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Archive for Martin Luther King

Offer Love’s Response to White Supremacy’s Hatred

I am sickened by the latest incidence of violence, this time  in Charlottesville, Virginia. I pray for the families of the two police officers who died on their way to help. I pray for the family of Heather Heyer, the 32-year-old paralegal who was killed by a 20-year-old white supremacist, a terrorist whose name I will not speak, who turned his car into a weapon against non-violent protesters. Heather was killed, and 19 other people were struck down by malice, hatred and racism.

They were struck down by what has stricken our nation since its founding: the horrible lie that is white supremacy. This lie was formed in the mouth of Thomas Jefferson, who had a suspicion that the Africans who had been enslaved by the freedom-seeking colonists were inferior to their white owners. This horrible lie was fanned into pseudo-science about racial hierarchy. This lie spits in the face of the truth: there is only one race, and that race is called human.

We who know the truth must be set free from apathy and boldly challenge the falsehood of white supremacy every time and everywhere we see it. We who are people of faith must not pretend that what happened in Charlottesville was violence and hatred on “many sides.” We must say the truth out loud.

This is the truth: White supremacists organized themselves and descended on Charlottesville to protest the removal of a symbol of hatred and racism. They will keep organizing and use every tool in their power to make America racist, again and again.

And we who believe in freedom, we who believe in the power of revolutionary love must keep organizing as well, and use every tool in our power to fight this hatred, to renounce this bigotry, and to call our leaders into account. This is NOT the America for us. This rising ugly tide of white supremacy, if unchecked, will become a tsunami that will drown the liberties espoused by our constitution, and will end more and more innocent lives.

Hatred kills.

We must recognize that all of these movements (black lives matter, women’s march, immigration reform, LGBTQ Pride, affordable housing, education, and healthcare, prison reform, climate justice, etc) are all part of the human rights movement. We must join together to stand on the side of love. Here are some things we can all do now in response to white supremacy:

  1. Tweet the president or retweet a prayer that @POTUS joins us to name and fight #WhiteSupremacy and the #terrorism that accompanies it.
  2. Read “UCC Pastoral Letter condemns racist violence in Charlottesville, demands equality for all”
  3. Read these articles and learn more about what’s happening here in the Bay area, Aug 26-27 weekend:
    1. Message from Mayor of Berkeley – The Aug 27 Rally does not have a permit
    2. Nancy Pelosi asks if White House had a hand in approving the permit for Aug 26    
    3. Don’t give the haters any bragging rights 
  4. Sign this petition from Faith in Public Life that calls on the @POTUS to behave like a president. It calls “on all elected officials to explicitly and publicly condemn white supremacy and the organizations that advance and seek to give it mainstream credibility.” And it asks “President Trump to remove Steve Bannon and other supporters of the alt-right from his White House and stand against the racist policies they propose.”
  5. Join us for an interfaith worship service on Sat Aug 26th, in which our very own music director, Benjamin Mertz, will be performing; stay tuned for more as plans unfold. 
  6. Join us for a conversation immediately following worship this Sunday about our own personal discernment in response. 

And never forget that when we take these actions, we are praying with our hands and our feet. We are mourning, and we are organizing against white supremacy with revolutionary love,  until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like an ever flowing stream.

I leave you with the prophetic words of Rev Dr Martin Luther King Jr: 

Hate cannot drive out hate: Only love can do that. 
The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral, 
begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy. 
Instead of diminishing evil, it multiplies it.
Through violence you may murder the liar, 
but you cannot murder the lie, nor establish the truth. 
Through violence you may murder the hater, 
but you do not murder hate. 
In fact, violence merely increases hate. 
So it goes. 
Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, 
adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. 
Darkness cannot drive out darkness: 
only light can do that. 
Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.
A time to end the Silence. 

History will have to record the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the vitriolic words and other violent actions of the bad people but the appalling silence and indifference of the good people. Our generation will have to repent not only the words and acts of the children of darkness but also for the fears and apathy of the children of light.” “In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”

Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day Events

Starting Sun, Jan 15 through Jan 21

The Justice and Witness Team and Pastor Laurie invite you to attend these and other events to be announced later in honor of MLK and Black History Month.  Please contact Nancy Taylor: (510-530-0814) ngtaylor94619@yahoo.com to RSVP or find out more.

 
Sun, January 15 – Annual MLK Jr. Day Church Service:  readers theater, great music; upcoming inauguration.

We will honor the memory of Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., his sense of God’s calling in his life, and the larger civil rights movement to which he gave his life.  We will also take seriously our call to participate in the civil rights movement of our times for greater economic justice, particularly within our country.  Together, one day, we shall overcome!

Please bring with you friends who would be drawn to this celebration.  Please feel free to contact me if you’d like to discuss ways that you’d like to take part at revlauriemanning@aol.com.

Sun, January 15 – 7pm – IN THE NAME OF LOVE: 15TH Annual Musical Tribute honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. “Marvin Gaye, What’s Going on?”  Oakland Scottish Rite Center.  Let Nancy know if you’d like to go.  http://www.livingjazz.org/mlk-about for tickets.

