The Office of Religious Life will be sharing various interfaith resources in response to racism that our office has developed over the past few years. We hope that these offerings can provide perspective and a space for thoughtful reflection in light of the structural racism and discrimination against Black people that the U.S. is wrestling with at the moment.

Edmund Pettus Bridge

Scriptural Responses to Racism

June 19: What is Juneteenth, and why is it important?


Juneteenth Statue

Juneteenth is an annual holiday observing the end of slavery in the United States. It marks the day in which people in the deepest parts of the former Confederacy received the news. 

On June 19, 1865, Union General Gordon Granger informed enslaved Blacks in Galveston, Texas, that President Abraham Lincoln had emancipated them on January 1, 1863, more than two and a half years prior, putting into effect the Emancipation Proclamation. 

Juneteenth (the name combines June and 19) has been celebrated for the last 155 years by Blacks across the nation. There are Juneteenth gatherings and parades as Black communities celebrate their freedom with moments of education, empowerment, prayer, and pride. 


"The function of freedom is to free someone else." — Toni Morrison, Barnard College Speech, 1979. “Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.” – James A. Baldwin

Books on Spirituality, Religion, and Race

The Cross and the Lynching Tree by James H. Cone 

I'm Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness by Austin Channing Brown

I Bring the Voices of My People: A Womanist Vision for Racial Reconciliation by Chanequa Walker-Barnes

Radical Dharma: Talking Race, Love, and Liberation by Rev. angel Kyodo Williams, Lama Rod Owens, Jasmine Syedullah Ph.D.

Rethinking Karma: The Dharma of Social Justice

The Inner Work of Racial Justice: Healing Ourselves and Transforming Our Communities Through Mindfulness by Rhonda V. Magee and Jon Kabat-Zinn 

Reconstructing the Gospel: Finding Freedom from Slaveholder Religion by Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove and The Reverend Dr. William J. Barber II 

White Christian Supremacy by Dr. Khyati Y. Joshi 

Islam and the Problem of Black Suffering by Dr. Sherman Jackson

Islam and the Blackamerican: Looking Toward the Third Resurrection by Dr. Sherman A. Jackson 

American Muslim Women: Negotiating Race, Class, and Gender within the Ummah (Religion, Race, and Ethnicity) by Karim, J. A.

A Hindu Theology of Liberation: Not-Two is Not One By Dr. Anantanand Rambachan

Office of Religious Life Programming

Below are past and future events hosted by the Office of Religious Life in partnership with other Princeton University departments speaking to racism and white supremacy from a faith-based perspective. 

From Lament to Prophesy: A Litany for Black Lives

Pain, rage, guilt, avoidance, sorrow, vulnerability, hope – this multi-religious virtual gathering space gives voice to our many feelings and leads us upward and outward with a call to live prophetically in the face of violence and hatred. As the world responds to the injustice of the murders of Black people and the protests around the world, we invite you to a brief time of prayerful reflection hosted by Office of Religious Life staff and members of the Princeton University faculty, staff, alumni and student body.

Man sitting in pews of University Chapel

Christianity and White Supremacy: Heresy and Hope Conference (March 29 – 30, 2019)

Christianity is one of the major supports of white supremacy and simultaneously its biggest challenge.  The malformation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ into advocacy for white supremacy is heresy while the power of the Gospel is our greatest hope of vanquishing it. The goals of this conference were simple:  to strengthen the good work of those in attendance as well as those who cannot be present; to broaden our networks, partnerships and friendships; to hear new ideas and experiences; and to be further empowered to make change

The opening and closing sessions for this conference were recorded and are still very much relevant today. We encourage you to listen to them below.

Opening Panel: The Tradition is a Problem

Closing Panel: The Tradition is an Answer

Yusef Salaam and Eddie Glaude

An Evening With Dr. Yusef Salaam of the Exonerated “Central Park Five” (November 20, 2019)

In conversation with Professor Eddie Glaude, author of Democracy in Black, How Race Still Enslaves the American Soul and chair of African American Studies. Dr. Yusef Salaam is a member of the exonerated five (featured on the Netflix series ‘When They See Us’) a group of black and Latino teens falsely convicted of the brutal attack and rape of a young woman on April 19, 1989. In this talk, Dr. Yusef engaged in a profound conversation on how his Islamic faith provided him the strength to endure his time in prison and continue his work as an advocate for policy change and social justice.

East Meets West (April 19, 2010)

In 2010, two worlds beautifully collided as Dr. Cornel West (Class of 1943 Professor at Princeton University and acclaimed author and speaker) and His Holiness Radhanath Swami (Bhakti Yoga master, director of the Radha-Gopinath Ashram, and acclaimed author and speaker) sat down together and share their thoughts on the Divine, the mysteries of love, and the role that spirituality plays in activism, compassion and justice. 

See below for the recorded videos of the event:
East Meets West Part 1
East Meets West Part 2

Reflections on the Problem of Black Suffering (March 29, 2010)

University of Michigan’s Professor Sherman Jackson and Princeton University’s Dr. Cornel West offer their perspectives on the historical problem and contemporary reality of suffering from both Christian and Muslim perspectives. Sherman A. Jackson is the Arthur F. Thurnau Professor of Near Eastern Studies, Visiting Professor of Law and Professor of Afro-American Studies at the University of Michigan. Cornel Ronald West (born June 2, 1953) is an American philosopher, author, critic, actor, civil rights activist and prominent member of the Democratic Socialists of America.