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When Adam Taylor entered Harvard's Kennedy School of Government in 1999, he was uncertain about his future. He had just spent a turbulent post-college year in New York City working under Mayor Rudy Giuliani. The death of Guinean immigrant Amadou Diallo had set off angry demonstrations, and Taylor, whose father is white and mother is African American, found himself in a familiar role, trying to facilitate conversation and reconciliation. He also wrestled with a call to ministry while leading young adults at Brooklyn's Emmanuel Baptist Church. He felt a complete disconnect between his concept of pastoral ministry and his passion for political advocacy.

At Kennedy, Taylor found Jim Wallis, founder of the progressive Christian organization Sojourners, who was teaching as an adjunct professor. Wallis's class "connected the dots on so many things I cared about," says Taylor. "So much of why I care about social justice is because of my faith." Newly invigorated, Taylor helped found Global Justice, a student movement that works for HIV/AIDS relief. He later joined Sojourners' staff and in his spare time pursued ordination jointly with the American Baptist and Progressive National Baptist denominations. In August 2009, he began a one-year appointment in the prestigious White House Fellows program, established by Lyndon B. Johnson to expose talented young professionals to government administration.

Question & Answer

How do you connect your faith with social justice?

My social and economic justice activism is rooted in trying to live out Jesus' call in Luke 4 to "preach good news to the poor … to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor." As much as I feel a calling to speak truth to power around issues of ...

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January 2010

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