$250,000 Grant to Prevent Discrimination against Africana Religions

Danielle Boaz, JD, PhD, leader of the project, is a professor at UNC-Charlotte and author of Banning Black Gods: Law and Religions of the African Diaspora

I am proud to join Professors Danielle Boaz (UNC Charlotte) and Youssef Carter (UNC Chapel Hill) as co-principal investigator in a multi-year project, funded by the Religion and Theology Program of the Henry Luce Foundation, that amplifies community efforts to prevent discrimination and violence against practitioners of Africana religions.

The first stage engaged practitioners of African ancestral religions and members of Black and African Muslim communities to document, analyze, and develop solutions to the religious discrimination and violence that they face.

The group, which was selected from a robust pool of international applicants, successfully completed their initial community-engaged research to document, analyze, and develop solutions to the discrimination and violence that they and their communities face as practitioners of Africana religions. Participants include people from Camdomblé, Lukumi, Hoodoo, Vodou, Islam, Palo Monte, Ifá, Orisha, Ogboni, and Egbe.

Those who have chosen to be identified publicly include Malika Ali, Emanuel Basnight, Gustavo Melo Cerqueira, Aline J. Cruz, Dr. Charlene Desir, Ana Emilia Martins Gualberto, Manbo Dr. Kahdeidra Monét Martin, Arleth Marinho dos Santos Monteiro, Dr. Nisa Muhammad, Alashe Michael Oshoosi, Dr. Kameelah Mu’min Rashad, Marcos Rezende, Elisia Maria de Jesus Santos, and George Raymond Turnage (Chief Mayegun Isese Agbaye, Gro Yatandé Novayon Andaïzol).

To learn more about our community of scholars and their work, check out our website.

Participants are now preparing to meet in a 4-day May, 2023, meeting to discuss the results of our initial research and formulate cooperative projects to advance the rights and dignity of Africana religious communities.

In the final part of the project, Professors Boaz, Carter, and I will develop an open-access digital portal to analyze, digest, and reflect on what was learned from the project, thus providing a lasting resource for all those who wish to become allies in the struggle for freedom.

Community partners are funded at each stage of the work.