DURING A FRACTIOUS election year marked by “how low can you go?” rhetoric, a hopeful word about democracy can be hard to find. When our civil society and citizenry seem evermore splintered by issues of race, immigration, wealth inequality, women’s health, guns, and ideology, who would dare speak with sincerity about finding common cause and increasing enfranchisement?
Rev. William Barber II, for one. In The Third Reconstruction: Moral Mondays, Fusion Politics, and the Rise of a New Justice Movement, he argues that “fusion coalitions rooted in moral dissent have power to transform our world from the grassroots community up.” He believes that people committed to different causes, of different races and faiths and no faith, can come together to advance broader justice and perhaps even revive a democracy that has seen better days.
He believes this because he’s seen it: He helped forge the 2013 “Moral Mondays” protests in North Carolina that brought more than 100,000 people to rallies across the state protesting voting restrictions and corporate-funded extremist legislation, and had sister rallies in several other states. But this wasn’t a spontaneous eruption—the broad-based coalition behind Moral Mondays first formed in 2007 to advocate for expanding voting rights.
In this book Barber, a Disciples of Christ pastor and president of the North Carolina chapter of the NAACP, uses autobiography and U.S. history to root the story—the successes, failures, and wisdom gained—of the work that led to the Moral Mondays campaign and beyond.
As a young pastor, Barber learned valuable lessons when he participated in a failed effort to unionize a textile factory in Martinsville, Va. In the aftermath, he meditated on Psalm 94 (“Who rises up for me against the wicked? Who stands up for me against evildoers?”) and found there the spiritual mandate for sustained moral dissent, even when political victory is out of sight. But he also took an honest look at his strategic failings; a key one was not bringing white pastors and workers into the effort, allowing the white factory owners to divide and conquer the workers along racial lines. His wariness from his own negative experiences with white people had tripped him up. He writes:
Disability is an incredibly salient and important part of this story, particularly in the reporting – portraying Kinsey as a hero simply for working around disabled people, or framing the situation as horrifying because it involved a disabled person, as though we are innocent from reality.
Police shot a black man who was taking care of an autistic patient who had wandered into the street, reports the Miami Herald.
On July 18, an unnamed officer shot the caretaker, Charles Kinsey, 47, in the leg with an assault rifle. Video footage taken before the shooting shows Kinsey lying on the ground with his hands in the air, telling his autistic patient to cooperate and lie on the ground as well. Kinsey was not badly injured and is scheduled to be released from the hospital July 21.
As I looked through my Facebook newsfeed I saw many of my African-American friends asking, “How long, oh Lord?” This question is not just one we asked after Alton Sterling and Philando Castile were added to our great cloud of witnesses as the latest victims of racial violence, but this is a question our parents, grandparents, and generations have asked as they faced oppression.
I didn’t know whether to stop. I turned the corner and noticed you first, before I noticed the police cars and the flashing lights and your car crammed full of stuff. You were standing there, jeans and hoodie. Hands in pocket and hood over your head. It was cold and you did not have on a coat. I was in my warm car, and you were standing in the January cold.
President Obama’s comments come just as the world saw Sterling and Castile, both black men, killed by police officers over the course of two days. Sterling was shot early on July 5 while pinned down by cops outside a convenience store, an incident captured on video. Castile was shot July 6 while sitting in his car, and video taken after the shooting shows him moaning in pain and covered in blood as a police officer brandishes a gun outside the window.
"Blood is crying from the ground and let it trouble the very soul of America until justice is a clear reality."
The nation’s second largest Presbyterian denomination has passed legislation repenting for “past failures to love brothers and sisters from minority cultures” and committing its members to work toward racial reconciliation.
The “overture” (or legislation) was approved overwhelmingly June 23 at the national meeting of the Presbyterian Church in America. The issue had been deferred from the previous year’s meeting, where there was a lengthy debate on similar legislation.
Best known for his role in "Grey's Anatomy," Williams stole the show on a night featuring a surprise performance by Beyoncé and Kendrick Lamar.
"The race-conscious admissions program in use at the time of petitioner’s application is lawful under the Equal Protection Clause," said the court.
What if these were not our foundations? What if these foundations did not lay the groundwork for philosophical and legal frameworks that created separate and unequal schooling for the next 150 years? What if they did not lay the foundations for racialized de-facto exclusions from the Homestead Act and the G.I. Bill. And what if they did not lay the foundations for environmental and climate injustice that causes heightened hardship in communities with less healthcare and fewer resources. And what if they did not lay the foundations for 1.5 million black men to go missing from black communities, families, churches, and civic structures — prized booty of America’s racialized Drug War and a new source of near free labor for American corporations within state and federal prisons.
The most important political fact in America is that, in just a few decades, we will no longer be a white majority nation but a majority of minorities. The milestone historical realities of that fundamental demographic shift are underneath everything else in American politics. Race is an intersectional issue in our political discourse today.
As Christians, our response to the changing demographics of America should be two-fold: a renewal of our baptism and a renewal of democracy.
It’s been one year since nine black parishioners were gunned down in the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, murders that then-21-year-old Dylann Roof — who is white — is accused of committing. Last July, Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced a 33-count indictment against Roof that charged him with federal hate crimes for the June 17 attack, alleging that he sought to ignite racial tensions across the United States with the massacre. Friends of Roof have said that he wanted to start a race war. His trial is set for Nov. 7; prosecutors will seek the death penalty.
The idea that you're "the other" means that you often are treated differently, often treated as less deserving, or less worthy of respect and protection — both from your surrounding community and often from the law. I've seen the "othering" of not only Asian Americans but also of Latinos, African Americans, Native Americans, Muslims, and countless others. The political construct of race, and — in an international context “othering” — serves and protects those attributed in-group status. It allows the in-group to keep those deemed “outsiders” at a safe distance to lessen the threat presented by their presence — threat to internal value, threat to safety, and threat to resource access.
The Southern Baptist Convention, born in 1845 in a split over its support for slavery, passed a resolution calling for Christians to quit using the Confederate flag.
“We call our brothers and sisters in Christ to discontinue the display of the Confederate battle flag as a sign of solidarity of the whole Body of Christ, including our African-American brothers and sisters,” reads the resolution adopted Tuesday at the convention’s annual meeting in St. Louis.
Republican Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, who last week gave his support to Trump, said Tuesday that Trump’s recent attack on Judge Gonzalo Curiel of a United States District Court was “the textbook definition of a racist comment.” Textbook racism, said Ryan — but he has yet to withdraw his support.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Michael Mershon, Director of Advocacy and Communications
June 8, 2016
Washington, DC - Sojourners Founder and President Jim Wallis today responded to the plan released by the House of Representatives’ Task Force on Poverty, Opportunity, and Upward Mobility.
The Washington National Cathedral will replace depictions of the Confederate flag in its stained-glass windows with plain glass but maintain adjoining panes honoring Confederate generals for at least two years while it fosters discussions about the church and race relations.
The board of the cathedral announced the decision June 8, almost a year after the South Carolina governor ordered the Confederate flag be removed from its statehouse grounds. The governor’s action followed the fatal June 17 shootings of nine members of Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, S.C., by an alleged perpetrator known for embracing the flag.