Onward Echoes the Story: The Study of Religion amid Miami’s narrative of Justice & Change
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Since the protests following the death of George Floyd in 2020, we see changes on a global to a local scale. In January of 2021, Apple committed to a $100 million pledge to challenge systematic racism including a new “first-of-its-kind global innovation and learning hub for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). As we all know, Apple was by no means alone in this venture. Miami University took initiative with various DE&I task forces, new MU curriculum requirements, and guest speaker series. However, this was not the first time. Questioning how these changes differed from ones surrounding events in the late 1960s amid the protests of civil rights and anti-war, a paradox emerged as to the idea of “progress”. This project is an attempt to construct a framework of understanding of this current movement today by building on theories of religious scholars such as Charles Long and Max Weber. Weber theorizes how movements transform from charismatic authorities to become burglarized in the very institutions that had previously resisted. Long discusses how progress can only be made by understanding a “true and authentic story”. The reader is invited to explore the “unseen” story of Miami University and Middletown Ohio as they struggled with the very same issues in the 1960s-1970s. This project hopes to address the concern that today’s conversations may risk leaving unaddressed the challenges that prior generations hoped to have solved as suggested by Charles Long.