BU Faculty Combine Academics and Activism—with Social Justice at the Core

Dr. James McCarty, Director of the Tom Porter Religion and Conflict Transformation Program, was profiled in Bostonia Magazine along with several other BU faculty for their activism and its relationship to their academic work.

An excerpt of the article is below:

James McCarty, a School of Theology assistant clinical professor of religion and conflict transformation, has also spent years building relationships with local communities. The director of theTom Porter Program on Religion & Conflict Transformation, McCarty is a restorative justice, transformative justice, and conflict transformation practitioner and researcher—that is, he works with people and organizations to repair harms caused by racism, violence, and oppression.

As a Korean American, McCarty has always felt a commitment to racial justice. In 2014, he started as a chaplain at Seattle University. Not long after, Eric Garner was killed by a New York City police officer, and the Black Lives Matter movement gained national attention. In response, he and a colleague organized a die-in on the Seattle University campus.

“This country is really broken,” says McCarty. “And one of the ways that it’s really broken is along lines of racial injustice and oppression.”

He joined local communities in Tacoma, Wash., to help combat increased violence among young men of color. They agreed that the best response would be to implement peacemaking circles, a restorative justice practice inspired by indigenous traditions that offers alternative ways to respond to crime. The circles brought together people who have caused and experienced harm in an attempt to build empathy, bring about healing, and prevent offenses.

“The way my life played out, with the communities that I’m connected to, [my work] turned radically local,” McCarty says. “And that’s just because I’ve really spent the time listening and building relationships.”

You can read the entire article here.

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