Black August

A deep dive into the transformative and revolutionary aspects of Black religion.

In 2021, CLBSJ began participating in the “Black August” tradition. For five Tuesday evenings in August, we took a deep dive into the connections between our religious traditions and black-led movements for racial justice and social transformation. The theme of this innaugural series was was “Why Black Religion Matters” and it was co-sponsored by the Community of Living Traditions.

This August, we will again convene weekly during August via Zoom to explore the resonance between our scriptural traditions and the call of Black August. This year’s series will focus in on the roots of Black August in the political prisoner solidarity movement, and by extension the movement to abolish the prison-industrial complex.

See below for the archives from last year, and check back on this page for updates on the 2022 series!

What is Black August?

“Black August” is a pan-African and internationalist tradition that recognizes the month of August as a living testament of the depth of commitment to transformation and liberation within Black communities around the world. From the beginning of the Haitian Revolution to the Nat Turner Rebellion; from the Fugitive Slave Law Convention and the foundation of the Underground Railroad to the March on Washington; from the uprising in Watts (1965) to the Uprising in Ferguson (2014); from the births of Marcus Garvey, Russell Maroon Shoatz, and Fred Hampton to the deaths of Emmett Till, W.E.B du Bois and Michael Brown — August bursts at the seams with histories of Black resistance. Because of this, organizers have claimed it as a month to deepen understanding of and commitment to the practices that lead us to liberation. CLBSJ is honored to unite with this tradition.

Past Events

Aliou Niang

August 17, 2021

Onleilove Alston

August 10, 2021

Lisa Bowens

August 03, 2021

Leadership Team

Sherly Fabre, Series Host

A Haitian-American immigrant who grew up Catholic and converted to Islam, Sherly is a seasoned grassroots activist who builds capacity at local, national and international levels. She is the co-chair of the boards of Proyecto Faro and the Truth Telling Project, a member of the Fellowship of Reconciliation National Committee, UN Representative for the International Fellowship of Reconciliation, and a member of the Community of Living Traditions and the Muslim Peace Fellowship. She has volunteered with CLBSJ’s library team and the Muslim Peace Collection.

Sister Sharifa Vernice Meytung, Artistic Consultant

An African-American artist and haijin (a writer of haiku poetry), Sister Sharifa is a teacher and lay religious practitioner in the Catholic and Buddhist traditions. Her practice is also steeped in and informed by West African, Native and HipHop traditions. Her media books and CDs include Oil For The Lamp: 7 Virtues of Human Character Development, Hiphop H.A.I.K.U. Vol 1 and 2, Rough Ground, and she is currently producing an online video series focused on the study of the Jataka Tales of early Buddhism. Sister Sharifa serves on the Board of the Philadelphia Buddhist Association.

Warren Cooper, Media Guru

A jazz musician and artistic entrepreneur from Philadelphia, Warren is the Executive Producer of Music Media Ministry, a multi-media production company focused on the manufacturing and trafficking of positive art that nurtures the movement for justice and peace. He is a member of the Community of Living Traditions and served for many years as the volunteer curator of Stony Point Center Productions. Warren has a life-long history of service in the Presbyterian Church USA, and is an Ordained Ruling Elder and Minister of Music.

Nicholas Johnson, CLBSJ Board President

See bio at https://clbsj.org/about/leadership/nicholas-a-johnson/

Amy Dalton, CLBSJ Executive Director

See bio at https://clbsj.org/about/leadership/amy-dalton/