BLACK LIVES AND GAY LIVES MATTER: WE MUST ENGAGE IN JUSTICE MULTI-TASKING

My hope is that we who are gay rights advocates, gay and straight, will link arms with a host of others in confronting the economic and educational disparities between the black community and other communities. May historians be able to write that on the day that Baltimore erupted and on the next day when the Supreme Court moved toward affirming marriage equality for same sex couples, a coalition emerged that began to do what had not been done before, acknowledging and addressing the damage done to black slaves and the sons and daughters of black slaves by a nation that claimed to be rooted in democracy and justice.

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My last e-mail Invitation to the Jack Crum Conference

I expect those who gather at the Jack Crum Conference to understand that if we have the will, God will enable us to break free from the language and legislation that has enslaved us since 1972, and guide us, regardless of our differences in Biblical interpretation, theology, and Christology, to be in mission and ministry in response to the major justice challenge of the 21st Century: THE ECONOMY!

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A riff on being white

Kermit the frog said, "It's not easy being green." I, many years ago, reached the conclusion, "It's not easy being white," as well. I have my own measurement as I have assessed whether white persons are authentic in their commitment to racial justice. My measurement? Whether or not white persons are able to confront other white persons about their racially insensitive attitudes, and at times racist actions, toward those of us who are black.

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Gil to preach at Jack Crum Conference, April 18, Durham, NC

Billings GazetteJack Crum Conference on Prophetic Ministry – Love Your Neighbor

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Epworth United Methodist Church, Durham NC

The next Jack Crum Conference on Prophetic Ministry-Love Your Neighbor will take place at Epworth United Methodist Church in Durham NC-3002 Hope Valley Rd, Durham, NC 27707 . It is about welcoming our LGBTQ brothers and sisters into the full life and ministry of The United Methodist Church. It is from 9:00 am-3:30 pm. Advance registration is $25 and at the door $30 and for students $10. And that does include a light breakfast and lunch. Our keynote speaker will be Rev Frank Schaefer our preacher will be Rev Gil Caldwell. Also Jimmy Creech will be there leading a theological workshop with Reverend Caldwell.

 

Blacks In The UMC and The USA: "(We) are invisible understand, simply, because people refuse to see (us)” (Ralph Ellison/Invisible Man)

What do I suggest black folk and all folk do to begin again the unfinished journey to black justice? Recognize that, as is true of all justice struggles, “It takes the complete village to achieve justice". But it is foolhardy to expect folk who are not black to give more energy to the achievement of black justice than the energy we who are black expend. Therefore, black persons and majority black organizations are challenged to challenge ourselves as much or more than we challenge those who are not black.

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Stopping by Woods on a Snowy (Morning)

This morning I find myself fascinated that my critics are adamant about only one kind of faith-based "traditional marriage", but they accept, uncritically, the diversity that is present in the ecclesiological expressions of the Christian Church! The book of Acts and the Epistles address the beginnings of the Church and give hints of how and what the Church should be in form and function, but there is no agreed upon uniformity of Church ecclesiology. Thus for my critics, the Church can be un-uniform in its diversity of expressions, but marriage dare not be?

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The Burning of a captured Jordanian Pilot to Death in a Cage, and Black History

How should these pictures of a slice of Black History that some would deny, others would revise, and still others would respond to with amnesia, shape our response to the brutality of "Islamic State group militants?" In other pictures that I have, there are men in their white robes gathered around burning crosses. If they are not Christian terrorists, why should we be so certain about speaking/writing of "Islamic Terrorists?”

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Dr. Ben Carson, what role would you have played in SELMA?

Although I do not agree with Dr. Carson's views on marriage equality, nor with the ways he is being embraced by some conservatives, my greater concern is how Dr. Carson identifies with America's greatest protest movement, the Civil Rights Movement. Do those who embrace Dr. Ben Carson because of his conservatism on a host of issues do so as a way of separating him from a movement that was neither liberal or conservative — America's Civil Rights Movement? ...Dr. Ben Carson, Oprah Winfrey has given witness to her long support of black justice by playing the role of Annie Lee Cooper in SELMA. If given the opportunity, what role would you have played in the film?

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SELMA: Dare we dream?

Langston Hughes ends his poem by asking; "What happens to a dream deferred?........ does it like a raisin in the sun explode?" How do we, or do we, find ways to assess the emotional and spiritual toll that hiding in the closet of internalized racism and/or internalized heterosexism takes on the lives, humanity and well-being of those who are black, those who are gay and those who are both? Could the THERE of "From Selma to Stonewall: Are we there yet?" be that place that none of us or few of us have dared to go?

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Ky Dickens signs on as producer for "FROM SELMA TO STONEWALL!"