Sunday, January 15th from 3:00 – 6:30 pm  Swing Yo Thing Pho Martin Luther King!
2501 Harrison Street, First Congregational Church of Oakland
$15 Admission
Join Us!
3:00 – 4:00 East Coast Swing Dance Lesson
4:00 – 6:30 Lavay Smith & the Red Hot Skillet Lickers
There will be a Lindy hop performance during intermission!
Wheelchair accessible
(A)Rise In Power is a gathering for Christians and other Jesus followers who are committed to the Movement for Black Lives and interested in exploring how liturgical direct action can best serve that movement.  Nancy Taylor: (510-530-0814) ngtaylor94619@yahoo.com

Mon, January 16, 9:00AM to 12:30PM MLK Day of Service  MLK Day of Service 2017 – Oakland – Shepherd Canyon Park
*Transforming a Former Dump into a Place of Natural Beauty
*Meet at the Escher Gate, 5881 Escher Drive, (In Meadows above Soccer Field in Shepherd Canyon Park) *We will be planting and sowing seeds for CA Native bunch grasses and wildflowers, trail improvements, Creating Monarch Butterfly Habitat! Great event for adults, students and families (Kids need to be accompanied by parents).

Skyline doesn’t have a coordinated team attending but it’s always a valuable community contribution, so we invite you to go!

Mon, January 16: African American Museum & Library at Oakland MLK Film Festival

Please join the African American Museum & Library at Oakland in honoring the life and legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. at the annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Film Festival. The museum will host a film screening of four films documenting African Americans’ struggle for civil rights: Black Americans Since MLK: And Still I Rise, The African American: Many Rivers to Cross, The Powerbroker: Whitney Young’s Fight for Civil RIghts, and The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution.
The film screening will begin in the museum gallery at 11:00 A.M. on Monday, January 16, 2017.
Nancy Taylor and the J&W team invite Skyline folks to attend the screenings beginning in mid-afternoon and then go to dinner at a restaurant nearby at 6:00.  Exact times to be determined as the day comes closer.  Contact Nancy Taylor (510-530-0814) ngtaylor94619@yahoo.com to RSVP or find out more!

“Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community?” MLK

Fifty years ago, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King preached one of his most prophetic sermons at Riverside Church in NYC (where I was ordained). The sermon is entitled, “Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community?”   Below is a summary of excerpt from this sermon where he focuses on the triple evils of poverty, racism, and militarism. 

It is a great question for our times, as next Friday, Jan 20th, we inaugurate Donald Trump as the next President of the United States. We live in a time when we cannot take democracy or our deepest moral convictions for granted. 

We have so much to learn from the wisdom of those who worked tirelessly in the black civil rights movement in this country and from leaders like Dr King, who in turn, derived his wisdom from the teachings of Gandhi and Jesus.  

This Sunday, join us as we come together widening the circle of community, to gain strength for the journey together.

Blessings, Pastor Laurie 

TRIPLE EVILS 

The Triple Evils of POVERTY, RACISM and MILITARISM are forms of violence that exist in a vicious cycle. They are interrelated, all-inclusive, and stand as barriers to our living in the Beloved Community. When we work to remedy one evil, we affect all evils. To work against the Triple Evils, you must develop a nonviolent frame of mind as described in the “Six Principles of Nonviolence” and use the Kingian model for social action outlined in the “Six Steps for Nonviolent Social Change.”

Some contemporary examples of the Triple Evils are listed next to each item:

Poverty – unemployment, homelessness, hunger, malnutrition, illiteracy, infant mortality, slums…

“There is nothing new about poverty. What is new, however, is that we now have the resources to get rid of it. The time has come for an all-out world war against poverty … The well off and the secure have too often become indifferent and oblivious to the poverty and deprivation in their midst. Ultimately a great nation is a compassionate nation. No individual or nation can be great if it does not have a concern for ‘the least of these.”

Racism – prejudice, apartheid, ethnic conflict, anti-Semitism, sexism, colonialism, homophobia, ageism, discrimination against disabled groups, stereotypes…

“Racism is a philosophy based on a contempt for life. It is the arrogant assertion that one race is the center of value and object of devotion, before which other races must kneel in submission. It is the absurd dogma that one race is responsible for all the progress of history and alone can assure the progress of the future. Racism is total estrangement. It separates not only bodies, but minds and spirits. Inevitably it descends to inflicting spiritual and physical homicide upon the out-group.”

Militarism – war, imperialism, domestic violence, rape, terrorism, human trafficking, media violence, drugs, child abuse, violent crime…

“A true revolution of values will lay hands on the world order and say of war- ‘This way of settling differences is not just.’ This way of burning human beings with napalm, of filling our nation’s homes with orphans and widows, of injecting poisonous drugs of hate into the veins of peoples normally humane, of sending men home from dark and bloody battlefields physically handicapped psychologically deranged, cannot be reconciled with wisdom, justice and love. A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.”

Source: “Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community?” by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.; Boston: Beacon Press, 1967.