WE HAVE SO MUCH GOOD NEWS TO SHARE! Thanks to YOU, Truth In Progress has hurdled over some huge milestones, which are propelling us into a host of opportunities, even before we’ve had a chance to do any significant promotions! Clearly, From Selma to Stonewall is relevant, timely, and exciting interest across the country. This is the moment we’ve been working toward.

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The unwillingness of United Methodism to affirm and encourage marriage equality, to publicly endorse the God-given love that same-gender couples share, will forever be a blight on the denomination. And, the charges against and trials of UM clergy who perform same-gender marriages like the Salem Witch Trials, will in time be viewed as unbelievable and unexplainable.

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Power Over Polarization

From Marilyn

Writing from the veranda of the Hotel Tides in Asbury Park, NJ –Gil’s fine city and the location of QFest NJ LGBT Film Festival. Spring is starting to pop out in blooming trees and daffodils, just as we are releasing our documentary of 6 years in the making!

We finished the final film in February and soon after given the opportunity to pitch the film to top industry funders at the Big Sky Documentary Film Festival; and then, on our first shot into the festival circuit, we were selected to screen at QFest NJ. The upshot is that “From Selma to Stonewall” premieres tomorrow afternoon at 4 pm at Qspot LGBT Community Center in Ocean Grove, NJ. We are honored that some members of the cast and crew as well as major funders are attending. Gil and I will do a Q&A afterwards.  Check out this news story in this week’s Asbury Park’s The Coaster.

There is still time to support the making of the film; we have $13,050 to go on our campaign to raise $50,000!!! EVERY gift counts. Would you please give $10-20 and ask your friends to join in. Our funding needs are real, and we can’t stress enough how important your gifts are. It is astounding how we have made this film happen, through gifts from individuals and the help of 5 loyal, generous foundations. This has been a phenomenal grassroots effort over 6 years. We (you and us) have done this together.

Funds will cover the cost of archival footage and photographs (the 35 seconds of AP newsreel of Bloody Sunday was $1,575  alone), our promotions director’s salary, the new website for the film, final color and sound work, and more. Be a part of this major endeavor and you will receive a download of the theme song written and composed by jazz diva Eden Atwood and performed by Eden and the amazing Todd Hunter!

Thank you so much for being a part of our journey with Truth in Progress. This is only the beginning of the film’s release! We’re awaiting word from other festivals, soon we will start planning regional screenings (soon but no dates set, we’ll wait to hear from festivals first), and in the not-too-distant future, we will have the film available to stream (date is not set). We will keep you posted with an occasional email. If you want daily or bi-weekly like us on facebook and/or twitter and you’ll receive updates more often. 

Please go HERE to see the first 3 minutes of the film and make your donation. We’ve received $1,900 in the last week AND the air miles so I could attend the premiere! People have stopped me at a local brewery tap room as well as in coffee shops to make cash donations. They know what this film can do –CREATE CHANGE, JOIN WITH THOSE MAKING CHANGE, BRING EVERYONE TO THE TABLE TO FIGHT THE POLARIZATION, AND OFFER CONNECTION RATHER THAN HATRED.





So Close! Will you help get us there?!

We are so close to completing our documentary film, From Selma to Stonewall - Are We There Yet? 

We are not there yet, But you can help us get there. 

We say, "Be part of the hope."

Hopelessness is diminished when we find a project that asks for our support and involvement.

Screenshot 2016-02-09 20.51.50.png

We say, "Be part of the Dialogue, conquers the silence of these moments. It is a way of conquering the awful loneliness of this time of verbal and physical violence.

We say, "Help us cross the finish line of this remarkable project."

I am amazed at the human diversity of those who participate in the New York City Marathon. I am more amazed at those who finish hours after most of the participants have finished. Theirs is a persevering persistence that is focused on crossing the finish line, no matter when or what.

Your support of our documentary From Selma to Stonewall - Are We There Yet?  will assist a film and a project that will trump a tendency to view justice as an isolated "silo" endeavor, challenging one form of injustice, without recognizing what

Martin Luther King meant when he said, "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere."

Thanks for your support!

Gil Caldwell and Marilyn Bennett

Co-Partners in Truth and Progress and, From Selma to Stonewall - Are We There Yet?

Co-Partners in Truth and Progress and, From Selma to Stonewall - Are We There Yet?



As of May 1st we have $12,964 to go!

Together we can raise the final $18,400!

