Interfaith America Racial Equity Media Fellowship


The United States is in a period in which racial equity is perhaps, for the first time in American history, a central focus in civic debates of how to fashion public life. The nation is concurrently experiencing the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, with disproportionate impact on Black, indigenous, and Latinx communities. IFYC has publicly articulated our commitment to racial equity. One of those commitments is to elevate the thought leadership, art, experience, and work of Black, indigenous, and other voices of color. The Interfaith America Racial Equity Media Fellowship aims to achieve that goal.

The Interfaith America Racial Equity Media Fellows are activists, artists, and thought leaders who engage racial equity work within higher education and American public life.  Starting from their unique vantage points, the Fellows will offer reflections and report on the intersection of civic religious pluralism and the movement for Black lives and racial equity by creating compelling media pieces to be published on Interfaith America.

Aaron Talley

Aaron Talley, a Detroit native, is a writer, activist, and educator, who teaches middle school on Chicago’s south side. His writing has been featured in various news outlets, including Colorlines, The Feminist Wire, The Advocate, Education Post...

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Aaron Talley, a Detroit native, is a writer, activist, and educator, who teaches middle school on Chicago’s south side. His writing has been featured in various news outlets, including Colorlines, The Feminist Wire, The Advocate, Education Post, and The Nation.  An alum of the Voices of Our Nations Arts Fellowship (VONA), he is currently pitching a speculative fiction novel for young adults. Aaron is looking forward to producing content that grounds his existential concerns and interests through the more concrete lenses of equity and identity (specifically related to race, youth, and queerness). You can connect with Aaron Talley on twitter @talley_marked or instagram @talley_marked and read more of his work on his blog Newer Negroes.

Allie Young

Allie Young is a citizen of the Diné (Navajo) Nation from the Northern Agency of the reservation in Northern New Mexico. She is a storyteller and writer on a mission to increase authentic representation of Native Americans in TV, film, and...

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Allie Young is a citizen of the Diné (Navajo) Nation from the Northern Agency of the reservation in Northern New Mexico. She is a storyteller and writer on a mission to increase authentic representation of Native Americans in TV, film, and mainstream media by sharing the stories and traditions of her people that helped and continue to help them persevere in a world where they are largely invisible, underrepresented and misrepresented. She’s developing projects, one of which she’s pitched to Netflix and Amazon Studios. Recently, she founded Protect the Sacred, a grassroots organization that focuses on educating and empowering the next generation of Navajo and Indian Country leaders, promoting the Indian Country Hero Challenge and spreading the “Stay Home” message to protect tribal nations from COVID-19. In her work and current role as Director of Protect the Sacred, she makes certain the Native voice is at the table and in every conversation, especially the voices of Indigenous youth and womxn. You can connect with Allie Young on twitter @allieyoung13 and instagram @allieyoung13.

Amina Mohamed

Amina Mohamed is currently an elementary school teacher at an independent progressive school in New York City. She previously taught English Learners from immigrant and refugee backgrounds in Michigan. Amina is committed to storytelling,...

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Amina Mohamed is currently an elementary school teacher at an independent progressive school in New York City. She previously taught English Learners from immigrant and refugee backgrounds in Michigan. Amina is committed to storytelling, liberation, and intentional community building. As a Black Muslim teacher, Amina imagines creating content that addresses decolonizing the curriculum and reenvisioning the classroom so children can radically imagine a world where they can unapologetically be themselves. You can connect with Amina Mohamed on twitter @a_moon_banana and instagram @amoonbanana.

Anna Del Castillo

Anna Del Castillo (she/her/hers) is a Mississippian, Peruvian-Bolivian American, and faith-rooted activist for justice. She is pursuing a Master of Divinity as a Dean’s Fellow at Harvard Divinity School where she studies at the intersection of...

