Welcoming Strangers, Finding Brothers and Sisters

There are several upcoming events in Indianapolis related to refugees and justice, a subject that has been very much on my mind, as I’ll be teaching a course that will run over the entirety of the next academic year, in parallel with the Butler Seminar on Religion and Global Affairs, the theme of which for the upcoming year will be “Religion, Refugees, and Migration.” We’ll have a number of guest speakers and local panelists, including Joshua Landis, M. Jan Holton, Miguel A. De La Torre, and John L. McCulloughMore information about the series will be coming your way soon!

Next week the Desmond Tutu Center will host a lunchtime viewing of and discussion about a documentary which two of my Butler University colleagues were involved in creating, about the Burmese Baptist refugee community here in Indianapolis.

Welcoming Strangers, Finding Brothers and Sisters

May 25, 11a-12p, Atherton Union 326, Butler University, 4600 Sunset Ave, Indianapolis, IN

Fort Wayne and Indianapolis have settled the largest groups of Burmese refugees in recent years. Most Indianapolis residents are still unaware of the presence of refugees, the contributions refugees make to our community, and the immense challenges refugees experience in Indianapolis. The First Baptist Church’s experiences and learnings as they approach ten years of sharing life with Burmese refugees is the focus of this documentary. As a product of the Desmond Tutu Center Fellowship, this documentary was created as a provocation to foster greater awareness and to encourage public discourse around peace, reconciliation, and justice through civil, respectful, and enlightening cross-cultural interactions.

There will also be an event at Butler, “Executive Orders and Resistance: Past, Present, and Future”:

Monday, May 22, 6:30-8:30 PM, Room 141 in Jordan Hall, Butler University

Unscalable legal walls have long existed from the mid-1800s until the 1960s that prevented many non-Europeans from entering the US. Join us as we provide a historical context for understanding recent Executive Orders that ban specific people from entering the US. The session will seek to go beyond a sense of the immorality of recent Executive Orders and understand how they fit into a long history of “wall” building that excluded and/or isolated large communities/populations. This event is in the tradition of “Teach-ins”of the 60s to provide a factual foundation for fostering resistance, and will be led by David Suzuki- Director of the Equity Institute on Race, Culture, and Transformative Action, Waseema Ali- Managing Director of the Desmond Tutu Center for Peace, Reconciliation, and Global Justice, and Patricia Castañeda, Former Co-Chair of the Race and Cultural Relations Leadership Network.

Finally, the choir of a Congolese congregation that shares my own church’s sanctuary will be participating in a local musical event next month:

African Concert

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  • John MacDonald

    The only thing that gives me pause about religious organizations helping out the downtrodden is that sometimes the religious people take the opportunity as a time to indoctrinate.