Professor James Kodera was a panelist at “Fifty Years Later: The State of Racism in America,” a gathering of the Episcopal Church

November 26, 2013

On November 16, faith leaders and educators gathered at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Cathedral in Jackson, Mississippi, for a conference titled Fifty Years Later: The State of Racism in America.” Wellesley professor, The Rev. Dr. James Kodera, Professor of Religion, was among the conference panelists. 

“Many important events in the history of the civil rights movement in our country occurred in Mississippi,” said Bishop Duncan Gray of the Diocese of Mississippi in a press release describing the conference. “We have been using the anniversaries of these events as a time of truth telling and a renewal of our commitment to racial reconciliation and justice.”

Kodera said the site was chosen to commemorate the assassination in June 1963 of Medgar Evers, who was assassinated while working for voter registration in Mississippi's capital.

Kodera, who was ordained in 1985, was the first Asian American ordained to the priesthood in the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts since its inception in 1784. “The panel on which I served included representatives of African American, Hispanic, Native American and Asian American communities in the United States,” Kodera said. His discussion was titled "Racism Through Another Lens: Yellow Peril, Enemy Aliens, Model Minority."

“Much of the information and insight I offered at the conference came from "Asian American Experience" (American Studies 151), which I first offered in 1994," Kodera said, "as well as from "Interning the 'Enemy Race': Japanese Americans in WWII" (American Studies 318), a seminar which I conceived shortly after "9/11" in 2001." 

Visit the Episcopal Dioceses of Mississippi website for more information about the gathering.