Rev. Adam Taylor, in his book Mobilizing Hope, draws upon the heritage of faith-based activism to encourage young people to be politically engaged and to fight for justice and human rights.
Taylor will share his vision and present "The Future of Social Justice Activism for a Post-Civil Rights Generation" at Kent State University at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 20, at the fall symposium hosted by the Center for the Study of Information and Religion in the School of Library and Information Science (SLIS). The talk will take place in room 317 of the Kent Student Center.
After earning degrees at Emory University and Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government, Taylor founded and served as executive director of Global Justice, an organization that mobilizes students around issues of global human rights and economic justice. He went on to become a senior political director at Sojourners and a White House Fellow in the Office of Cabinet Affairs, Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs in the Obama administration. Taylor currently serves as the vice president of advocacy for World Vision, U.S. He is also an ordained minister at First Baptist Church in Washington, D.C.
Taylor's presentation will focus on what it means to re-invent and revitalize activism for a younger generation. He will build on lessons from previous movements like the civil rights and anti-apartheid movement while focusing on new methods and strategies that will be effective in today's society.
"I will draw upon concrete examples both from my own career as well as from other young leaders and activists who have been successful in changing policies, laws and budgets at the local, national and international level," said Taylor.
Taylor hopes his talk at Kent State will help students, faculty and staff better understand that they can play a critical role in combating injustice and inequality in today's society.
"I hope that they will leave the presentation feeling challenged, inspired and empowered to use their voice, gifts and influence to impact some of the most pressing justice issues facing our nation and world," he said.
As a child, Taylor grew up fascinated by the civil rights struggle, often feeling he was born in the wrong era.
"Over time I realized that my generation inherits the unfinished business of that and other movements for human dignity and justice," he said. "I wrote Mobilizing Hope to draw lessons from previous social movements that can be applied to the most pressing injustices today while also offering new wineskins for activism that fit the current political and economic landscape."
Taylor has been involved in justice for most of his life, but it wasn't until graduate school that he formally connected his activism with a legitimate form of discipleship and ministry.
"Through my studies and experiences I've learned that the majority of the most successful social movements were anchored in and fueled by faith," he said. "My faith centers my perspective in the struggles and aspirations of the least, the last, and the lost and helps me avoid the temptation of accessing power for personal gain or selfish motives."
The Center for the Study of Information and Religion (CSIR) is a research initiative of the School of Library and Information Science (SLIS) at Kent State University. CSIR was founded in 2009 with the goal of facilitating research on the various institutions and agents of religion and their effect on social knowledge through the use, dissemination and diffusion of information. For more information, visit http://www.kent.edu/slis/research/csir.cfm.
~ By Nicole Gennarelli