Two weeks ago, we launched the second season of Fortification, a podcast about the spiritual lives of organizers and activists, this time in collaboration with Auburn. We see Fortification as an opportunity to hear from people within and across faith and spiritual traditions to talk about some of the questions facing organizers, communities and institutions in these times.
“To me, a religious quest is a quest for the truth. Truth is one, but man's understanding of truth grows with the progress of mankind. I cannot believe that truth can be shut up in the narrow confines of any system of thought. . .” - Rev. Andrew Kuroda
Andrew Kuroda (December 29, 1906 - February 19, 1997) was a Unitarian minister, cataloguer, bibliographer and reference librarian. When President Franklin Delano Roosevelt issued his Executive Order 9066 in 1942, Kuroda and his family were forced into internment camps Newell, Calif., and in Colorado. Later, asked why Japanese American citizens did not resist this order, Kuroda explained that "We were concerned about our safety—the threat of reprisals against us was always on our minds." His final military assignment was as a member of the United States Strategic Bombing Survey, working in Washington and Japan, which surveyed the morale of the Japanese whose lives had been affected by the dropping of the two atomic bombs. He would eventually go on to become a librarian working in the Library of Congress. At the same time, Kuroda served in a number of Christian churches until he became Unitarian and soon after established the Japanese Unitarian Fellowship of All Souls’ Church (Unitarian) conducting its first service in Japanese in 1962 - the only Japanese Unitarian fellowship outside of Japan. Read more about Rev. Kuroda here.
The past few weeks have been...full. Filled with the sorrow and questions emergent from another mass shooting and the inability of leaders’ articulation to talk about masculinity, white supremacy and rage. We witnessed the extraordinary power of grassroots organizers - many of them young People of Color - to ensure that this November we could be proud to support progressive People of Color, Trans, queer and immigrant candidates across the country. We also saw patterns of voting across race that mirrored many of those in 2016 - including the ongoing power of Black women voters and failure of political parties to center their leadership or priorities.
As you reflect on the most recent waves, we share a few offerings that may be relevant to you. Check out this playlist by Rev. Elizabeth Nguyen, a poem “moon tell me” by adrienne maree brown, our first episode of season 2 of Fortification featuring Rodney McKenzie & Caitlin Breedlove, an Ancestral Spiritual Resistance Zine from Francisca Porchas & Mijente and this Post-Election Soul Food compilation by Rev. Cathy Rion Starr - a year old but still rather relevant.
As we prepare for the times ahead, we invite you into the next call by the Love Resists Campaign. Focused on building spiritual community and sharing lessons from recent months, we are excited to offer conversations with grassroots organizers leading campaigns against criminalization within our own communities. We hope these webinars will provide both some background information and some practical tools applicable to the work you’re doing.
Last fall, we launched Fortification, a podcast about the spiritual lives of organizers and activists. It was an amazing opportunity to get to sit down with people within and across faith tradition to talk about some of the big questions facing organizers, communities and institutions.
Much has changed and much remains the same since our first episode. We're excited to be coming to you with a second season of Fortification: Spiritual Sustenance for Movement Leadership - the same recording team and now in collaboration with Auburn Seminary. We're having similar conversations and bringing questions about the roles, opportunities and barriers to faith communities supporting movement, creating individual and collective rituals for the long-haul and more.
Mary White Ovington (April 11, 1865- July 15, 1951) was a suffragette, socialist, Unitarian, journalist and co-founder of the NAACP. Ovington was a white civil rights advocate and organizer who worked to address racial discrimination within housing and employment in New York City, work that led her into relationship with prominent Black civil rights organizers including leaders of the Niagara Movement and WEB Du Bois. Her work in support of and alongside many others would eventually lead to the founding of the permanent body known as the NAACP. Its early members included Josephine Ruffin, Mary Talbert, Mary Church Terrell, Inez Milholland, Jane Addams, George Henry White, Charles Edward Russell, John Dewey, Charles Darrow, Lincoln Steffens, Ray Stannard Baker, Fanny Garrison Villard, Oswald Garrison Villard and Ida Wells-Barnett. Ovington would go on to serve in various leadership capacities at the NAACP throughout her time while also authoring numerous books. Read more about her work here.
May we be relentless in our work for growth - for ourselves and each other. Like Ovington, may we continue to strengthen our study coupled with praxis, building relationships with those with whom we share a vision of the world we are building. May we honor the contributions and legacy of those who came before.