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Anna Del Castillo (she/her/hers) is a Mississippian, Peruvian-Bolivian American, and faith-rooted activist for justice. She is pursuing a Master of Divinity as a Dean’s Fellow at Harvard Divinity School where she studies at the intersection of public policy, racial justice, and healing. She is passionate about community organizing and uses her platforms as the IGNITE National Boston fellow, Andrew Goodman Foundation Puffin Democracy fellow, and Interfaith American Racial Equity Media fellow to build a more equitable society where everyday people claim their political power. As a Harvard Presidential Public Service Fellow, Anna worked on the Healing and Resilience Initiative of the Faith Matters Network to expand the emerging vocation of movement chaplaincy. As a movement chaplain, she offers spiritual, relational and holistic care to underserved communities and those involved in movements for social change. Anna continues to curate experiences for individual empowerment and collective action, believing that the combination of the two will lead to lasting social change. You can connect with Anna Del Castillo on twitter @annakatdc and instagram @annadel_castillo.

Hind Makki

Hind Makki is an Educator with the Institute for Social Policy & Understanding and currently co-leads a series on racism and anti-Blackness for the American Muslim Civic Leadership Institute. She is the founder of Side...

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Hind Makki is an Educator with the Institute for Social Policy & Understanding and currently co-leads a series on racism and anti-Blackness for the American Muslim Civic Leadership Institute. She is the founder of Side Entrance, an award-winning website documenting Muslim women’s prayer experiences and serves on the advisory boards of the Br. Jeffrey Gros, FSC Institute for Dialogue, Justice, and Social Action at Lewis University and the Chicago History Museum’s exhibit “American Medina: Stories of Muslim Chicago." Hind, who holds a degree in International Relations from Brown University, was featured as one of CNN’s 25 Influential American Muslims in 2018. You can connect with Hind Makki on twitter @HindMakki.

Ibrahim Abdul-Matin

Ibrahim Abdul-Matin is an urban strategist whose work focuses on deepening democracy and improving public engagement. He has advised two mayors on the best ways to translate complex decisions related to the cost, impacts, and...

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Ibrahim Abdul-Matin is an urban strategist whose work focuses on deepening democracy and improving public engagement. He has advised two mayors on the best ways to translate complex decisions related to the cost, impacts, and benefits of environmental policy on communities. Ibrahim is the author of Green Deen: What Islam Teaches About Protecting the Planet and sits on the boards of the International Living Future Institute encouraging the creation of a regenerative built environment and Sapelo Square whose mission is to celebrate and analyze the experiences of Black Muslims in the United States. He wants to examine how we have managed persistent human problems related to water, waste, food, energy, and transportation – How have these problems been solved in the past? How are they solved now? How will we solve these persistent human problems in the future? You can connect with Ibrahim Abdul-Matin on twitter @ibrahimsalih and instagram @brooklynbedouin.

J.T. Snipes, Ph.D

J.T. Snipes, Ph.D, is Assistant Professor of Educational Leadership at Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville. Prior to his faculty appointment, he worked for over 12 years in higher education administration. Currently, his research...

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J.T. Snipes, Ph.D, is Assistant Professor of Educational Leadership at Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville. Prior to his faculty appointment, he worked for over 12 years in higher education administration. Currently, his research interest focuses on religion and spirituality in higher education, African American collegiate students, and critical race theory in education.  He recently completed his award-winning dissertation entitled, “Ain’t I Black too: Counterstories of Black Atheist in College.”  It explores the narratives of secular African American students in college. His latest edited volume Remixed and Reimagined: Innovations in Religion, Spirituality, and (Inter)Faith in Higher Education invites readers to rethink religious scholarship and practice in higher education and student affairs. You can connect with J.T. Snipes on twitter @jsnipes3 and instagram @jsnipes3.

Kanika Magee-Jones, Ph.D

Kanika Magee-Jones, Ph.D, is the Assistant Dean for Student Affairs in the School of Business and Special Assistant for Interfaith Programming in the Office of the Dean of the Chapel. She is also the former Associate Dean of the Chapel for...

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Kanika Magee-Jones, Ph.D, is the Assistant Dean for Student Affairs in the School of Business and Special Assistant for Interfaith Programming in the Office of the Dean of the Chapel. She is also the former Associate Dean of the Chapel for Howard University. In her roles, Dr. Jones has been responsible for coordinating interfaith initiatives across the campus, supporting the university's team of faculty who serve as Interfaith Advisors, and managing student religious life organizations, worship services and special events. She is a board member for the National Association for University Chaplains (NACUC) and has been conference host for NACUC and White House Interfaith conferences on Howard University's campus. Dr. Jones looks forward to exploring the voices of and impact on African-American students and communities in this evolving conversation and landscape.

