News Release - January 28, 2008

For Immediate Release: January 28, 2008

Contact: Sherri Eng (415) 557-4282

Spirit in Action

New exhibition explores how religion spurs social change

Religion is one of the most powerful social forces shaping the world. While religion may reveal differences, it also provides the basis for finding common ground. The photographs in the Spirit in Action exhibition-on display Feb. 9-April 13 in the Jewett Gallery at the Main Library-express the important roles that religious communities play in the 21st century and demonstrate how religion may inspire people to make our cities more humane. From serving meals to the homeless to public demonstrations for migrant rights, The Religion and Immigration Project at the University of San Francisco and the Center for Religion and Civic Culture at the University of Southern California present photographic evidence of urban dwellers' "spirit in action."

San Francisco and Los Angeles-two of the nation's most diverse cities-boast rapidly changing religious landscapes. The religious diversity celebrated in these cities manifests itself in a commitment to serve those in need and provides a window into these complex cities through the lens of photographer Jerry Berndt, who was commissioned for this project. Berndt spent nearly six weeks in San Francisco photographing Mexican, Filipino, Salvadoran, Chinese and Vietnamese faith communities-his photographs reflect the cultural vibrancy of the city as it translates into a religious social action.

This exhibition is made possible by the generous support of the Pew Charitable Trusts and through a partnership between the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of San Francisco and the University of Southern California's Center for Religion and Civic Culture.

On March 4, please join us for a panel discussion with religion and ethics experts as they discuss immigration and social action. The talk will take place 6-7:30 p.m. in the Main Library's Koret Auditorium. Dr. Donald Miller, professor of religion at USC will discuss immigrant religion activities and outreach in Los Angeles; Dr. Lois Lorentzen, professor of religion at USF will discuss what activities and challenges face communities in San Francisco and what results have already been accomplished; Dr. Kevin Chun, associate professor of psychology and director of the Asian American Studies Program at USF will address the importance of religion in health and psychosocial adjustment for Asian American immigrants; and Dr. Joaquin "Jay" Gonzalez III, professor of public administration at the Ageno School of Business at Golden Gate University and visiting professor in the Politics Department and Philippine Studies Program at USF will explore how religion provides needed social capital for migrant communities as well as a base for social activism and political organizing.

The exhibition and program are free and open to the public. For more information, please call (415) 557-4277 or go to

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