Truth in Progress is a multi-media project dealing with issues of race, sexual orientation, gender identity, and religion. We take a special look at the similar yet different experiences and histories of the Civil Rights and LGBTQ Equality Movements in order to promote dialogue and action about racial and queer justice issues today. We began our journey in 2010 and are now completing our first film, From Selma to Stonewall: Are we there yet?
We began with the ongoing dialogue between the Rev. Gil Caldwell, an older black male heterosexual retired pastor, and Marilyn Bennett, a younger white lesbian author and activist. The had been in correspondence about issues of race, sexual orientation, faith, and justice for over fifteen years, having been arrested together in an act of civil disobedience in Cleveland, Ohio, in 2000. In the years following they began a frank, personal and often humorous exchange about their life experiences and how those experiences have shaped their individual perceptions on race, gender identity, sexual orientation, and religion. As they relayed their stories with one another, layers of history and beliefs were pulled back, revealing a process of give and take that continues to inform and form one another. This exchange became a “truth in progress,” a shaping and reshaping of perspectives. They now invite you into the conversation to share your stories and thoughts so that we can foster a broader truth in progress.
Marilyn Bennett – Author, activist, video biographer, non-profit consultant with a long career in social justice working with LGBTQ equality and the church. She was Executive Director of Reconciling Ministries Network (Chicago), a national organization working for sex and gender equality in the United Methodist Church. She has a Master of Divinity from SMU Perkins School of Theology where she later worked as the executive director of development, media and alumni relations. She is the co-author of We Were Baptized Too: Claiming God’s Grace for Lesbians and Gays, foreword by Archbishop Desmond Tutu. She currently produces video biographies for elders and people with cancer nationwide, and is a co-founder of Truth in Progress.
Gilbert Caldwell – Retired United Methodist minister, and a lifelong activist in the Civil Rights Movement from the 1964 Mississippi Freedom Summer to the Million-Man March of 1996. Gil is author of numerous books and blogs on social justice, including his latest collection, Something Within. Gil served several historic Black churches in the Northeast, including Union Methodist in Boston and St. Mark’s in Harlem. He also served as Associated General Secretary to the General Commission on Religion and Race in Washington, D.C., and as Executive Director of the Ministerial Interfaith Association of Harlem. Gil helped found several significant organizations on the forefront of erasing bigotry within the church, including the Black Methodists for Church Renewal, the National Conference of Black Churchmen, and United Methodists of Color for a Fully Inclusive Church, which works toward equality in ordaining Methodist ministers who are gay or lesbian. He is a national board member of PFLAG, and is a co-founder of Truth in Progress
International Advisory Panel
Lagenia Bailey, Doctor of neuropharmacology and Pranic Healing practitioner, Chicago, IL
Pat Clark, Program Officer, Fund for Nonviolence; Commissioner, Greensboro Truth and Reconciliation Commission; and Director Emeritus, Southern Poverty Law Center; Austin, TX
Ky Dickens, Filmmaker, Director for Conspiracy Production Studio, Queer Activist and Director of Fish Out of Water and Sole Survivor, Chicago, IL
Drew Emery, Producer & Director of Inlaws & OUTLAWS, and the True Stories Project, Seattle, WA
Arlene Groch, Civil Rights Trial Attorney, artist, community activist, Northfield, NJ
Jody Huckaby, Executive Director, PFLAG, Washington, D.C.
Christine Kaufmann, Montana State Senator, Helena, MT
Rev. Phil Lawson, United Methodist Clergy and veteran of the Peace and Justice movement, Hercules, CA
Karen McCrocklin, Author, filmmaker, and radio show host, Dallas, TX
Rev. Irene Monroe, Syndicated queer religion columnist, Boston, MA
Rev. Darlene Nipper, Deputy Executive Director, National LGBTQ Task Force, Washington, D.C.
Sung Won Park, Founding Director, Building Bridges, New York, NY
Bishop John Selders, Jr., Pastor, Amistad UCC; Associate Chaplain, Trinity College; Co-Convening Bishop, SCPE; and Bishop Presider, ICLCM, Hartford, CT
James Steele, Director of Student Success, Salish Kootenai College; Board Member and Lecturer, The Policy Institute; and former 1st Vice President of the Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians and former Chairman of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes, St. Ignatius, MT
Samuel Thoron, National President Emeritus, PFLAG, Board of Directors; Freedom to Marry, Inc.; and Board of Directors, Marriage Equality USA, Inc., San Francisco, CA
Rev. Canon Mpho A. Tutu van Furth, Executive Director, Desmond & Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation, Cape Town, South Africa
Rev. Rebecca Voelkel, writer; speaker; Director, Center for Sustainable Justice; former Faith Work Director, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force’s Institute for Welcoming Resources, Minneapolis, MN
Rev. Mel White, Co-founder of Soulforce, author and filmmaker, Laguna Beach, CA