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Interfaith America Magazine welcomes seven senior columnists

Interfaith America

The editors of Interfaith America Magazine are honored to welcome seven new Senior Columnists who will write about American civic life from a range of worldviews and faith perspectives.

Interfaith America Magazine is a digital magazine published by the Chicago-based nonprofit Interfaith America, which works across sectors to emphasize American religious diversity as a strength. Interfaith America Magazine amplifies voices representing a broad spectrum of religious affiliations, worldviews, and experiences.

Interfaith America President and Founder Eboo Patel said, “We are so proud to be introducing this diverse group of Senior Columnists. They will help give voice to Interfaith America.” 

“We are honored to add the perspectives of these experienced leaders to our pages,” Interfaith America Magazine Managing Editor Monique Parsons said. “In a time of so much polarization and fracture, we are dedicated to finding the stories where people are working together and inspired by religion as an agent of repair. The Senior Columnists represent a cross-section of the nation’s religious diversity and add to our existing coverage of topics ranging from racial equity and faith and public health to religion and technology, higher education, civic bridgebuilding, workplace culture and more.”

The following Senior Columnists will be contributing to Interfaith America Magazine over the next 9 months: 

Musa al-Gharbi is a Paul F. Lazarsfeld Fellow in Sociology at Columbia University. His research explores how people talk about, think about, and produce a shared understanding of various social phenomena. His first book, “We Have Never Been Woke: Social Justice Discourse, Inequality, and the Rise of a New Elite,” is forthcoming with Princeton University Press. Al-Gharbi is also committed to public engagement. He is a columnist with The Guardian, and his research and writing has been featured in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, NPR, The Atlantic, New Republic, The Nation and many other outlets. Readers can connect to his research, social media, and public writing via his website:

Dr. Ulysses W. Burley III is the founder of UBtheCURE, LLC, a consulting company on the intersection of faith, health, and human rights. Although his primary training is in Immunology and cancer epidemiology, most of Dr. Burley’s work has been around HIV and AIDS awareness, advocacy, and capacity building and includes LGBTQIA+, gender and racial justice, and peace and justice in the Holy Land. Currently, he is the Project Director for the HIV Vaccine Trials Network (HVTN) Faith Initiative to connect with diverse faith communities to share evidence-based information regarding HIV and biomedical interventions being developed for its prevention. 

Rabbi Sandra Lawson is the Inaugural Director of Racial Diversity Equity and Inclusion at Reconstructing Judaism. The 2018 graduate of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College is known for tackling difficult questions surrounding Jews and race. In 2020, the Forward named Lawson to its “Forward 50,” proclaiming her a “truth-teller,” and the Center for American Progress named Lawson to its list of Faith Leaders to Watch in 2022. Lawson also holds Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts degrees in sociology. She lives in North Carolina with her wife Susan and three “fur babies”: Izzy, Bridget, and Simon. 

Juhem Navarro-Rivera is a political scientist who specializes in American and comparative political behavior. Dr. Navarro-Rivera has a diverse work and research portfolio. He is currently the Political Research Director and Managing Partner at Socioanalitica Research, a consulting firm that helps organizations and businesses that are led by or that serve people of color with research and analysis tools that help them better fulfill their missions. 

As a scholar, Dr. Navarro-Rivera is interested in the intersection of race, religion, and politics in the United States with a particular emphasis on the political behavior of the Nones (Americans with no religious affiliation), and the rise of Latinos with no religious affiliation. He is known as a leader in the field of secular studies with publications include many articles, book chapters, columns and research reports on issues of politics, race, and secularism in the U.S. and internationally. His research has been featured in national and international media, including The Washington Post, NBC Latino, O’Globo (Brazil), The Times (London), and Reforma (Mexico). He belongs to several scholarly organizations; serves on the editorial boards of Secularism and Nonreligion, the first academic journal dedicated to the study of secularism; and serves on the advisory board of the Yale Humanist Community in Connecticut. He holds affiliations as Senior Fellow at the Institute for Humanist Studies and as a Gratis Research Scholar at El Instituto: Institute of Latin American, Latino, and Caribbean Studies at the University of Connecticut. 

Jeff Pinzino leads Interfaith America’s “Scouting Emerging Leaders” project, which identifies, cultivates and trains interfaith leaders working in local communities across the nation. Pinzino has spent more than 25 years working for social change as a community organizer, funder, fundraiser, and social entrepreneur. He has worked with People’s Action, Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, Midwest Academy, and Resilience Force, an organization that supports disaster recovery workers. He is one of the founders of Stone Soup Co-Op, Interfaith Youth Core (now Interfaith America), Fresh Moves Mobile Produce Market, and Chicago Blues Revival. He lives on the South Side of Chicago and is a member of Beverly Unitarian Church. 

Pastor Bob Roberts Jr. is the founder of GlocalNet, a ministry dedicated to mobilizing the church for transformation in the public square, and co-founder of Multi-Faith Neighbors Network (MFNN). Roberts, known as Pastor Bob, also founded and led Northwood Church in Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas, for the past 34 years. Over the past 20 years, Roberts has been a trailblazer in the multi-faith peacemaking and international religious freedom arenas, frequently being called upon by the U.S. Department of State, United Nations, U.S. Islamic World Forum, World Economic Forum, ambassadors, international royal families, diplomats, and others for his groundbreaking work in this field. 

Asma Uddin is the author of “When Islam Is Not a Religion: Inside America’s Fight for Religious Freedom,” published in 2019, and “The Politics of Vulnerability: How to Heal Muslim-Christian Relations in a Post-Christian America,” published in 2021. She is Visiting Assistant Professor of Law at Catholic University of America. Ms. Uddin is also a Fellow with the Aspen Institute’s Religion & Society program, where she is leading a project on Muslim-Christian polarization in the United States. She was formerly legal counsel at the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty and has held academic fellowships at Georgetown and UCLA. Ms. Uddin is also an expert advisor on religious freedom to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, and a term-member of the Council on Foreign Relations. She is a graduate of the University of Chicago Law School, where she was a member of the University of Chicago Law Review.  


Monique Parsons
Interfaith America
[email protected]

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Religion News Service or Religion News Foundation.

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