Most of us read or watched with very heavy hearts the repeated assaults of violence and state sanctioned terror that plague our African American communities. Right now, the nation is focused on Ferguson, MO, but we know this is happening everywhere.
In response to the tragedy and ongoing protests in Ferguson, Rev. Ruby Sales, the Samuel DeWitt Proctor Conference and Eden Theological Seminary are hosting a community forum Saturday at 4:00 P.M. in the Wehrli Chapel on Eden’s campus in St. Louis, MO.
Most of us cannot go to Ferguson to stand in solidarity with the Brown family and community.
Too many of us have witnessed close up the violence and terror that comes from illegal guns in American communities and rogue policemen who do not “serve or protect.”
“Injustice anywhere is injustice everywhere.” What we are experiencing is an assault to the human spirit of us all and pierces the very soul of America.
We are asking that congregations, synagogues, mosques and other houses of our diverse American faiths throughout the nation, pause in solidarity with those in Ferguson who have responded with the words, “Don’t’ shoot! I’m not armed!”
As you leave your house of worship this week, please end your service by inviting members of your faith community to join you outside in prayer and with arms raised, repeating the words, “Don’t shoot! We are not armed.”
We thank you for supporting this action and sending a message up and out as we stand for justice and righteousness and mourn the blood of our children which covers the streets of this nation.
Our struggle continues. We who believe in freedom cannot rest. Our voices will not be silenced. We are in collaboration with interfaith leadership from around the nation who are calling for the White House, the U.S. Justice Department, and the U.S. Congress to address the rise of state sanctioned murders in America as well as the proliferation of gun violence in our communities.
Dr. Iva E. Carruthers, Dr. Frederick D. Haynes, III and Father Michael Pfleger
Board of Trustees, The Samuel DeWitt Proctor Conference
Rev. Stephen J. Thurston, Sr
President of the National Baptist Convention of America, Incorporated
National Youth Minister, United Church of ChristRev. Ruby Sales
Director, SpiritHouse Project
Bishop Gregory G. M. Ingram
1st. Episcopal District, African Methodist Episcopal Church
Rev. Michael McBride
PICO National Network- #LiveFree Campaign
Download Litany – A Litany For Children Slain By Violence
There comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe,
nor politic, nor popular, but he must take it because conscience tells him it is right.
Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Let Freedom Ring: A Day of Prayer & Protest July 13, 2014
The streets on which African American civil rights activists and leaders marched, died and shed blood to advance the cause of justice, cried out in angst this week after the Supreme Court Hobby Lobby 5-4 ruling allowed businesses to opt-out of federal requirements to pay for workers’ contraceptives. What an insult to the legacy of the late Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall. What a call to the question asked by Frederick Douglas, “What is the 4th of July to Me?” As an alliance of intergenerational pastors of the Gospel, interfaith American leaders, and people of a great and abiding faith committed to tangible and transparent progress to those whose sacred memories made freedom possible, we vehemently denounce the court’s decision and call for a national day of protest and prayer on Sunday, July 13th, 2014.
We the people—the workers, the disenfranchised, those who have played by the rules and have been ignored—in order to form a more perfect society must not let our historic legacy of civil rights and social justice be co-opted by the religious right to fit into their particular brand of Christianity and their particular variety of democracy. In a recent panel at the Southern Baptist Convention involving Rick Warren of Saddleback Church and Samuel Rodriguez, a fundamentalist mega church pastor, gave their support to the Hobby Lobby legislation, which destroys basic constitutional rights of self-determination and equal protection. In doing so, they compared their views to Dr. Martin Luther King’s fight against racism, a most insulting likening to those who peacefully gave their lives for liberty and access to the pursuit of happiness.
Over the past few years, the Samuel DeWitt Proctor Conference (SDPC) has been working in partnership with various organizations and faith communities to create awareness around dismantling the oppressive nature of mass incarceration and connect it to a larger human rights framework. The unique role of faith communities in social movement building revolves around the intersection of what people believe about their moral and spiritual agency to create change in their social conditions.
The United States only makes up 5% of the world’s population, but yet is responsible for 25% of the world’s prison population and 2.3 million people are in prisons and jails and there are some 7 million persons on probation and parole. The War on Drugs has fundamentally shaped who we are as a society by incarcerating over 45 million people for drug offenses and spending over one trillion dollars rather then utilizing the money for more long term benefits for our communities. Read more!
Dear Faith Partner,
Along with you, we remain prayerful for the safe return of our daughters who have been so violently removed from their families and community.
We hope that the attached litany, We Speak Your Names, will be a valuable resource for your worship and ministry experiences this Sunday and the coming weeks. We will continue to share other resources that might keep us all informed and more faithful to God’s will for peace and justice in this world.
Thank you for your ministry and sharing the journey with us.
Dr. Iva E. Carruthers
Samuel DeWitt Proctor Conference