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  • Interfaith Discussions on Islamophobia in New Jersey

    The Barbera Villegas International Social Work Lecture

    Thursday, November 16, 2017

    Wilson Auditorium - Program begins at 5 p.m.


    Keynote address given by Amani Al-Khatahtbeh, followed by an Interfaith Panel Discussion


    Amani Al-Khatahtbeh

    Amani Al-Khatahtbeh


    Amani Al-Khatahtbeh is the founder and editor-in-chief of Muslim Girl, the most-read platform for Muslim women’s voices in the West. Muslim Girl is forging a new path by reclaiming the narrative of Muslim women in Western media, emerging at the forefront of Muslim women's issues in mainstream media coverage with its own unprecedented columns in outlets like Teen Vogue, Fortune, and Huffington Post. It became the first Muslim company to make the “Forbes 30 Under 30” list in 2016 and launched the inaugural Muslim Women’s Day on March 27, 2017. Amani became the first veiled woman to be honored in the media category, and rang the NASDAQ Opening Bell in 2016. She was named one of Teen Vogue's "New Faces of Feminism" in its February 2016 issue, and by The Economist as a “Generation Prophet” in their December 2016 issue. Amani was invited by Michelle Obama to speak at the inaugural U.S. State of Women Summit. Her first book, Muslim Girl: A Coming of Age was released with Simon & Schuster in October 2016, and selected as an “Editor’s Pick” on The New York Times Bestsellers’ List. She also debuted the web show Uncovered on MTV Snapchat Discover.

    Amani is a rising voice in social, religious, and political issues, regularly appearing in media outlets such as CNN, BBC, and more. She has appeared on CBS’s Face The Nation, and spoken in spaces like the White House, Cannes Lions, and the Clinton Global Initiative University with former President Bill Clinton, among others. She currently writes a column for Forbes, in which she chronicles the startup journey of Muslim Girl from the perspective of a millennial woman of color entrepreneur.


    Interfaith Panelists

    Rabbi Marc Aron Kline

    Rabbi Marc Aron Kline


    Rabbi Marc Aron Kline, ordained in 1995, serves at Monmouth Reform Temple in Tinton Falls, New Jersey. His deeply rooted faith informs his leadership within his congregation and his commitment to service in the wider local and global community. Prior to entering Hebrew Union College (seminary), Rabbi practiced law in Little Rock Arkansas.

    Rabbi Kline's commitment to Social Justice and equality has seen him Chair his community's Human Rights and Human Relations Commissions, co-lead the 2000 march on Columbia, SC to remove the Confederate Flag from the statehouse dome, march multiple days in 2015 with the NACCP as part of the Journey For Justice across the United States South, work in churches and mosques across the country, and serve Internationally in the causes of peace and pluralism in the Middle East. Rabbi Kline has taught at the high school, college, and graduate school and seminary levels for most of his adult career. Rabbi Marc publishes a weekly Torah Commentary to an international E-mail list and a weekly digital periodical. He holds a deep commitment to fostering Interfaith relationships, mentoring other clergies in pastoral care, and serving as a consultant with religious, public, and private organizations, and schools on matters of leadership, diversity, social justice, and long-range planning.


    Reverend Dr. Gilbert H. Caldwell

    Reverend Dr. Gilbert H. Caldwell


    Reverend Dr. Gilbert H. Caldwell first met Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1958 while he was a student at Boston University. He actively participated in the 1963 March on Washington, the 1964 Mississippi Freedom Summer, the 1965 Selma to Montgomery March, and the March in Boston protesting public school segregation, 1968 Poor People's Campaign.

    Dr. Caldwell is a graduate of North Carolina A. & T. State University and Boston University School of Theology. He received an Honorary Doctor of Divinity, D.D. degree, Dakota Wesleyan University, Mitchell, South Dakota. He is a retired United Methodist Church minister who has pastored churches in Boston, New Haven, Brooklyn, Harlem, Chester, Pennsylvania and Denver, Colorado. Dr. Caldwell has been a United Methodist Church District Superintendent in Boston and West Chester, Pennsylvania.

    Dr. Caldwell is a member of the Board of Preachers and Scholars, Martin Luther King Chapel, Morehouse College, Atlanta, and a Distinguished Alum of Boston University School of Theology. For his leadership and work, Dr. Caldwell received Social Justice Awards from the Church Within A Church Movement and the Methodist Federation for Social Action.

    Dr. Caldwell is married to Grace Dungee Caldwell for 58 years. He has two sons, Dale and Paul, and a granddaughter, Ashley. During his ministry Dr. Caldwell has written five books, chapters in several books, and numerous articles in magazines and newspapers.

    Patty Whyte

    Patty Whyte



    A New Jersey native, Patty Whyte was born in Orange and lived in East Orange until about the age of 4 when she moved to Middletown. She attended St. James Grammar School and Red Bank Catholic High School.

    At the age of 19 she found and embraced the teachings of Baha'u'llah, Founder of the Baha'i Faith, which supports the divine origins of the world's major religions and the essential oneness of humanity. Always attracted to social justice issues, Patty found a natural home in the Baha'i community. Shortly after joining the Baha'i Faith, Patty spent a year in Guatemala visiting and assisting Baha'i communities around the country and learning Spanish. The Baha'i Faith has no clergy; members serve on elected bodies or on their individual initiatives. Patty has served on local Assemblies in Middletown, NJ, Brunswick, ME and Fort Defiance AZ, where she and her family lived for a year on the Navajo Reservation.

    Patty worked for 20 years in NJ, ME and AZ as a registered nurse. After returning to school, she worked another 20 years as a Certified Nurse-Midwife, assisting in the births of more than 800 babies. Her nursing and midwifery work has been mostly with low-income and indigent women. Although retired since March 2017, Patty serves on a committee with the Central Jersey Family Health Consortium.

    She served on the Red Bank Human Relations Advisory Committee for about 8 years. She continues to work towards racial harmony by assisting a monthly program at the Red Bank Library, "Let's Talk About Race", and the local Red Bank group, "Citizens for a Diverse and Open Society". As part of her Baha'i service to the community, Patty offers twice monthly spiritual education classes for a small group of children in her neighborhood as well as monthly interfaith devotional gatherings in her home. She also recently helped organize a local event celebrating the historic 200th anniversary of the birth of Baha'u'llah.

    She and her husband, Jim, recently celebrated 40 years of marriage. They have 3 children and one grandson.