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National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) renounced jurisdiction over faculty employees at most religious educational institutions, which has resulted in faculty unions being disbanded at some of those schools.

Florida University uses religious exemption to disband faculty union play

JACKSONVILLE, Fla.—Citing a religious exemption, Edward Waters Universitya private, historically Black school in Jacksonvillehas shut down its faculty union.

The news came weeks after the university announced the inaugural leader of its A. Philip Randolph Institute, named after a prominent African American labor leader who led a successful campaign in 1925 to organize a union of Pullman workers and helped lead the 1963 March on Washington.

But Felicia Wider-Lewis, Ph.D, a former associate professor at Edward Waters - said she will have to leave the school. She claimed the infrastructure deteriorated over the years, and efforts to bargain with university leaders for better conditions failed.

"And I'm not trying to disparage the college in any mean way," said Wider-Lewis. "But we were fighting for our rights
basically, you know, for shared governance, for to have better wages and working conditionsall the things that everybody wants, you know."

Classes just ended this week for the fall semester at Edward Waters.

The university declined to comment for this story, but in a statement to the news organization The Tributary, it cited the National Labor Relations Board's 2020 decision not to have jurisdiction over religious schools.

The university stated it allows "EWU to be driven by its faith-based Christian mission, rather than the political agendas often associated with federal labor policies."

Wider-Lewis said the faculty union has been operating under the American Association of University Profes- sors. Lengthy negotiations came to a sudden halt in May when the university sent a letter saying it will not recognize the union - and since then, it has not.

"You know, the political arena right now, and previous in the Trump administration," said Wider-Lewis, "more of the politics was that anti-union stance."

Last year, the board of trustees of St. Leo University in Florida voted to no longer recognize its 44-year-old faculty union. St. Xavier University in Chicago took a similar stance, as have other religious institutions
taking advantage of the NLRB decision, which is related to a 2018 court case.

Where do Korean Americans stand on race?


Susan Sungsil Kim



"Where are you from?" "Where are you really from?" "Where are you originally from?" 

These questions are often asked in succession of Asian Americans. Sensing the implicit bias, my replies are: "I am from Bedford, Massachusetts" "I am from Westchester, New York, but moved to Massachusetts a few years ago," "Oh, I am Korean! I came here when I was in high school," or "Oh, I discovered America in 1972. How about you?"  


I reply with a smile, depending on the situation. I often feel their brief dismay before they share their personal history/herstory. I was enlightened by the naked history of the racial injustice and systemic racism of my adopted country while serving on the Racial Justice Charter Support Team at United Women in Faith—previously known as United

Methodist Women. I understand now the importance of standing up for my rights as a Korean American and also providing an educational opportunity to those who insist on their innocence of not seeing skin color.


Being "color blind" is White privilege that grows into entitlement. What seems to be a simple question of "Where are you from?" may explicitly imply their false ownership of this land that was taken away violently from the indigenous people more than 400 years ago.

Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month originated from a weeklong celebration in the first week of May 1990. The first week was selected to commemorate the first-known Japanese immigrants arriving on May 7, 1843, and the completion of the transcontinental railroad by Chinese laborers on May 10, 1869. 

In 1992, Congress passed the law for the monthlong celebration that needs to be credited to Jeanie Jew, a former Capitol Hill staffer who brought the idea of designating a month to celebrate Asian heritage to a New York representative in 1978. Jew’s great-grandfather emigrated from China in the 1800s and was part of the transcontinental railroad workforce.

Twenty thousand Chinese workers toiled through back-breaking labor, and hundreds died from explosions, landslides, accidents and disease, but their major contribution to this historical event was intentionally ignored. Not a single Chinese worker was asked to pose with the other White workers when the celebratory photo of the Golden Spike was taken. 

