The Religion and Society Program Expands The Racial Justice & Religion Collective

July 27, 2023

The collective of 30 faith leaders and organizers will work together in the pursuit of racial equity and justice


Contact: Rev. Dr. Audrey C. Price
Religion and Society Program

Washington, DC, July 24, 2023– The Religion and Society Program at the Aspen Institute is pleased to announce the newest members of its newly formed Racial Justice and Religion Collective. This group of highly accomplished activists, faith leaders, organizers, scholars, and practitioners of racial justice will explore the role of religious pluralism and multi-faith coalition building in the United States in the struggle for racial justice. Among these thought leaders and organizers are people of numerous diverse religious traditions, political ideologies, and racial identifications who gather in the spirit of mutual tolerance and respect. Members of the Collective will convene over the next several months to discuss racial equity and justice, and the structures and systems intended to sustain them. In addition, they will discuss how religious pluralism can be most effectively utilized in the project of combatting ingrained and systemic racial prejudice.

How can religion help us to achieve lasting and meaningful racial justice in this country? Launched in 2012 as the Inclusive America Project, and re-launched in 2022 as the Religion and Society Program at the Aspen Institute, we want to strengthen the understanding of religion’s role in advancing equity and the common good. The Program focuses on bridging the gap between ideas and impact, working to build the capacity of faith-based leaders, increase philanthropic investment, and serve as a national knowledge hub that informs and connects leaders from various fields and faiths. In exploring the intersection of race and religion this collective will examine the role of both in ensuring a just society for all members regardless of their racial, ethnic, or religious background.

The addition of new voices of numerous ethnic, racial, and religious backgrounds has strengthened the collective. This year’s final collective members are listed below:

Rev. Dr. Audrey Price
Deputy Director–The Religion and Society Program at the Aspen Institute, Program Lead–Racial Justice and Religion Initiative

Ekemini Uwan
Public Theologian & Co-host of Truth’s Table Podcast

PJ Andrews
Race Discourse OfficerBaha’i National Center

Rev. Dr. Leroy Barber
Executive Director–Neighborhood Economics, Co-Founder–the Voices Project, Adjunct Professor–Multnomah University

Rev. Jamar A. Boyd II
Senior Manager of Organizational
Impact–Samuel DeWitt Proctor Conference, Inc.

Rev. Traci D. Blackmon
Associate General Minister of Justice and Local Church Ministries–United Church of Christ, Pastor in Residence–Eden Theological Seminary

Rev. Harvey J. Clemons
Pastor–Pleasant Hill Baptist Church (Houston), Founder–Fifth Ward Community Redevelopment Corporation, Founder–Pleasant Hill Community Development Corporation

Dr. Brittney Cooper
Associate Professor of Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies & Africana Studies– Rutgers University (New Brunswick)

Kaitlin Curtice
Poet, Author & Public Speaker–The Aki Institute

Rabbi Lindsey Danziger
Senior State Organizer –Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism

Nina Fernando
Executive Director–The Shoulder to Shoulder Campaign

Lisa Sharon Harper
Founder and President–Freedom Road

Randal Jelks
Professor of African and African American Studies and American Studies–University of Kansas

Dr. Russel Jeung
Professor of Asian American Studies–San Francisco State University, Co-founder–Stop AAPI Hate

Reverend Kasey Jones
Associate Coordinator for Outreach and Growth–Cooperative Baptist Fellowship

Michael Mata
Director of Network Engagement and Leadership Development–TogetherLA

Dr. Beverly Eileen Mitchell
Professor of Systematic Theology and Church History–Wesley Theological Seminary

Pastor Gil Monrose
Alumni Chair–We Are All Brooklyn, Director of Faith-based and Clergy Initiatives–Office of the Brooklyn Borough President, Founding President–67th Precinct Clergy Council Inc., “The GodSquad,” Founder and President–Brooklyn Center for Quality Life

Nicole Pressley
Field and Program Director–Unitarian Universalist Association

Darakshan Raja
Executive Director–Muslims for Just Futures

Rev. Larita Rice-Barnes
Founder–Metro East Organizing Coalition (MEOC), CEO–Global Political Advisor, Founder and Lead Organizer–Global Impact Leadership Alliance,TM Founder–RESET America RESET Africa®, Founder–My Pink StilettosTM

Bishop Dwayne Royster
Senior Pastor of Faith–United Church of Christ (Washington, DC.), General Secretary–Higher Ground Christian Fellowship International, Member–College of Bishops.

Yolanda Savage-Narva
Assistant Vice President of Racial Equity, Diversity and Inclusion–Union for Reform Judaism & Religious Access Center

Tahil Sharma
Regional Coordinator for North America– United Religions Initiative

Kia Smith
Digital Director–Faith in Public Life, Divinity Student

Reverend Kyev P. Tatum Sr.
Pastor–New Mount Rose Missionary Baptist Church

Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis
Co-Chair of the Poor People’s Campaign & Director of the Kairos Center for Religions, Rights, and Social Justice at Union Theological Seminary

Nikki Toyama-Szeto
Executive Director–Christians for Social Action, Senior Columnist–InterFaith America

The Religion and Society Program’s Deputy Director Audrey Price serves as the program lead for the RJR Initiative, and Ekemini Uwan serves as Special Advisor to the RJR Initiative and the RSP broadly. Dr. Prive will be available for media inquiries upon request. Please email Audrey Price for inquiries at For more information, please visit

This work is generously supported by The Henry Luce Foundation.

The Aspen Institute is a global nonprofit organization committed to realizing a free, just, and equitable society. Founded in 1949, the Institute drives change through dialogue, leadership, and action to help solve the most important challenges facing the United States and the world. Headquartered in Washington, DC, the Institute has a campus in Aspen, Colorado, and an international network of partners.



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