Black Theology Leader’s Statement: A Prophetic Call to Action
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We are the inaugural participants of the Black Theology and Leadership Institute (BTLI) at Princeton Theological Seminary. We draw strength from the prophetic tradition of our ancestors, who through their faith in God, committed acts of justice that challenged the powers and principalities that plagued the lives and humanities of Black people in America. We are a body of emerging Christian scholars, ministers and community advocates, who embody a diversity of ages, racial and denominational backgrounds, and sexual orientations. We are compelled to speak on the urgency of this moment, and to call communities and institutions to a higher ground of accountability and action.
We recognize this providential timing, and are seizing the opportunity to offer this collective response to the lived reality of America including the events surrounding the murder of our brother, Trayvon Martin.
The continual miscarriage of justice in this nation is not simply the result of flippant laws. Rather, it is symptomatic of a sociopolitical system that devalues and dehumanizes the lives of Black Americans.
The reality is that a few are able to stand their ground while most, 50 years after the historic March on Washington, are losing ground.
Concurrently, we now find ourselves under the burden of oppressive laws and public policies, which disproportionately affect African Americans, other people of color and the poor. In this moment of political, social and emotional bewilderment, we are calling on you to resist the stagnation that often results from constant grief, and pay emboldened and embodied attention to the blood that calls from the ground in Sanford, Florida, and throughout the nation.
As persons of faith, we acknowledge and appreciate the power and the role of prayer in our faith communities. Due to the injustices that distinguish this present moment, we implore you to engage your respective communities beyond prayer and into the realm of prophetic action. We are urging you to commit or re-commit yourself to the work of justice.
• Get informed about the policies that affect your communities and our nation.
• Organize your congregations and communities to do local acts for social justice.
• Host an event to raise awareness around a particular social justice issue, e.g.:
• host a movie night featuring a documentary about the civil rights or social justice movements, distribute a fact sheets about social justice or policy issues, etc.
In conclusion, we recommend that you read the book titled, To Serve This Present Age: Social Justice Ministries in the Black Church (Valley Forge: Judson Press, 2013) by Danielle Ayers (a BTLI Fellow) and Reginald W. Williams, Jr. for practical insights on mobilizing and organizing around social justice issues.
In solidarity and faith in the God who prompts us to love kindness, do justice, and walk humbly.
Signed by the Members of the Inaugural Black Theology and Leadership Institute Inaugural at Princeton Theological Seminary, Princeton, NJ, July 19, 2013.
See Our Statement on YouTube Video @ http://youtu.be/6DV0O60G9iY
Inaugural Black Theology & Leadership Institute Participants
Min. Corey Bland, M.Div.
Min. Chrystal M. Bolden, MS.Ed, MPA
Rev. William Brewer
Rev. Lacette Cross, M.Div.
Rev. Cece Jones-Davis, M.Div.
Rev. Dorth P. Edwards, Jr., M.Div.
Rev. Charles L. Fischer, III, M.Div.
Rev. Frederick Gaddy, M.Div.
Chaplain Debra Haggins, M.Div.
Rev. Cedric A. Harmon
Rev. Neichelle R. Guidry Jones, M.Div.
Min. Naomi Christine Leapheart
Rev. Dr. George Luster, IV
Pastor Darek McCullers
Dr. Tony McNeill
Valerie Parm, M.Div.
Rev. Dennis Patterson, M.Div.
Seretha Renee Pearsall, M.Div.
Rev. Gregory L. Perkins
Evangelist Delois Prince
Martin Luther Quick
Pastor C.J. Rhodes, II, M.Div.
Rev. Phoebe A. Roaf, JD, M.Div.
Min. Larrin Robertson
Min. F. Romall Smalls, M.Div.
Rev. Gregory K. Stanislaus, M.Div.
Mary Stevenson, JD, M.Div.
Rev. Anthony W. Sullivan, Jr.
Rev. Harry Elliot Taylor, M.Div.
Rev. Wilma Lynette Taylor, M.Div.
Min. J.T. Thomas, M.Div.
Rev. Akeem Zarell Walker, M.A.
Darryl Walker, MBA
Min. Bryson White, M.Div.
Min. Latrece Williams-McKnight
Pastor Jack C. Witt