These Chinese workers were hired due to a shortage of willing workers but were accused of taking jobs from White people while suffering from the xenophobic notion of "Yellow Peril." The acts of violence toward the Chinese were common; one incident involved 17 men and boys murdered in Los Angeles in what is now known as the Chinese Massacre of 1871. Another involved San Jose’s Chinatown being burned and destroyed.

The first major wave of Asian immigration occurred in the late 19th century, originating primarily from China, Japan, Korea, India and the Philippines. These contracted workers were brought to Hawaii and the West Coast, where capitalists and missionaries had established plantations and settlements. As the Chinese population increased, the government banned the entry of Chinese to the U.S. and instead imported Japanese—and then substituted the Japanese with Koreans when they protested against the poor living conditions and low wages.


The Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 prohibited their immigration for 10 years and was renewed by the Geary Act, which added restrictions such as requiring Chinese residents to carry permits at all times or face pos- sible deportation. Influenced by the civil rights movement, the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 elim- inated Asian exclusion laws and brought a large increase in the number of Asian immigrants. Today, about 22.2 million Asians are living in the U.S.

The nonviolent work of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. leading the civil rights movement made it happen. Because of their fight for racial justice, my dad was able to come to New York City in 1969 and work hard for his American dream, with the rest of the family joining him three years later. 

While growing up, I enjoyed the life of an affluent community and made an effort to assimilate to the main- stream culture. However, I was confused by my temporary and conditional proximity to "White privilege" and enjoyed the benefits at the expense of Black people. I became both a victim and perpetrator of racism. I was not sure how to react to the "Model Minority Myth" that seems like praise but is used to pit Black people against us. "Divide and conquer" to minoritize and disempower all non-White individuals has been in practice too long, obscuring justice. 

In the racial justice charter by United Women in Faith, we state that we believe "that racism robs all human beings of their wholeness and is used as a justification for social, economic and political exploitation." 

We Korean Americans ought to recognize our own and all Asian Americans' hard work, endurance, courage and cultural values, and celebrate our contributions and accomplishments in the midst of racism. We also ought to remember that Black Americans fought the good fight for all people of color. 

Susan Sungsil Kim is a member of St. John’s Korean United Methodist Church in Lexington, Massachusetts. She is also a member of the Racial Justice Charter Support Team of United Women in Faith and co-chair of the Korean Ministry Plan Racial Justice Task Force.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this commentary are not necessarily the opinions of the publisher. 


COVID masquerading as the predator in 1 Peter 5:8

‘Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour’


Fellows, Jr./

It is past the time for clergy in America to stop playing Russian Roulette concerning COVID-19 with the lives of their congregants.

The writer is not a member of the ordained clergy, but rather a lay Christian believer in the Word of God bearing due diligence in its study and meditation with the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Our Creator also endowed each of us with a mind and common sense.

With respect to the COVID pandemic, the faith community is divided—a mirror of the national optic; some advocating vaccinations, social distancing, and the wearing of masks, while others assail any and all protective measures, relying instead on their God-faith for complete protection. The latter is what many of their pastors are preaching to them on Sunday morning from the pulpit. What’s at work here is Faith and Foolishness.

Now consider the incontrovertible truth.

Those who professed a belief in a living God are numbered among the more than 1 million COVID fatalities in the US, alone. Presumably, that number swells around the globe. Bishops, pastors, priests, and missionaries have perished from COVID, which is acting like the predator spoken of in 1 Peter 5:8, none other than Satan: “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walks about, seeking whom he may devour.”

COVID is a predator, re-creating itself as ever more aggressive killer variants seeking unprotected humans to devour like unprotected sheep by bears, wolves, and coyotes.

The clergy must not side-step the warnings of the Bible contained in 1 Corinthians and John 8: 44:


“For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.” 1 Corinthians 14:33

“Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.” John 8: 44

Pastors, urge your congregants to get inoculated so that those that may be carriers of the virus, but asymptomatic (not showing any signs) will not transmit the virus to the most vulnerable among them—seniors with conditions, and children.

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