The 2020 Shumate Lecture

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Retrieved from the New York Times Magazine.

Emma Coffey ~ Staff Writer

     On Monday, March 2, at 7 p.m., Dr. Larycia Hawkins, a political science professor at the University of Virginia, is giving a lecture titled, “Does Your Blood Not Boil? Embodying Solidarity with Suffering.” The lecture will be held at the Snidow Chapel.

     Stephanie McLemore, university chaplain and director of Church Relations, and Christie Rapp, administrative assistant, noted that the Spiritual Life Center sponsors the Shumate Lecture each spring. They said, “We bring speakers that highlight the relationship between faith and modern life. Members of the Spiritual Life Center Staff serve on the committee that plans both lectures.”

     According to McLemore and Rapp, Dr. Larycia Hawkins became the first tenured African-American faculty member at Wheaton College in 2013, which is an evangelical Christian liberal arts college. In 2015, Dr. Hawkins lost her place at Wheaton College because she shared on social media that she intended to wear a hijab in embodied solidarity with Muslim women during Advent. They said that Dr. Hawkins is an advocate for multi-faith solidarity and has given talks at Harvard and Princeton. She also delivered a TEDx talk on embodied solidarity and done a documentary called Same God, which was recently released and received several awards.

     According to McLemore and Rapp, the purpose of the lecture is to talk about the intersection of religion, faith, and politics in the modern world. They said, “Dr. Hawkins is a political scientist who lives out her faith in real ways. She works in very concrete ways towards creating a just society. Her compassion and commitment to being with the poor and working for equity comes out of both her faith and academic commitments.”

     McLemore and Rapp said that the Sunday lecture will be followed by a reception in the fellowship hall at First Christian Church. Before the Monday lecture, there will be a dinner with Dr. Hawkins, but it is only open to those who have an invitation.

     According to McLemore and Rapp, they hope that students, regardless of their faith tradition or secular ethical commitments, will use the lecture as a time to reflect on how they live their lives. They said, “We try to bring a diversity of speakers who all work for justice and the common good.”

     McLemore and Rapp said, “We hope the community will see the relevance of spiritual journey in this time of polarized opinions. We hope to promote open dialogue and present a variety of diverse perspectives.”

     Dr. Larycia Hawkins will also give another lecture on Sunday, March 1, at 4 p.m. at First Christian Church titled, “Losing My Liberty, Gaining My Soul.”

     For more information, visit https://www.lynchburg.edu/news/events/.