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The National Religious Affairs Association

Originally Founded As
(The Religious Affairs Committee of NABCJ)

“In the beginning…”

In January 2001, the National President, Matthew Hamidullah appointed the Reverend W. Hugh Dolphus as the Chair of the first Religious Affairs Committee for the National Association of Blacks in Criminal Justice. It was the President’s goal to establish a working body of faith within the association that would set a plat form in criminal justice issues and decisions. From this concept the Religious Affairs Committee was formed.

During the 28th Annual Conference and Training Institute held in Cincinnati, Ohio, an initial group of persons were assembled. This group shared a common interest in the establishment of this body. Officers were elected at the first official meeting which convened in Laurel, Maryland, October 5-6, 2001. From that meeting, the Mission, Purpose and Objectives were established. The Constitution and By-Laws were created. In addition, sub-committees were formed to include Special Events Coordination, Public Relations, Project Coordination, and Membership Recruitment.

On January 25-26, 2002, the second Religious Affairs meeting convened in Atlanta, Georgia (Alpharetta). From this meeting, the decision to move the committee towards an independent association was determined and named the National Religious Affairs Association (NRAA). Also, in this forum, the NRAA adopted a strategic plan which would encompass the following programs: The Voices of NABCJ Gospel Choir, the Annual Justice Sunday, The National Ex-Offender Speaker’s Bureau, and the F.A.I.T.H. (“Facilitating Assistance in Transition and Healing”) Annual Prayer Breakfast, held each year on Wednesday morning during the NABCJ Annual Conference and Training Institute.

The third gathering took place April 5-6, 2002, in Tulsa, Oklahoma, in conjunction with the NABCJ’s National Board Spring meeting. In this meeting, the national logo of the organization was introduced and confirmed by the body, as well as the national president. Other templates for NRAA’s involvement with the Annual Conference and Training Institute included: procedures for NRAA’s workshops; recruitment reception; a 24 Hour Chapel, with Chaplains on call; plans and structure for the annual prayer breakfast and other religious matters.

Today, in three short years, NRAA of NABCJ serves as the annual training and technical assistance affiliate of NABCJ. The organization has an impressive number of accomplishments in its short history, to include:

a. The development and implementation of the National Black Church Task Force initiative on Crime and Criminal Justice (4 demonstration sites).

b. Multiple intellectual properties, to include, “To Serve This Present Age: A Basic Guide To Reentry Volunteerism and Mentorship”

c. Successfully hosted national representatives of 19 denominations for A Charge to Keep We Have National Legislative and Leadership Summit in Washington, D.C.

• Addressed by five Congressional Leaders
• Hosted by the Honorable Ron Paige, Secretary, U S. Department of Education

d. Developed and implemented national observance of JUSTICE SUNDAY by Grant of Rights, received from the Martin Luther King Center for Non-Violent and Social Change.

e. Filmed and released 10 minutes promotional video, “To Serve the Present Age: Connections to Reentry through Faith” in cooperation with the Reentry National Media Campaign through funding from the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

f. Developed and implemented on behalf of NABCJ, a full training curriculum for mentoring of offenders as first implemented through Ready4Work, the White House Faith and Community-Based Initiative.


National Religious Affairs Association – PO Box 77075, Washington, DC 20013-7075
National Religious Affairs Association – 712 18th Street NE, Washington, DC 20002-7210
National Association of Blacks in Criminal Justice – N.C. Central University, P.O. Box 19788, Durham, NC 27707

© Copyright 2005 National Religious Affairs Association and National Association of Blacks in Criminal Justice. All rights reserved.