Kenji Kuramitsu

Kenji Kuramitsu is a clinical social worker, writer, and spiritual care professional. Kenji currently serves as psychotherapy groups coordinator with Howard Brown Health, an LGBTQ health care provider in Chicago. Kenji has...

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Kenji Kuramitsu is a clinical social worker, writer, and spiritual care professional. Kenji currently serves as psychotherapy groups coordinator with Howard Brown Health, an LGBTQ health care provider in Chicago. Kenji has served as a chaplain in both health care and corporate settings and draws on psychodynamic and anti-racist theories in his clinical and ministry work. Kenji's writing has appeared in Inheritance Magazine and the Asian American Writers' Workshop. You can connect with Kenji Kuramitsu on twitter @afreshmind and instagram @afreshmind.

Musa al-Gharbi

Musa al-Gharbi is a Paul F. Lazarsfeld Fellow in Sociology at Columbia University. His research explores how knowledge is produced, transmitted, evaluated and put to use (or not) — and how thinking is shaped by the interplay of people’s...

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Musa al-Gharbi is a Paul F. Lazarsfeld Fellow in Sociology at Columbia University. His research explores how knowledge is produced, transmitted, evaluated and put to use (or not) — and how thinking is shaped by the interplay of people’s ideological and identity commitments and the social contexts they find themselves in. He applies these lenses to a range of topics including race, inequality, social movements, extremism, policing, national security, foreign policy — and more recently — U.S. political elections. Prior to joining Columbia Sociology, Musa obtained a B.A. in Near Eastern Studies, a M.A. in Philosophy and taught classes in Political Science at the University of Arizona. As an Interfaith America Racial Equity Media Fellow, Musa plans to explore the intersection of race, religion and politics in contemporary America. Readers can connect to his work and social media via his website: musaalgharbi.com. You can connect with Musa al-Gharbi on twitter @musa_algharbi.

Nathaniel Stanton

Nathan Stanton has spent the last 10 years as a pastor, church planter and artist on the West, South and Northsides of Chicago. He graduated from Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry and also attended School of the Art Institute in Chicago....

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Nathan Stanton has spent the last 10 years as a pastor, church planter and artist on the West, South and Northsides of Chicago. He graduated from Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry and also attended School of the Art Institute in Chicago. Nathan's heart is to reconnect the ministry of the Spirit and God’s heart for Justice as Vision Director of an organization called Forgive.Us Ministries. Nathan and His wife Liz have embarked on a round-the-country RV trip with their 5 beautiful children Andre, 13, Kiana, 11, Niani, 9, Elijah, 6 and Calia, 2 to hold Forgive Us events aimed at healing racial division. He desires to create poetry, prose and visual art resplendent with the love of Jesus Christ. You can connect with Nathaniel Stanton on twitter @nstant17 and instagram @nathanstanton17.

Raja Gopal Bhattar, Ph.D

Raja Gopal Bhatter, Ph.D, (they/them/theirs) hails from a long lineage of Hindu spiritual leaders from the Srivaishnava tradition. They are a higher education leader, advocate, and consultant. . Raja’s advocacy centers...

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Raja Gopal Bhatter, Ph.D, (they/them/theirs) hails from a long lineage of Hindu spiritual leaders from the Srivaishnava tradition. They are a higher education leader, advocate, and consultant. . Raja’s advocacy centers intersections of identity and sense of belonging, international students, religious and spiritual identity development, HIV-AIDS in higher education, access and inclusion in global higher education and impact of diverse staff and faculty on student experience and campus climate. Raja has been featured in The Advocate Magazine, Huffington Post, BuzzFeed, India Abroad Magazine, Hinduism Today Magazine, the Vermont Quarterly and many other news outlets. They hold a PhD and Masters in Higher Education and Organizational Change from UCLA, a Masters in Higher Education and Student Affairs Administration from the University of Vermont, and a BA in Psychology from Boston University. You can connect with Raja Gopal Bhattar on twitter @rajabhattar and instagram @thedrbookworm. 

