USC Dornsife College Of Letters Arts and Sciences

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Archive

New York Times: Najuma Smith-Pollard on Police Funding

As part of its coverage of the anniversary of the murder of George Floyd by a police officer in Minneapolis, the New York Times wrote about the debate over funding for the …

The LAist: Smith-Pollard on Gascón’s Parole Reforms

L.A. District Attorney George Gascón prohibited his prosecutors from opposing parole or attending parole hearings in a reform meant to encourage the release of those with low risk of committing another crime. …

Rev. Najuma Smith-Pollard on Chauvin Trial

Religious leaders anticipated and responded to the verdict in the trial of Derek Chauvin in the killing of George Floyd in Minnesota. Rev. Najuma Smith-Pollard, program manager for the USC Cecil Murray Center …

In Wake of Chauvin Trial, What Can Faith Leaders Learn From the Rodney King LA Civil Unrest?

This article was originally published in Religion News Service and The Washington Post. As the U.S. reacts to the guilty verdict in the trial of Derek Chauvin, many are wary of violence …

Faith Leadership Engagement with the FBI

On Wednesday, April 21, 2021, the USC Center for Religion and Civic Culture’s Critical Conversation series focused on the FBI’s relationship with communities. Pastor Najuma Smith Pollard, program manager of the Cecil …

Showing Up! Female Faith Leadership in the COVID-19 Pandemic

This post was originally published on the Berkley Forum, as part of a series on Gender, Religion and COVID-19. As a female pastor and community faith leader, I found myself called to …

Black Female Leadership within LAPD: Untold Stories!

High-ranking African-American female leadership in the Los Angeles Police Department share untold stories of issues around racial equity, internal culture and politics of the LAPD, and being a Black woman in law …

Fatal Intersections of Black Women and the Law: The Case of Breonna Taylor

This article was originally published by the Canopy Forum on the Interactions of Law & Religion. I live in Los Angeles, California, near what seems to me to be one of the …

Indira Ranamagar: Nepalese Women in Prison Turn to Ama

This article was originally published in Indian Country Today, with the support of CRCC’s global project on engaged spirituality.  Our aunties are the same all over the world. They are the “go to” women …

African American Muslims and the LAPD: Moving from Stories to Solutions

This article originally appeared in BOOM California. “We don’t want to walk into a kumbaya situation,” said Umar Hakim. The sixteen men and women gathered around a conference table in Inglewood simultaneously …

When a Pastor Shows Up at a Black Lives Matter Protest

I posted a question on Facebook at the beginning of 2018: “What ever happened to Black Lives Matter?” The question wasn’t prompted by animosity, despite the disagreements between clergy and BLM. To …

Studying Religion in the “Belly of the Beast” – A Prison in Rio

It seemed like a good idea when I made the arrangements. But my heart was beating at double speed and I was filled with doubt, as a staff member handed me a …

If I Give My Soul: Faith Behind Bars in Rio de Janeiro

If I Give My Soul: Faith Behind Bars in Rio de Janeiro By Andrew Johnson (Oxford University Press, 2017) The writing of this book was supported by the Pentecostal Charismatic Research Initiative.   …

Dignity and Power Now: The Spirituality of Black Lives Matter

Dignity and Power Now (DPN), a grassroots organization in Los Angeles, works to end mass incarceration. Founded by Patrisse Cullors, an artist and co-founder of the Black Lives Matter movement, DPN uses …

L.A. Times: It’s 2016 and the Civil Rights Era Hasn’t Ended

This post originally appeared on the Sunday OpEd page of the L.A. Times. I participated in the civil rights movement in the 1960s. I was pastor of my second church, in Kansas City, Kansas, in …

Beyond Prayers and Protests: Building Trust Among the Police and Community in Downtown Los Angeles

This is the first in a series of essays about the Trust Talks. The next event is October 3. On a Saturday last April, a group of pastors and other faith leaders …

How To Make Sense of the Latest Killing on Skid Row

Los Angeles police officers killed a man on Skid Row on Sunday night, shooting him outside the building where I work. He died, his body broken, as others’ have been, just a …

Pentecostal Prayer Gangs: Documenting Religion in a Brazilian Prison

CRCC research associate Andrew Johnson is not a filmmaker, he insists: he conceived the documentary, “If I Give My Soul,” while he was doing research for his sociology dissertation at the University …

How Muslim Civic Activism Helped Pass California’s Prop 47

This post originally appeared on Religion Dispatches. California mostly defied the rightward national trend in this week’s midterm elections. The victory of Proposition 47, for example, makes California the first state in the …

LA Voice: Congregations and Communities Building Electoral Power

For many years in the United States, churches have been at the center of progressive political and social movements. From abolitionism to child welfare and of course the Civil Rights Movement, religious …