Pepperdine Caruso Law Hosts Event in Honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
The latest installment of the Caruso Law Dean's Speaker Series, The Intersection of Faith, Social Justice, and Racial Reconciliation, featured a conversation with Reverend Eugene E. Cho, president and chief executive officer of Bread for the World and Bread Institute, and Rabbi Sharon Brous, founder and senior rabbi of IKAR Jewish congregation. Dean Paul Caron opened the event, which was moderated by Chalak Richards, assistant dean of Student Life and Diversity and Belonging.
In her remarks, Brous asked "What does it mean to stand up and engage in acts of faithful resistance against acts of unjust systems, structures and policies?" She emphasized that "The path to faith and justice is one journey and one path. It is the deepest expression of my faith to build a more equitable and just society."
Both Brous and Cho mentioned that their work is inspired by Dr. King. "In today's world, nearly everyone has a deep love and affection for Dr. King," Cho said. "But he was hated and vilified when he was alive...and yet so few people know of Dr. King's identification as a Baptist pastor, and that the essence of his service was his faith. His faith was why he chose to live the life he was called to. It was the core of who he was."
Historically, the civil rights movement was an interfaith movement. Asked what the modern interfaith civil rights movement looks like, Brous stated that it must be an effort of people from all faiths. "We belong to each other and our liberation is tied up in one another," she said. "We all have the opportunity to be part of the change and liberation needed in the world." Commenting on some effects of cultural Christianity, Cho remarked "Racial reconciliation involves confessing, repenting, forgiving, bridge building. We need courage to have structural transformation and personal and interpersonal transformation as well."
Richards closed out the hour by summarizing the essential questions raised and the elegant way the speakers addressed them: "What does it mean for us as a law school to consider how to grieve or repent in our justice system, tell the truth of where we are and take accountability for how our faith practices have been complicit in where we are as a system, and then rebuild together a more just society? We received a charge from the panelists that gives us a beautiful path forward and is in line with Dr King's vision of a more just society." This thought-provoking event, a continuation of this year's series of discussions on race, social justice, and faith, was sponsored by the law school's Nootbaar Institute for Law, Religion, and Ethics.
The program may be viewed in full here.