Rabbi Sandra Lawson

Rabbi Sandra Lawson received ordination from the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in June 2018. She also holds a Master’s degree in Sociology with a focus on Environmental Justice and race. And she is also an Army veteran. Rabbi Sandra...

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Rabbi Sandra Lawson received ordination from the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in June 2018. She also holds a Master’s degree in Sociology with a focus on Environmental Justice and race. And she is also an Army veteran. Rabbi Sandra brings a diverse background to her role as a rabbi and uses her experience to help others understand the diversity of the Jewish people. She is determined to build a more inclusive Jewish community where all who want to come are welcomed, diversity is embraced, and we can come together to learn and to pray. Rabbi Sandra is currently serving as the Associate Chaplain for Jewish Life and the Senior Jewish Educator at Hillel at Elon University, in Elon, North Carolina. You can connect with Rabbi Sandra Lawson on twitter @rabbisandra and instagram @rabbisandra.

Shaunesse’ Jacobs

Shaunesse’ Jacobs is a native of Shreveport, LA who is currently in her third year of PhD program at Boston University School of Theology. Her work centers on constructive theology and ethics to determine ways that communities use religious ...

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Shaunesse’ Jacobs is a native of Shreveport, LA who is currently in her third year of PhD program at Boston University School of Theology. Her work centers on constructive theology and ethics to determine ways that communities use religious identities to cope with the injustices of the U.S. healthcare system. She is specifically engaging with the public health crisis of black maternal mortality and anti-Asian sentiment during the COVID-19 pandemic. As an Interfaith America Racial Equity Media Fellow, shaunesse' hopes to create interethnic, intercultural work that unites communities of color through postcolonial and communally-informed ethical frameworks. You can connect with Shaunesse' Jacobs on twitter @shaunesse_aj.

Simran Jeet Singh, Ph.D

Simran Jeet Singh, Ph.D, is a writer, teacher, scholar, and activist. He is a Soros Equality Fellow with the Open Society Foundation, and he hosts two shows: a video web series titled...

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Simran Jeet Singh, Ph.D, is a writer, teacher, scholar, and activist. He is a Soros Equality Fellow with the Open Society Foundation, and he hosts two shows: a video web series titled Becoming Less Racist: Lighting the Path to Anti-Racism, and Spirited, an interview-based podcast that explores diverse perspectives on faith and justice. Simran is the author of a new children's book from Penguin Random House (Kokila)– Fauja Singh Keeps Going: The True Story of the Oldest Person to Ever Run a Marathon – the first from a major publisher to feature a Sikh story. Simran serves on presidential candidate Joe Biden’s AAPI Faith Advisory Committee and Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Interfaith Advisory Committee. He is a senior fellow for the Sikh Coalition, a columnist for Religion News Service, a spiritual/religious life advisor at NYU and Columbia University, and is a visiting professor at Union Seminary. You can connect with Simran Jeet Singh on twitter @sikhprof and instagram @sikhprof.

Teresa Mateus

Teresa Mateus, LCSW, E-RYT 200 is the co-founder and co-director of The Mystic Soul Project (BIPOC-Centering education, community-building and care at the intersections of mysticism, activism and healing) and the co-creator and Project Director...

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Teresa Mateus, LCSW, E-RYT 200 is the co-founder and co-director of The Mystic Soul Project (BIPOC-Centering education, community-building and care at the intersections of mysticism, activism and healing) and the co-creator and Project Director at TRACC (trauma response and crisis care) for Movements. as well She is also the author of three books: Mending Broken: A Personal Journey Through the Stages of Trauma + Recovery, Sacred Wounds: A Path to Healing from Spiritual Trauma and Going Naked; The Camino de Santiago & Life as Pilgrimage. Teresa's areas of focus include trauma and healing care with a focus on spiritual trauma, racial and intergenerational trauma, moral injury and social movement trauma as well as integrative healing care with a focus on meditation, embodied care, creative arts for healing, and ancestral reclamation and ritual. She plans to engage the intersections of spirituality, activism and healing with a BIPOC and QTPOC focus in her writing through this Fellowship.