LET’S FACE RACE – LEGACY OF THE MOTHER EMANUEL 9 (A Call to Action)
January 4, 2017
Article from the official website of the African Methodist Episcopal Church
We are thankful that the Charleston, South Carolina jury rendered a just decision in the case of the heinous and cowardly murder of the nine martyrs of Mother Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church on June 17, 2015. We honor the faith walks of Pastor Clementa C. Pinckney (41), Cynthia Marie Graham Hurd (54), Susie Jackson (87), Ethel Lee Lance (70), Depayne Middleton-Doctor (49), Tywanza Sanders (26), Daniel Simmons (74), Sharonda Coleman-Singleton (45), and Myra Thompson (59). Today, as we await the sentencing phase, let us remember it is a wake-up call for all Americans. What are we waking up for and waking up to do?
When we reflect on the martyrdom of the Mother Emanuel 9 in bible study, we hear the voice of an Early Church Father, Tertullian, declaring that the blood of the martyrs seeds the growth of the church and the expansion of the faith. Just as Jesus was unjustly crucified on the cross, these brothers and sisters were brutally murdered while studying the word of God and welcoming a stranger into the house of God. They modeled for us the rare and exemplary qualities of love, acceptance, and grace. They modeled Christ in word and deed. These martyrs lived and died for, and with their faith. In the words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., they believed that unearned suffering is redemptive. They demonstrated that love is stronger than hate; and that faith is stronger than fear; and that life triumphs over death, says Bishop McKinley Young, Senior Bishop of the AME Church.
That sentiment and the challenge is echoed by Bishop Vashti M. McKenzie, President of the General Board of the AME Church, who declares, “And I am hoping that when all of those who believe in humanity and all of those who are driven by love and not hate come together, we can make this nation truly a model for the world. For us to speak one thing globally and live another thing locally, is a contradiction and ultimate in hypocrisy. But I believe the nation is ready now – that our local declarations will be able to stand up to global inspection – that in this country, we will demand that everybody is treated equally.”
Bishop Frank M. Reid III, Chair of the Social Action Commission, continues, “There lingers the unmistakable need for this nation to move beyond guilt or shame about racial injustice in America to action that will eradicate its consequences and its genesis from our hearts. We declare that healing is the order of the day. That means changing the hearts and minds of the people who have been conditioned to dehumanize/denigrate/discriminate against someone solely based on the color of his/her skin or family origin. That means being open for a cure from unbearable pain, and willingness to bind our wounds to forgive offenders and offer a second chance.”
The African Methodist Episcopal Church believes we must move beyond talk, we must act. So, the question: what is next?
“The Mother Emanuel Nine and so many others who have died or been marginalized and suffered because of race deserve to have us create a new paradigm. Especially as we await the sentencing trial of the Charleston shooter, let us pledge anew that we cannot have their lives taken, simply to be a footnote in history. The African Methodist Episcopal Church, which celebrated 200 years of liberation and social justice ministry in July of 2016, invites each of you to invest in this eradication process,” concludes Bishop John F White, President of the AME Council of Bishops.
There are several things we can do together. Please see below for Initiatives in which you can play a role. Sign up and let us know you will partner with us. You may also want to inform us of other steps you will take so that the AME Church might support you. Let’s take action! Let us stand together!
2017 – AMEs On the Hill – Washington, DC
The A.M.E. Church will visit Capitol Hill to urge the members of the 115th Congress to remember the value of every life and their obligation to do everything possible to protect us. Join with us as we present a package for actions entitled, “And Justice for All,” to the bipartisan Congressional leadership.
Advocacy – At all levels of governing, we must advocate for legislation that will require background checks and registration to purchase fire arms.
Community Engagement – We will continue to outline strategies where the nation can Act on Race. These will include support for public education, elimination of mass incarceration, reform of gun laws, eradication of poverty, and a living wage. In addition, visit elected officials in your local communities in multi-racial, multi-cultural, inter-generational, inter-religious and ecumenical delegations modeling the diversity of our nation. Use old fashioned tools like phone calls and letter writing. Share the urgency of NOW; no more deferral or acquiescing to powerful lobbies.
Linking- Initiate a social media campaign. Be relentless in reminding your network that there is work to be done to achieve equality for all. Tweet, Post and Share daily. Begin with #AndJusticeForAll.
For more information about the Initiative and partnership, go to www.ame-sac.org or call 213-494-9493.
On Behalf of the African Methodist Episcopal Church,
Its Council of Bishops –
Bishop John Franklin White, President Council of Bishops
Bishop McKinley Young, Senior Bishop
Bishop Adam Jefferson Richardson Jr.
Bishop Vashti Murphy McKenzie, President General Board
Bishop Gregory Gerald McKinley Ingram
Bishop Wilfred Jacobus Messiah
Bishop Paul Jones Mulenga Kawimbe
Bishop James Levert Davis
Bishop David Rwhynica Daniels Jr.
Bishop Samuel Lawrence Green Sr.
Bishop E. Earl McCloud Jr.
Bishop Jeffrey Nathaniel Leath
Bishop Julius Harrison McAllister Sr.
Bishop Clement Willie Fugh
Bishop Reginald Thomas Jackson
Bishop Harry L. Seawright
Bishop Michael L. Mitchell
Bishop E. Anne Henning-Byfield
Bishop Ronnie E. Brailsford Sr.
Bishop Stafford J. N. Wicker
Bishop Frank M. Reid III
Bishop John Hurst Adams
Bishop Frederick Hilborn Talbot
Bishop Frederick Calhoun James
Bishop Frank Curtis Cummings
Bishop Phillip Robert Cousin, Sr.
Bishop Henry Allen Belin, Jr.
Bishop John Richard Bryant
Bishop Robert Vaughn Webster
Bishop Zedekiah LaZett Grady
Bishop Cornal Garnett Henning, Sr.
Bishop William Phillips DeVeaux, Sr.
Bishop Theodore Larry Kirkland, Sr.
Bishop Richard Franklin Norris
Bishop Preston Warren Williams II
Bishop Carolyn Tyler Guidry