The Rev. Jesse Jackson has called Larycia Hawkins, PhD., a modern-day Rosa Parks. Her costly decision, motivated by her own Christian commitments, to embody solidarity with Muslim women, is the subject of a documentary film, "Same God" (Midgett Productions) that will debut at the LA Film Festival on September 24, 2018.
Larycia Hawkins, PhD., is a scholar, a political science professor, and activist. In a December 10, 2015, Facebook post, she declared her intention to don a hijab in embodied solidarity with Muslim sisters throughout the Christian season of Advent. The post initiated a national and international conversation about the nature of God and the possibilities for multi-faith solidarity in a time where Islamaphobia, xenophobia, religiously-motivated hate crimes, and racism are more prolific than any time in history.
At the time of her activism, Doc Hawk (as her students called her) was Associate Professor of Political Science at Wheaton College (IL), where she was the first black woman to receive tenure in the history of the university founded in 1860 by abolitionists. Two months following the commencement of her embodied solidarity with Muslim women, she and Wheaton College, a Christian university, “parted ways”.
In an era where the contours of American citizenship are actively contested on multiple fronts, Larycia Hawkins continues to walk in embodied solidarity with Syrian refugees during a visit to Turkey with the Zakat Foundation; with survivors and perpetrators of the genocide in Rwanda; and to speak nationally and internationally, including at the Free University of Berlin, Harvard University, Princeton University, Zaytuna College, and a TedX talk on her act of embodied solidarity.
Professor Hawkins teaches and researches at the University of Virginia, where she is jointly appointed as Assistant Professor in the departments of Politics and Religious Studies; serves as a Faculty Fellow at the university's Institute of Advanced Studies in Culture; is a Contributor to the Project on Lived Theology; and co-convenes the Henry Luce Foundation project, Religion and Its Publics.
I don't love my Muslim neighbor because s/he is American. I love my Muslim neighbor because s/he deserves love by virtue of her/his human dignity. I stand in human solidarity with my Muslim neighbor because we are formed of the same primordial clay...
I stand in religious solidarity with Muslims because they, like me, a Christian, are people of the book. And as Pope Francis stated last week, we worship the same God.
...theoretical solidarity is not solidarity at all.