Celebrating the launch of The Ada María Isasi-Díaz Justice Institute
October 2022 – The life and legacy of Ada María Isasi-Díaz, who served as professor of ethics and theology at Drew Theological School for nearly two decades, was honored during a presentation of EN LA LUCHA: What is “The Struggle” in 2022 for Latinas/for Us All?
The virtual event, hosted by the Charter Oak Cultural Center and co-presented by the Theological School and CT Humanities, celebrated the theologian and activist with the establishment of The Ada María Isasi-Díaz Justice Institute.
Launched on the tenth anniversary of Isasi-Díaz’s death, the institute will explore and extend the work of the creator of Mujerista theology, a theological approach based on the lived-experience of Latinx women.
“This institute is a way to be in Ada’s big presence once again,” said Donna Berman C’77, G’99,’01, executive director of the Charter Oak Cultural Center. “It is a way to pay tribute to her life of courage and her passion for justice.”
The institute will hold lectures on the meaning and impact of Isasi-Díaz’s theology, offer workshops to train Latinx women in conducting interviews using Isasi-Díaz’s methods, and ultimately lay the foundation for a book dedicated to her legacy.
“By placing the voices of Latinx women at the center of her system of ethics, she shifted the lens and she changed the world,” said Berman. “We established The Ada María Isasi-Díaz Justice Institute so that Ada’s work will not be forgotten, but will continue to evolve and help us meet the challenges of the new world in which we find ourselves. She still has so much to teach us.”
“I had the great gift of being mentored by Ada María Isasi-Díaz,” said Theological School Dean Edwin David Aponte. “It has informed my scholarship, my teaching, and the work I do as an administrator.”
The event featured a panel discussion with Dr. Matilde Moros T’11,’14, assistant professor of gender, sexuality and women’s studies at Virginia Commonwealth University; Dr. Melissa Pagán, associate professor, director of graduate religious studies, and co-director of ethnic studies at Mount St. Mary’s University; and Alina Zuniga Pardo, who teaches Spanish at Southern Connecticut State University, Fairfield University, and Capital Community College. The group discussed the impact, legacy, and future of Isasi-Díaz’s Mujerista theology.
The Rev. Dr. Damaris Whittaker, senior pastor at Fort Washington Collegiate Church and president of Collegiate Churches of New York, moderated the event.
“The work of Ada María Isasi-Díaz in claiming and privileging the experiences of U.S. grassroot Latinas, enabling their stories of struggle, and faith to function as prophetic and cast new understandings and delimitations of the work of God in our strivings for justice cannot be understated,” said Pagán.