The film couldn't be more timely, the characters more interesting, or the ramifications more crucial. Please give to help take this important film across the finish line. Share the campaign and movie teaser with your friends. Let's get hundreds of people involved. Each and every gift takes the film one step closer to being finished.

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"From Selma to Stonewall - Are We There Yet?"

I do not believe that most men, upon reflection, would want a negative depiction of men (as expressed in the slogan) to justify the rejection of an equal rights ordinance. "Men ofHouston", I do not believe you deserve the fear-mongering that used your gender to defeat an equal rights ordinance!

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A PERSPECTIVE...The Tamir Rice Tragedy & The Insight of Howard Thurman

From Gil Caldwell

"Reports from two outside experts who examined the use of deadly force in the case of Tamir Rice, a 12-year-old boy who was shot dead by a Cleveland police officer, concluded the shooting was ‘reasonable’” (ABC News).

From JESUS and THE DISINHERITED, by Howard Thurman*, 1949:

"The children of the disinherited live a restricted childhood. From their earliest moments they are conditioned so as to reduce their exposure to violence. In Felix Staten's BAMBI, the old stag counsels Bambi, giving to him in great detail a pattern of behavior that will reduce his chance of being shot without an opportunity for escape. He teaches him to distinguish human scent, the kinds of exposure that may be deadly, what precise kind of behavior is relatively safe. The stag is unwilling to leave Bambi until he is sure that the young deer has made his body commit to memory ways of behaving that will protect and safeguard his life."

How do we teach our children "to distinguish (the) human scent" that is present in a white policeman, or a black gang member, who devalues the life and humanity of black life, so that they shoot to kill black children and young people, in response to their own anger and their fear?

*Howard Thurman was Dean of Marsh Chapel when I was a student at Boston University School of Theology, 1955-58. I re-read the above Howard Thurman quote from For The Inward Journey: The Writings of Howard Thurman, selected by Anne Spencer Thurman with an Introduction by Vincent Harding. I had not looked at the book since the death of Vincent Harding. As I read these words written by Vincent when I opened the book, they evoked/provoked memory and tears as I remembered with deep fondness, Vincent Harding:

For my brother Gil -------------------- with great appreciation For our friendship And our common path Vincent 9/18/98   

Opening our Hearts... Awakening to Other

As many of you reading this probably feel saddened, sickened and outraged when we turn on the news to yet another tragic and senseless slaughter of black lives, we can only hope not to become numbed and completely apathetic. While it is absolutely maddening from Trayvon Martin to Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Walter Scott, Freddie Gray, Sandra Bland, Samuel Dubois, and the daily litany of abuses, I try to keep reminding myself to "stay awake” and to stay engaged in whatever ways I can.

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Words of Support for the Equality Act from an 81-year-old former CR Movement "Foot Soldier"

I, as one who attended the March on Washington, participated in Mississippi Freedom Summer, two phases of the Selma to Montgomery March, and the Poor People's Campaign, am very pleased with legislation that will protect the rights of LGBTQ persons. Martin Luther King once said about laws against lynching, "A law may not make a man love me, but it will discourage him from lynching me." My Christian faith compels me to link love to justice. I am saddened that some of my Christian colleagues do not understand that their opposition to legal justice for LGBTQ persons and same-gendered-loving couples contradicts their claim to "love the sinner, but hate the sin". Love that does not express itself in justice is not authentic love.

I, as an African American, am deeply disturbed that much of the faith-based resistance to LGBTQ persons is much like the faith-based racial segregation I experienced as I lived in North Carolina, Texas, and South Carolina. Sadly, as I observe religious bigotry expressing itself cloaked in religious freedom, I cannot help but respond by saying, "The more things change, the more they remain the same".

The Equality Act represents an understanding that both the nation and we who are people of faith affirm the God-given humanity of all people, regardless of who they are or who they love.

Gilbert H. Caldwell A retired United Methodist Minister Co-Participant in Truth in Progress, producers of the documentary film in process; "From Selma to Stonewall - Are We There Yet?" Asbury Park, NJ

An "Open Letter" to Pamela Chatterton-Purdy and Rev. David Purdy, Creators of  "Icons of the Civil Rights Movement", and the book about them

Dear Pam and David,

One of my quotes that you used in your one-page biographical sketch of me is this: "One of my goals for the rest of my life is to encourage and empower young people to find meaning in the Civil Rights Movement..." I write this letter to you because an additional goal of mine is to "Encourage, enable and empower white people to explore, discuss, and respond to the long-standing need for black people to have '...the right to secure and govern our own bodies."'

