CHICAGO (Press release) – The Samuel DeWitt Proctor Conference (“SDPC”) and McCormick Theological Seminary (“McCormick”) are pleased to announce the formation of the Center for Reparative Justice, Transformation, and Remediation (the “Center”). The Center will be located on McCormick’s campus in the Hyde Park neighborhood of Chicago. The Center’s mission focuses on the following three areas:
- Public education, academic courses, scholarship, and engagement on issues of reparative and restorative justice, racial remediation, and systemic transformation;
- Creation of leadership curricula related to the Center’s purpose for use in seminaries, churches, and other institutions; and
- Participation in the creation and implementation of public policy and public theology related to the mission of the Center.
Iva Carruthers, General Secretary of The Samuel DeWitt Proctor Conference shares, “We are enthusiastic about partnering with McCormick Theological Seminary to launch this historic Center. It will serve to situate theology and ministry in the public discourse on reparations, reparatory justice and models of remedy to address centuries of foundational and systemic racism in America.”
David Crawford, President of McCormick Theological Seminary states, “In this moment, we must come to a reckoning with racism, a reckoning of our past with our promise.” President Crawford adds that “Over the last 18 months, McCormick has been engaging conversations around reparations with our faculty, our board, and with community, church, and thought leaders around the city and beyond. During that time we have engaged directly in the work of transforming our justice and carceral systems, and developed curricula that educates and activates leaders to prophetically engage policy and systemic transformation. This moment calls us all to commit ourselves to go beyond statements and symbolic gestures, meaningful as they may be. Through the work of the Center and this historic partnership with the Samuel DeWitt Proctor Conference, McCormick will engage the national and global conversations on reparations and justice and ensure a sustained and sustainable institutional commitment to addressing these issues.”
McCormick’s Dean of the Faculty, Dr. Steed V. Davidson agrees, adding, “This Center is not only timely but necessary. Seminaries need to be in the middle of the debate on reparative justice in order to remove the sanctification religious institutions have provided for too long to oppressive ideas and practices. The Center will allow us to learn from others and to share ways in which theology can play a more liberative role in the world.
Dr. Carruthers will serve as the Center’s founding executive director while continuing in her role as General Secretary of SDPC. Long engaged in the global reparations movement, she says, “With a global vision for justice, grounded in the prophetic tradition, we come with hope and determination to engage the challenging work ahead. Our Center is poised to uniquely contribute to the human rights movement for people of African descent and other groups subject to related injustices.”