Black Civil Rights and Faith Leaders Combat Divide & Conquer Strategies
Covenant Baptist Church (Main Sanctuary), 3845 South Capitol Street SW, Washington, D.C. 20032
- Pastor Joseph W. Tolton, The Fellowship of Affirming Ministries
- Sharon Lettman-Hicks, National Black Justice Coalition
- Rev. Candy Holmes, Metropolitan Community Churches
- Rev. Cedric Harmon, Many Voices
- Rev. Dennis Wiley, Covenant Baptist Church
- Pastors, clergy and community activists of Global Justice Institute, Unity Fellowship Church Movement and The Freedom Center for Social Justice.
President Barack Obama's recent affirmation of marriage for same-gender couples has sparked a nationwide dialogue. Black faith and community leaders feel the urgency to get in front of the dialogue and fight any conservative tactics to "divide and conquer." "The campaign will frame President Obama's personal position on marriage equality as a call to fairness and justice guided by his faith and political sensibilities," says Pastor Joseph W. Tolton of The Fellowship of Affirming Ministries.
The campaign will strategically focus on educating voters on the strategy of organizations such as the National Organization for Marriage (NOM), which has intentionally targeted African Americans in the interest of fracturing the progressive base on the single issue of marriage equality. Black voters are urged to remain engaged through the election and to be aware of these "wedge" tactics that are geared towards community members. Recently, NOM's ill tactics were publicized and brought to the fore by the Human Rights Campaign, who then partnered with GLAAD in the effort to elevate the national dialogue.
"We must not--we will not--let our differences divide and weaken us. Earning a living, providing for the people we love, and being safe in our communities are basic human needs and all of our priorities. So let us own our collective power and stand in solidarity. As my (s)hero and political pioneer Barbara Jordan once said, 'One thing is clear to me: we, as human beings, must be willing to accept people who are different from ourselves,'" states Sharon Lettman-Hicks, executive director of the National Black Justice Coalition.
The growing support of Black faith leaders, activists and public figures who also support President Obama's position on marriage equality continues to grow. After Obama's recent affirming announcement, Rev. Al Sharpton, Rev. Jesse Jackson, the NAACP, Will Smith and Jay-Z have all voiced their support. In an interview with CNN, Jay-Z referred to Obama's decision as "the right thing to do as a human being," he went on to say, "It's discrimination, plain and simple."
In a press release through the National Action Network, Rev. Sharpton delivers unwavering support: "I am prepared to fight, as I have since 2003 in the faith community, about the rightness of the position that the President has now taken."
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