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Union Theological Seminary Emerges as a Protest Hub

Student protesters laying on the ground as part of a die-in at Grand Central Station

Union Theological Seminary Emerges as a Protest Hub

Photo Credit AP.

Union Theological Seminary has emerged as a hub of protest activity following the Eric Garner decision. The protest activity appears to have started at a grassroots level among the students, but has been embraced by Union President Serene Jones, who appeared on the Melissa Harris-Perry show to formally support the student activism.

Union is also where Professor James H. Cone, author of The Cross and the Lynching Tree, teaches Systematic Theology. Cone is internationally famous for founding black liberation theology and writing about oppression, suffering, and redemption.

Previous administrations at Union were allegedly less supportive; we wrote about Reverend Winnie Varghese of St. Mark’s in the Bowery earlier, who had a different experience at Union in 1999. As a student, she was approached by furious Seminary leadership about a banner reading “Union Seminary Abhors Police Brutality”, hung in the wake of the shooting of Amadou Diallou.

Cone’s work seems as relevant now as it’s ever been, and it is good to see Union supporting the theology and work of one of their strongest voices. Have you read The Cross and the Lynching Tree, or Black Theology & Black Power? Whose voice are you listening to as you seek to understand these recent tragedies?

Posted by David Streever

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JC Fisher

I think Rev Varghese’s 1999 experience was the exception rather than the rule. I was arrested w a group of UTS students in 1991 protesting Gulf War 1; we had the full support of the administration (though they drew the line at allowing us to be arrested in Union graduation gowns!).

It’s a great tradition of Speaking Gospel Truth to Power that I’m glad to be part of. At Union, la lucha siempre continua!

JC Fisher, MA ’92

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