In June 2020 after the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade, Rayshard Brooks, and a host of others who have died because of police brutality and entrenched racism, IFYC articulated a public commitment to racial equity and the truth that Black Lives Matter. Concurrently, the nation was experiencing the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic which disproportionately impacts Black, indigenous, and LatinX communities.
Since that time, the U.S. has been in a period of social upheaval in which racial equity has, perhaps for the first time in American history, become a central focus in civic debates of how to fashion public life. Ideas that were once considered radical- such as reparations for descendants of enslaved Africans and demands to defund police departments- became normalized. The demonstrations on the streets, and the long years of organizing, have inspired wider spheres across social sectors, including organizations like IFYC, to take action to combat racism.
As a part of its commitment to racial equity, IFYC launched the inaugural Interfaith America Racial Equity Media Fellowship. The Fellowship brought together media creators and interfaith leaders who engage racial equity work within American public life and/or higher education to offer reflections and report on the intersection of civic religious pluralism and the movement for Black lives. In addition to compensation for their work, the Fellowship also created space for Fellows to engage and learn from public media experts including Jelani Cobb, Melissa Harris-Perry, Damon Young, and Janna Zinzi.
The Fellows are activists, artists, and thought leaders who created compelling media pieces that are published on Interfaith America. They include a mix of emerging and experienced media creators from different racial, ethnic, and religious/philosophical backgrounds. To celebrate and amplify their work, Interfaith America’s editorial team has chosen one piece from each Fellow to be featured here. You can find each piece from the Fellows in the racial equity section of Interfaith America.