Watch this space throughout the month of February for biographical summaries celebrating the lives and contributions of William Barber, Bryan Stevenson and Lisa Sharon Harper and other announcements and invitations to celebrate this month with Trinity.
“When day comes, we step out of the shade aflame and unafraid.
The new dawn blooms as we free it,
For there is always light if only we’re brave enough to see it,
If only we’re brave enough to be it.”
The Hill We Climb by Amanda Gorman 2021
(Last stanza of her presidential inaugural Poem.)
During these trying days of the pandemic and tremendous social unrest, the God’s Diversity Committee remains firmly committed to our celebration of God’s Diversity. We suggest several different ways to “step out of the shade” and shine the light on Black History Month. We will of course celebrate the lives of famous Black Americans who have made significant contributions to our nation. We are also asking our congregation to observe Black History Month in several different ways.
Nancy Matthews who has chaired our Racial Reconciliation group will offer her thoughts on the group’s work and her personal journey on racial reconciliation. There is always time to take the Dr. Eddie Moore 21 Day Racial Equity challenge if you have not already done so. Find it here, or visit Trinity’s Racial Reconciliation page for more resources.
Please put the WHYY program “The Black Church: This Is Our Story; This is Our Song” Part 1. on your schedule. This program, created by Dr. Henry Louis Gates, airs February 16 and 17 at 9:00 PM ET ( check local listings.).
We offer the following books which members of our committee have suggested:
- Tears We Cannot Stop by Michael Eric Dyson
- Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria by Beverly Daniel Tatum
- White Rage by Carol Anderson
- Caste by Isabel Wilkerson
- Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan Stevenson
- America’s Original Sin by Jim Wallis
- His Truth Is Marching On: John Lewis and the Power of Hope by Jon Meacham.
“For there is always light if only we are brave enough to see it”
Celebrating Rev. Dr. William Barber II:
The members of the God’s Diversity Committee invite you to join us in celebrating the Rev. Dr. William Barber II, Protestant minister and political activist. Born in Indianapolis in 1963, Rev. Barber was five years old when his father, a physics teacher, and his mother, an administrative assistant, moved to North Carolina to become part of the effort to desegregate the public schools. He graduated cum laude from North Carolina Central University with a degree in political science. He received a Master of Divinity degree from Duke University, where he was a Benjamin Mays Fellow and a Dean scholar. He also received a doctoral degree from Drew University with a concentration in Public Policy and Pastoral Care. Rev. Barber came to national attention for his “Moral Mondays” civil rights protests in Raleigh, North Carolina in 2013. The next year, he founded” Repairers of the Breach,” a non-profit to educate faith leaders to pursue social justice initiatives. He has also been active in voter registration drives and in numerous anti-racism and anti-poverty programs. At the Inauguration Prayer Service last month, Rev. Barber called on our new administration to repair the breach of economic struggle, racism, and national division, and reminded our nation that “Faith, wherever it develops into hope, causes not rest but unrest, not patience but impatience… Those who hope in God can no longer put up with reality as it is, … but must begin to contradict and repair the breach.”
Celebrating Bryan Stevenson:
The members of the God’s Diversity Committee wish to recognize the widely acclaimed public interest lawyer, law professor and author, Bryan Stevenson. Born in Milton, Delaware in 1959, and educated at Eastern University and Harvard Law School, Mr. Stevenson has dedicated his career to helping the poor, the incarcerated, and those condemned to death. As the founder and executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative, a human rights organization in Montgomery, Alabama, he has won major legal challenges, many before the United States Supreme Court, eliminating excessive and unfair sentencing, exonerating innocent death row prisoners, confronting abuse of the incarcerated and the mentally ill, and aiding children prosecuted as adults. Raised in a deeply religious family, Mr. Stevenson’s faith informs his legal work and his unrelenting demand for justice for the overlooked, the forgotten and, tragically, many accused who still do not receive a fair trial. He worked to create two cultural sites in Montgomery to accurately portray the history of African Americans. The first, the National Memorial for Peace and Justice, honors more than 4,000 African Americans lynched in the South between 1877 and 1950. The second, The Legacy Museum: From Enslavement to Mass Incarceration, endeavors to show the connection between the post-Reconstruction period of extrajudicial lynchings and the present high rate of executions and incarcerations of people of color. He is also author of a bestselling memoir, Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption which was made into a film in 2019.
Celebrating Lisa Sharon Harper
Lisa Sharon Harper is a speaker, writer and activist who is deeply grounded in scripture theology, history and truth. She was raised in a white evangelical church but the past 30 years have been spent in anti-racism training and the past 15 years as a faith community organizer. Ms Harper writes extensively on shalom and governance, immigration reform, health care reform, poverty, racial and gender justice, climate change and transformational civic engagement. She uses an active faith-rooted approach to advocacy. “…it is not enough to believe a particular set of principles or doctrines. Rather principles and doctrines must transform the way we live. Our faith is kinetic, lived out in the world through our hands and feet.” In 2017 Ms. Harper launched Freedom Road to consult, train, coach, develop forums, and design transformational pilgrimage experiences at the intersections of faith, race, gender, economic and environmental justice. Freedom Road works to shrink the narrative gap between the stories we tell ourselves and the truth. Each pilgrimage is at least one-half people of color. This gives everyone the opportunity to immerse themselves in the story of the other for a period of time and walk the land where things happened. There is then no longer a question of where or when. They know because they have had a resonance with the people; bodies have felt the pain. Only then can the people move forward together. Lisa Sharon Harper doesn’t believe we are beyond repair. The spirit of God is still willing to pour out on his people if the people are willing to do the hard, gritty work. She has hope because God is.