Hickory – The Catawba Valley Interfaith Council (CVIC) welcomes the public to attend their eighth annual Human Rights Day commemoration at 5 PM on December 10 at Northminster Presbyterian Church in Hickory (3730 N Center St). The focus of this year’s event will be the right to democracy, as articulated in Article 21 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The Reverend Dr. Jonathan C. Augustine, whose published scholarship on civil and voting rights appears in law reviews throughout the United States, will be this year’s guest speaker. Dr. Augustine also co-authored an amicus curiae brief filed with the United States Supreme Court in Brnovich v. Democratic National Committee (2021), a voting rights case, while

CVIC’s Annual Human Rights Day Service

Rev. Dr. Jonathan C. Augustine

serving as counsel with the Southern Coalition for Social Justice.

A multidisciplinary professional, author, and nationally recognized social justice advocate, Dr. Augustine serves as senior pastor of St. Joseph AME Church (Durham, NC) and is a visiting professor at North Carolina Central University Law School and an adjunct faculty member at Duke University Divinity School. His most recent book is “Called to Reconciliation: How the Church Can Model Justice, Diversity and Inclusion” (Baker Academic, 2022), and his forthcoming work is “When Prophets Preach: Leadership and the Politics of the Pulpit” (Fortress Press, 2023).

As someone deeply involved in the community, Dr. Augustine serves as the general chaplain of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., as a member of the board of directors of PartnersGlobal, Inc., and as a silver life member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). Among his many notable awards and distinctions, he was named Outstanding Alumni Brother of the Year by Alpha Phi Alpha (2017) and he received President Barack Obama’s Lifetime Achievement Award (2016).

After earning an economics degree from Howard University, along with an active-duty commission, Dr. Augustine served as a decorated infantry officer in the United States Army. He subsequently earned his law degree from Tulane University, before serving as a law clerk to Chief Justice (then-Associate) Bernette Joshua Johnson, at the Louisiana Supreme Court. He entered the practice of law and held both appointed and elected public offices. After accepting the call to ordained ministry, he earned his Master of Divinity degree from United Theological Seminary, as a fully funded scholar, completed a fellowship at Princeton Theological Seminary, and earned his doctorate from Duke University. Dr. Augustine is married to Michelle Burks Augustine. They are the parents of two college students.

On December 10, 1948 the United Nations General Assembly adopted the in the aftermath of the Second World War. Article 21 specifically addresses the “right to take part in the government of our country,” which will be the focus of Dr. Augustine’s talk.

CVIC is a local not-for-profit organization of faith-based and secular communities in the Catawba Valley serving as a catalyst for hope and cooperating for the purpose of dialogue, information sharing, and celebration. Their purpose is to create a more compassionate community and honor the rich diversity of religious, spiritual, and secular traditions in the community. The public is invited to attend this free event to commemorate Human Rights Day and to hear from Dr. Augustine about the right to democracy.