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“It’s Our Time: Every Generation is Called to Build a Movement” with Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II

April 4, 2023 @ 6:00 pm

Register here!

The Dwight Hall Jane and William E. Curran ’49 Distinguished Mentor Program presents:

Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II, social justice activist, pastor, and professor of the practice at Yale, delivers a moral call to action at Yale College. 

As this year’s Curran Distinguished Mentor, Rev. Barber will speak to Yale College students about the transformative power of collective action and movement building and the positive impact of an intergenerational approach to the fight for justice. 

Rev. Barber is the Founding Director of the new Center for Public Theology & Public Policy at Yale Divinity School, President of Repairers of the Breach, and Co-Chair of the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival.

Join this public address hosted by Dwight Hall at Yale on Tuesday, April 4th, at 6 PM EDT. The topic of his address is “It’s Our Time: Every Generation Is Called To Build A Movement.”

Over the past few decades, our nation has experienced the rollback of the human rights and civil rights won by social justice movements throughout our history. The stagnation of wages, rapid climate change, the erasure of voting rights protections, and the lack of an affordable healthcare system amid a global pandemic are only a few of the issues challenging our communities. Building a diverse social justice movement rooted in a moral framework is critical to transforming our communities and the country. In a world that feels increasingly isolated, a moral fusion movement calls us to come together across differences, race, culture, religion, sexuality, gender-identify, age, and more, to organize and mobilize around a moral policy agenda that prioritizes love, truth, and justice. 

April 4th, a solemn day, also marks the 55th anniversary of the assassination of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who, at the time of his untimely death, was organizing with the National Welfare Rights Organization, worker’s rights movement, women’s rights movement, religious leaders, and people of all races to launch the Poor People’s Campaign to fight poverty in the U.S. and ensure basic economic and human rights. More than 50 years later, the fight continues. 

This event coincides with the launch of the Center for Public Theology & Public Policy at the Yale Divinity School. The Center’s mission is to prepare a new generation of moral leaders to be active participants in creating a just society using the academic, practical, and research tools of past and present social justice movements. Learn more at theologyandpolicy.yale.edu.

A limited amount of in-person seating is available for this event in the Dwight Hall Chapel. Students may register using Yale Connect.  Reception to follow in the Dwight Hall Common Room immediately following the event, including halal options for iftar.

Interested students may also register for a Pauli Murray College Tea with Reverend Barber on April 6th. For more news about this and other Launch Week events, please visit this site.

Visitors must comply with the Yale COVID 19 visitor policy.

About Bishop William J. Barber II 

Bishop William J. Barber II, DMin, is a Professor in the Practice of Public Theology and Public Policy and Founding Director of the Center for Public Theology and Public Policy at Yale Divinity School. He serves as President of Repairers of the Breach, Co-Chair of the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call For Moral Revival, and has been Pastor of Greenleaf Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Goldsboro, NC, for the past 29 years.

Bishop Barber is the architect of the Forward Together Moral Movement that gained national acclaim in 2013 with its Moral Monday protests at the North Carolina General Assembly. In 2015, he established Repairers of the Breach to train communities in moral movement building through the Moral Political Organizing Leadership Institute and Summit Trainings (MPOLIS). 

Bishop Barber, a highly sought-after speaker, has given keynote addresses at hundreds of national and state conferences, including the 2016 Democratic National Convention. Bishop Barber is regularly featured in media outlets such as MSNBC, CNN, the New York Times, Washington Post, and The Nation magazine. He was named one of the 2019 recipients of the North Carolina Award, the state’s highest civilian honor. He is also a 2018 MacArthur Foundation Genius Award recipient. 

About the Curran Distinguished Mentor Program

Dwight Hall at Yale’s Jane and William E. Curran ’49 Distinguished Mentor program was established with a gift from William Curran ’49 in memory of his wife, Jane. The program recognizes leaders who have made remarkable contributions in public service and toward social justice and invites them to serve as mentors to Yale University students by sharing their expertise, experience, and insights.

The program aims to: 

  • Provide students with access to a role model who embodies Dwight Hall’s mission in their professional life. 
  • Leverage Dwight Hall’s prominent position as an institution on campus that advances service and justice to call attention to inspirational social justice leaders.
  • Convene diverse constituencies from the University, alumni, and New Haven communities to encourage a collective call to action towards societal change on an issue of common interest.

Previous Curran Distinguished Mentors include:

Dr. Elizabeth Alexander 84

President of The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation 

Kurt Schmoke 71

President of the University of Baltimore, and former Mayor of Baltimore, and former Dean of Howard University School of Law 

Frances Beinecke 71 74 M.F.S.

former President of the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) 

John E. Pepper, Jr. 60

former CEO of Proctor & Gamble and co-chair of the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center

Kevin Salwen


The Honorable Shirley Sagawa 

CEO of Service Year Alliance, Architect of AmeriCorps

J.B. Schramm 86

Founder of College Summit 

Eric Liu 90

CEO of Citizens University 

Catherine Margaret Ashton, Baroness Ashton of Upholland, GCMG, PC,

High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and First Vice President of the European Commission in the Barroso Commission from 2009 to 2014.

Dorothy Porter 86 and Rev. Canon Nicholas 86 94 M.DIV.

founders of Jerusalem Peacebuilders  

Stephen Black 97 J.D.

former Director of the Center for Ethics & Social Responsibility at The University of Alabama and Founder of Impact America

Dr. David L. Warren ’70 M.DIV., ’70 M.U.S.

former President of the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities