The Orlando and Rose Costas Lecture 2021: Rev. Dr. Jeanette Zaragoza- De Leon

Event time: 
Saturday, April 17, 2021 - 4:00pm
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Event description: 

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The speaker for the 2021 Orlando and Rose Costas Lecture (originally scheduled for March, 2020) will be the Rev. Dr. Jeanette Zaragoza- De Leon, with the lecture title: “Abolition and Interpreting: A Latinx Theological Perspective on the Amistad Trial.” 

This presentation uncovers the unexplored interpreting and translation matters in the Amistad Case and their intersection with issues of oppression, race, colonialism and internalized oppression. While a transnational and transatlantic historical backdrop characterizes this story, important aspects of this story centered in Yale College and New Haven. This presentation further looks at the Amistad lessons in terms of challenges tackled with valor and missed opportunities by abolitionists. Accompanied by musical rhythms of Bomba puertorriqueña (Puerto Rican Bomba rhythms), the presentation will look at the Puerto Rican “Verano del 2019” when united Puerto Ricans forced the governor Roselló, Jr. then to resign in 10 days.  

Dr. Zaragoza-De Leon is Assistant Professor at the Department of Translation at University of Puerto Rico. She is also a lecturer at el Seminario Evangélico de Puerto Rico where she is teaching a course on “Comparative Religions: In the Americas since the Conquest.” She was a visiting fellow at Yale Divinity School through June of 2019 and is an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ. 
Ofreceremos servicios de interpretación al español. 
This event will be closed captioned and we will also have an English/Spanish interpreter for the event. 

Musical Guests - UPDATE: Unfortunately, due to programming constraints, we will be postponing this special opportunity, but we will be inviting Movimiento Cultural Afro-Continental (MCAC) to an in-person event in the future! Stay tuned!

About the Lecturer

Jeanette Zaragoza De León is a Puerto Rican ordained minister of the United Church of Christ, holding Ministerial Authorization in the New York Conference. She earned a bachelor’s degree from Lesley College in early childhood education and obtained an M. Div. from Pacific School of Religion, which included studies at the Seminario Bíblico Latinoamericano in San José, Costa Rica, the Seminario Evangélico de Puerto Rico, and the University of Jerusalem. In December 2011, she graduated from the University of Puerto Rico with an M. A. in Translation. Her graduation thesis title was, “From this Side of the Horizon: Feminist Biblical Hermeneutics,” (a translation of “Capítulo 16: Análisis feminista,” in Para que comprendiesen las Escrituras: Introducción a los Métodos Exegéticos, by Ediberto López-Rodríguez-Rodríguez, New Testament Scholar at the Seminario Evangélico de Puerto Rico). In order to further her research and interdisciplinary research, in 2016, Jeanette completed all requirements for a Masters in Research in Translation and Interpretation Studies at the Universidad Jaime 1ero. On November 2018, she also earned a PhD from said university. Her doctoral thesis entitled “The Critical Translation and Interpreting Stories of the Amistad Case” explored the Amistad Case from the Interpreting and Translation historiographical perspectives.  She applied a Critical Race Theory lens to her archival findings. Rev. Dr. Zaragoza is trained and certified as a professional court, medical and conference interpreter. Her ministerial calling involves designing multilingual-multi rhythmic worship experiences towards a decolonizing church that invites worshippers to honor, celebrate and be critical about their intersectional backgrounds. Rev. Dr. Zaragoza was a PhD Visiting Researcher at Yale Divinity School from 2017 to 2019. Both Dr. Tisa Wenger and Dr. Willie Jennings served as her mentors and dissertation advisors. As a Visiting Researcher, she completed her research towards the writing of her doctoral thesis.  She has extensive international, ecumenical and interfaith experiences. 

More about Orlando Costas (1942-1987)
Orlando Costas was born in Puerto Rico in 1942 to Methodist parents. Costas grew up going to a local Baptist elementary school and was nurtured in various church communities near his home in Puerto Rico. At twelve years old, his father emigrated to the United States to find work and Costas joined him, first in New York, and eventually settling in Bridgeport, Connecticut. 

Through the sometimes-traumatic experience of immigration, Costas struggled to find a place where he felt that his intersecting identities could be affirmed and flourish. During this time, his sense of mission began to be shaped strongly by the stark contrast between his childhood in Puerto Rico and the reality of life as an immigrant in the racist and often hostile American society. This sense of differing realities fueled Costas’ call to serve and his work as a Christian, theologian, and mentor. His theological grounding focused on liberation of the poor, oppressed, hungry, and humiliated, and these were an emphasis of his work later in life as a minister, scholar, and the academic dean of Andover Newton Theological School.

Costas served churches in Bridgeport, Brooklyn, and Long Island while also pursuing his studies. In 1962 he married his wife, Rose, and together they soon had two daughters. After his marriage, Costas returned to Puerto Rico where he continued his studies at the Universidad Interamericana and pastored a church in Yauco. In February 1965 his was ordained as a minister of the American Baptist Churches of Puerto Rico. Costas called the experience of returning to Puerto Rico as his “second conversion,” and spoke of it as a healing experience from the unconscious shame of his heritage that he had felt pressed upon him by the American educational system.
Over the course of the next two decades, Costas spent time pastoring a church in Milwaukee, working for the Latin American Mission in Costa Rica, doing missionary work for the World Board of Missions of the United Church of Christ, and teaching missiology and Hispanic studies at Eastern Baptist theological seminary in Philadelphia. During this time, he also wrote several books on homiletics, evangelism, church growth, and missiology. 
In 1984, Costas was appointed the academic dean of Andover Newton Theological School and continued his work of providing opportunities for theological studies for minority students. During his time at Andover Newton, Costas forged partnerships with key Latinx leaders and students in order to fashion a program of study that would fit their specific needs. Eventually, these efforts led to the development of an official Latinx program of study at Andover Newton that began in 1989 and now continues as an annual lecture.
In 1987, Costas died after a brief fight with an aggressive form of cancer. Though his life was short, his contributions to making theological education accessible to minority communities have been recognized internationally and his efforts to mobilize different denominations to work against oppression left an impact that is still seen today.