I have said with a twinkle in my eye, "It's not easy being white", as I have remembered Kermit the Frog's, "It's not easy being green". We who are black constantly look for white people who "get it"; who have been able to break free from the "chains of whiteness" with their privilege, power, supremacy, psychological, spiritual, historical, and cultural capacity to imprison white people. Pam and Dave, you broke free from those chains as you long ago lived your lives in white and black, and then created, "Icons of the Civil Rights Movement".

My Methodist Preacher father and I were named Gilbert Haven (1821-1880) in response to a white New England Methodist Episcopal preacher who was a bold proponent of racial justice, integration, and interracial marriage. Gilbert Haven became a Bishop, but held to his racial views as he served in that office. Pam and David, I know it has not been easy for you as white persons who openly affirmed your understanding of and commitment to that most significant of American justice movements: the Civil Rights Movement. You have met resistance, apathy, and misunderstanding from white persons as well as from some blacks, whofor a variety of reasons are less-than-positive about "Icons". But you have persevered, andI and many black and white persons applaud you for that.

I, at the age of 81, now understand that anti-black bias is deeply embedded in the DNA of the white experience and worldview, and that it is extremely difficult for white people to talk about anti-black racism with their fellow whites. This began to become more clear to me during the candidacy and presidency of Barack Obama and the residency of his family in the White House: The "satirical" cover picture of Barack and Michelle Obama on a "progressive" magazine during his first campaign, the need for expanded Secret Service coverage of President Obama and his family, the "just say no" of the Republican Party to the Obama agenda, the Tea Party emergence as an anti-Obama entity, and most recently, the display of  Confederate Battle Flags as President Obama arrived in Oklahoma (Will the first Jewish President be confronted with flags that have the Nazi swastika on them?).

And of course the killings of unarmed black men by the police, the "Charleston Massacre", and much more, precipitate this "Open Letter" to you, with the hope that you will share it in ways that might begin or accelerate conversations about anti-black bias among our white colleagues.

I have quoted Ta-Nehisi Coates from his book written to his son, "Between The World And Me", in the first paragraph of this letter. The full quotation, I believe, could be useful as whites begin to talk to whites as never before:

"...the belief in being white, was not achieved through wine tastings and ice-cream socials, but rather through the pillaging of life, liberty, labor, land; through the flaying of blacks; the chaining of limbs; the strangling of dissidents; the destruction of families; the rape of mothers; the sale of children; and various other acts meant, first and foremost, to deny you (his son) and methe right to secure and govern our own bodies."

The conversation among whites that many of us believe needs to take place might include a remembering of the lyrics of "Strange Fruit". But in 2015, USA should replace Southern:

"Southern trees bear strange fruit. Blood on the leaves and blood at the root. Black bodies swinging in the southern breeze. Strange fruit hanging from the poplar trees"

Your friend and colleague in the journey to racial justice, 

Gil Caldwell

Asbury Park, New Jersey

June 19, 2015, "JUNTEENTH"; The 150th anniversary of the arrival of the Emancipation Proclamation in Texas

Colleagues, I first heard of "Juneteenth" when we lived in Galveston, Texas, where my father, Rev. G. Haven Caldwell, was Pastor of Wesley Tabernacle Methodist Church. We lived in Galveston from 1948-50. I attended all-black Central High School in Galveston.

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Gil feature of profile by Religion News Service

RNS--CALDWELL-PROFILE bReligion News Service recently published an article on Gil's journey as a "foot soldier" for civil and LGBT rights. The article, written by Adelle M. Banks, offers details on his experiences in the Civil Rights Movement, as well as the "epiphany moment" that drove him to be an active part of the fight for LGBT rights.

He had to confront his own views on tolerance when Malcolm Boyd, an Episcopal priest and activist whose writings he had admired, came out as gay in 1977.

“Do you deny the impact he’s had on your life? Do you burn his books?” he asked himself. “How foolish that would be. And that, of course, was clearly an awakening for me.”

Check out the article here.


A Response to Three of the Baltimore Police Officers Charged in the death of Freddie Gray

It is now time for an understanding that “Black Lives Matter” be embraced, not only in Police Stations, but in the words that black gang members tattoo on their arms, that Supreme Court Justices place on their walls, Congress members include in their legislation, and Presidents have on their desks in the Oval Office.

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