference Centre, Lady Young Road, Port of Spain Trinidad
Single occupancy: $129 (daily rate, plus tax and fees)
Double occupancy: $139 (daily rate, plus tax and fees)
Hotel booking link:

Pre-Conference Activities, July 31-August 2July 31-August 1, Emancipation Day Activities in Trinidad

July 31, Local worship opportunities in Port of Spain

August 2, Community Immersion Activities


Post Conference Activities

Tobago Excursion, beginning August 6

  An  optional excursion to Tobago island will take place following the conference, where conference participants can take in Tobago’s distinctive culture and beautiful beaches.  There will be August 7 worship opportunities at local congregations, and opportunities for local community visits on August 6.  Persons planning to participate can arrange for a July 6th flight from Port of Spain, Trinidad to Tobago, and can return to Port of Spain at their own discretion for connecting flights to their ongoing destinations. 

Recommended hotels:

Turtle Beach Hotel, 1 868 639 2636 or 6607365
Single Room: US$142.76
Double Room: US$261.04
Grafton Beach Hotel, 1 868 639 0191
Double Room (incl tax and b/fast): US$188.25




Via a check or money order mailed and made payable to:

Transatlantic Roundtable on Religion and Race

2650 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Street, #88096

Indianapolis, IN 46208-9998


Electronic transfer from overseas to TRRR account:

Bank: Chase

Address: 270 Park Avenue, New York NY 10017

Account name: Transatlantic Roundtable on Religion and Race

Account number: 719206703

Routing number: 074000010


Refund Policy (for registration fees):

Through June 1, 2016: 100% refundable

June 2-July 1: 60% refundable

July 2-July 25: 40% refundable

After July 25: nonrefundable



Registration type

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?
Read more

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.


Repairing Community: Faith-Based Responses to Racial Disparities and Conflict


Repairing Community:
Faith-Based Responses to Racial Disparities and Conflict

African-descended communities across the globe are suffering effects of political, economic and social inequities whose consequences include alarming levels of disease, unemployment, incarceration, and systemic violence. What institutional, cultural, public policy, and faith-centered responses can be mobilized in response to this state of affairs?  The 2015 Transatlantic Roundtable on religion and race aims to focus on the role of faith based organisations, leaders, community activists and others in confronting key issues impacting groups where racial disparities and/ or racial/religious conflict are a key feature of community life.

Read more


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.

Read more

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,

Read more

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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