Four productions about black Americans win 2017 Wilbur Awards

Religion Communicators Council honors 26 for work during 2016

Wilbur Award winners receive a handcrafted stained-glass trophy and national recognition for their work.

NEW YORK — A motion picture, two television productions and a non-fiction book that tell stories of black Americans lead the list of 2017 Wilbur Award winners.

The Religion Communicators Council announced 26 Wilbur Award winners March 7. The awards honor excellence by individuals in secular media – print and online journalism, book publishing, broadcasting, and motion pictures – in communicating religious issues, values and themes during 2016.

Hidden Figures, the 20th Century Fox production about African-American women behind astronaut John Glenn’s historic space launch; Roots, the History Channel’s remake of Alex Haley’s portrait of American slavery; black-ish, ABC-TV’s comedy about a black family’s search for cultural identity; and New York University Press book, Black Women’s Christian Activism: Seeking Social Justice in a Northern Suburb, are to receive individually crafted stained-glass Wilbur trophies at an awards ceremony in Chicago next month.

The 2017 awards are to be presented April 1 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel Chicago O’Hare during the council’s 88th annual national convention.

Other Wilbur winners include The Associated Press, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, CBS News, National Geographic, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly, The Commercial Appeal (Memphis, Tennessee), and WAND-TV 17, Decatur, Illinois.


New York Chapter discusses religious literacy with Ariel Ennis

Social media on the cheap. Using an android phone (with a soda can as a tripod), Brian Finnerty livestreamed the RCC meeting using Facebook Live.

Working with the Of Many Institute for Multifaith Leadership at NYU has given Ariel Ennis unique insights into the role of interfaith dialogue among today’s student population. During his presentation to the RCC New York Chapter in February 2017, Ariel addressed his organization's mission and the role of spirituality in the lives of today's Millennials. He also discussed methods of teaching religious literacy.

The Of Many Institute for Multifaith Leadership falls under Global Spiritual Life at NYU. An open, authentic, and vibrant community at the forefront of international conversations on religion and spirituality, their mission is to offer environments and tools for transformative multifaith and spiritual encounters at NYU and beyond.

The Of Many Institute for Multifaith Leadership was featured in a 2015 Wilbur Award winning documentary, Of Many.


Washington Post religion reporter Julie Zauzmer shares stories with the DC chapter

By Richard Chung, Intern, Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty

Julie Zauzmer, religion reporter for The Washington Post

The Pope’s 2015 visit to the U.S. was one of the biggest religion stories of the year. Little did Julie Zauzmer know that it would also serve as the gateway to her role as religion reporter for The Washington Post. Addressing the D.C. chapter of the Religion Communicators Council on February 15, 2017, Zauzmer offered advice for more effective public relations with the media and shared her personal experience and perspective as a religion reporter.

Though relatively new to the realm of religion reporting, Zauzmer served as the managing editor of the Harvard Crimson and had a brief stint at the Philadelphia Inquirer before joining The Washington Post staff in January 2014. She spent her first two years on the local beat before taking on her current position.


Religion communicators to address religious freedom, current issues at national convention

Religion communicators will meet March 30-April 1, 2017 in Chicago

CHICAGO — Former U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom, Rabbi David Saperstein, and journalist, playwright, and commentator, Wajahat Ali, join an impressive line-up of speakers at the Religion Communicators Council (RCC) Annual Convention. Addressing topics headlining our nightly news such as Islamophobia and religious freedom, these speakers will address the roles of faith communities in our present political climate.

Weaving current issues and hot topics with hands-on skills training and professional development, the convention will provide a rich exploration of the theme, “Virtually Here, There and Everywhere: Faith Communications and Presence.” Held March 30 - April 1 in Chicago, IL, this multi-faith forum is designed to enrich, engage, educate, and empower professional communicators of religion and faith-based issues. All who are interested are welcome to attend.


RCC Washington, DC chapter at the 5th Annual DC Interfaith Leadership Summit

Danny Hall, director of public affairs, Soka Gakkai International - USA, Washington DC and Jackie Fuller, executive producer and host, Interfaith Connections TV Show, Alexandria, Virginia at the 2017 DC Interfaith Leadership Summit.

The Washington, DC chapter participated in the Resource Fair at the 2017 DC Interfaith Leadership Summit on January 30 and coordinated by the Interfaith Conference of Washington at Howard University School of Divinity. In attendance were young adults ages 18-39 representing Christians, Jews and Muslims, leaders from Bahá’í, Buddhist, Hindu, Sikh and other faith traditions. Atheists, humanists, and the ‘spiritual but not religious’ also participated at the event.

Danny Hall, Jackie Fuller and Jazmine Steele represented the chapter at the fair. They provided membership information to participants and encouraged them to sign up for the email list to learn more about the professional development and networking opportunities.

For more information about the summit, visit

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