Kaji Douša ’06 M.Div.

2021William Sloane Coffin '56 Award for Peace and Justice

The Coffin award is given in honor of William Sloane Coffin, former Chaplain to the University and one of the most significant religious leaders of the last century. The recipient of this award shares Coffin’s prophetic witness, a courageous devotion to the dignity of all persons, and has made a notable contribution to the work of peace and reconciliation. 

In a world full of emergencies, Kaji Douša has emerged as a national frontline witness and an advocate for a moral, sacrificial awakening in this country.

Rev. Douša is known for her inspiring leadership on multiple urgent movement fronts, including her role as senior minister and CEO of Park Avenue Christian Church in New York, the first woman in that role in the church’s 210 years. 

In addition, she is immediate past President of the Yale Divinity School Alumni Board, as well as a former trustee for Andover Newton Seminary and a member of the Clergy Advocacy Board of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America.

For a decade, Kaji has served with the New Sanctuary Coalition, which is dedicated to stopping deportations and creating places of sanctuary in the U.S. This effort has taken her to the Mexican border to pray with migrants. 

This witness and ministry have drawn the suspicions of federal agents who’ve targeted Rev. Douša and placed her on a secret watch list. As a result, she filed suit against the US Department of Homeland Security for infringing on her constitutional rights, a lawsuit that has just completed the discovery phase.

In Reflections journal in 2019, Kaji wrote: “It’s crucial that the church give people permission to admit feeling overwhelmed by the terrible things happening around them … and help them know that God’s gift is love, not suffering. We try to help people shape a response to that. This is part of what liberation means.”