Ky Dickens on becoming the Producer for "From Selma to Stonewall: Are we there yet?", “I wanted to be a part of this because I like to work on projects that have the potential to advance social justice and understanding. Comparisons between oppressive movements are made quite often and there are a lot of questions that people need answered. I hope this film can do that!”

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Gil to speak during MLK Day Observance, Shenandoah University

The Rev. Gil Caldwell, an African-American clergyman who is a veteran of the Civil Rights Movement, and who was a friend of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., will address the university community at three separate events on Monday, Jan. 19, during Shenandoah’s observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Caldwell, a retired United Methodist Church minister, will show clips from footage for the documentary in post production “From Selma to Stonewall” at 11 a.m. in the Brandt Student Center, Room 123 (Borden Student Associations Center). A conversation will follow the screening. The screening and conversation are free and open to the public.

An MLK Day Q&A Lunch with Caldwell begins at noon in the Brandt Student Center Food Court, and is open to the Shenandoah University community.

At 5 p.m., Caldwell will serve as a guest speaker during a worship service in honor of Dr. King, to be held in Armstrong Concert Hall. The Martin Luther King Jr. Service of Remembrance is free and open to the public.

Shenandoah University students, faculty and staff will have the opportunity to meet Caldwell and discuss important issues and topics immediately following the worship service, with discussion over dinner to occur in Allen Dining Hall.

 

Reflections on the Ferguson decision re: Black Rights and Gay Rights

My wish is that LGBTQ persons, same sex married couples and gay rights organizations could "speak out" against the overt anti-black racism that was so evident in the no verdict decision of the Ferguson Grand Jury. The Prosecutor in his public announcement made Michael Brown the perpetrator and the one who shot him, the victim. Thus, the Jury decided what it did.

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SOME PEOPLE IN THE USA and THE UMC ARE STILL AFRAID OF BLACKS and GAYS

I long ago ceased engaging in debate about the differences between the discrimination/oppression of blacks and gay. There is no equivalence! I have written these words to call for a new and/or renewed coalition of Blacks and Gays and our ally/advocates as we confront the "isms" that empower some at the expense of others. The economic, educational, healthcare, business ownership, residential and other inequities that divide us, call for activist coalitions.

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Responding to Anti-black violence: Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God's children

We suggest that there are similarities in the police violence that took place in Selma, Alabama on what is known as "Bloody Sunday" and the police violence that took place at the Stonewall Inn in New York city on June 28, 1968. We from the very beginning of our project have made no suggestions of equivalence between the struggles for equality and justice by blacks and by gays. But, today as much of the nation is aware of anti-black violence perpetrated by police, we hope that awareness and memories of police violence at Stonewall, will contribute to deeper understandings of why, often in black communities, some police are viewed not as protectors against violence, but as perpetrators of it.

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"Everybody's got something": Robin Roberts and Truth in Progress' Marilyn & Gil

I wondered how, or if Robin Roberts would mention her girlfriend, Amber Laign in the interview with Tavis Smiley. She did it by mentioning how important it was for "her girlfriend Amber," family and friends to be "present" for her during her health journey. The ease with which Ms. Robert's spoke of her "girlfriend", spoke volumes as we are too slowly, in religion and society, affirming people to love whom they love. Marilyn and I are committed to doing what we can to rid the world of heterosexism, racism and prejudicial religion, so that all of us can speak easily and naturally about the ones we love, unhampered by the chains that racism, heterosexism and restrictive religion would impose on us.

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TONYA EASBEY, our filmmaker on creating change from behind the lens

I can only hope that opening this conversation on film will also open these doors to private struggles, and let them flow out to the streets where they are diluted with love and acceptance. Actually, I can do more than just hope. I can march forward with these civil rights soldiers with my own tools of battle. Camera. Speed. Action!

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JIMMY CREECH: Author, civil rights activist endorses our film!

Jimmy CreechJimmy Creech is a pioneer and leader in the fight for marriage equality and social justice. Ordained an elder in The United Methodist Church in 1970, he served as a pastor until 1999 when  a jury declared Creech guilty of “disobedience to the Order and Discipline of The United Methodist Church” and withdrew his credentials of ordination. Charges had been brought against him because he celebrated the holy union of two men in Chapel Hill, N.C.. He is co-founder of Faith in America and the author of Adam's Gift: A Memoir of a Pastor's Calling to Defy The Church's Persecution of Lesbians and Gays. Thank you, Jimmy, for your steady witness and work for justice for all persons!

 

Click HERE to support "From Selma to Stonewall: Are we there yet?"

Jazz Vocalist, Intersex Rights Advocate Eden Atwood joins film to bring soundtrack tunes!

Eden is not only a superb jazz vocalist, she also has a soul that crosses all boundaries, no matter what they are. Gil often talks about the improvisational nature of justice work, so Eden’s music is perfect as the soundtrack to our film.

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