Borders and Identity, the 2017 Earl and Boswell Lectures, will feature reflections from trailblazing social justice activists and organizers. Pacific School of Religion and our Center for LGBTQ and Gender Studies in Religion are honored to welcome Rev. John Fife, Rev. Phillip Lawson, Dolores Huerta, and Rev. James Lawson, Jr.
Biographies from the National Council of Elders
Reverends John Fife, Phillip Lawson, and James Lawson, Jr. will be reflecting on the first 100 days of the Trump presidency during Saturday’s plenary.
Rev. John Fife is the co-founder of the Sanctuary Movement which protected Central American refugees from deportation in the 1980s. He is a founding volunteer with No More Deaths which provides humanitarian aid to migrants in the Sonoran Desert borderlands. In 1992 Fife was elected Moderator of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA).
Rev. Phillip Lawson a United Methodist Pastor (ret) and community organizer, still works tirelessly for the rights of migrants, low wage workers, for human and sexual freedom. Trained in nonviolence by Bayard Rustin, Lawson marched with Dr. King from Selma to Montgomery. He was subpoenaed by Congress for his ties with Black Panther Party and his controversial visits to North Vietnam. As President of the Northern California Inter-Religious Conference and the Black Alliance for Just Immigration, Rev. Lawson helped organize the transition of 300,000 refugees from Central America.
Rev. James Lawson, Jr. is a Methodist clergyman who spent a year in prison as a conscientious objector to the Korean War. During his three years as a Methodist missionary in India he was profoundly influenced by Gandhi’s principles and practice of nonviolence. Lawson taught nonviolence to many future leaders of the Civil Rights Movement including Martin Luther King, Jr. and was a primary organizer of the nonviolent Sit-in movement and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC).
Dolores Huerta will join our Saturday rally for sanctuary. Dolores Huerta cofounded the United Farm Workers with Cesar Chavez. She directed the famous national grape boycott that resulted in the entire California table grape industry signing a contract in 1970. Never deterred from the struggle even after 22 arrests and being beaten by police when protesting George H.W. Bush, Dolores has received many awards for her courage and commitment including “the United States Presidential Eleanor Roosevelt Award for Human Rights” and the “Presidential Medal of Freedom.”