Concerned about President Donald J. Trumps’ continued effort to roll back decades of gains, religious pastors of some of the Districts largest congregations have organized into a new coalition to grapple with national and local issues.
Concerned with the current path of the country, D.C. clergy, including Rev. Cheryl Sanders, Rev. Oran Young and Rev. Wallace Charles Smith met at Thurgood Marshall Center Jan. 16 to discuss a new path.
D.C. area preachers convened at Thurgood Marshall Center Jan. 16 to develop a new plan for 2018 to address both local and national issues.
The group is called Clergy for Community Wealth Preservation and on Feb. 10, the group will host a forum at the Shiloh Baptist Church, located in Northwest D.C., entitled “Gentrification and Social Justice: Stay, Grow or Change.”
“We are dealing with racist forces in this country that most of us have never dreamed of,” said Rev. Wallace Charles Smith, pastor of the Shiloh and president of the group. “The retrenchment and roll back of civil rights laws means that it’s time to roll up our sleeves. We African Americans have become too complacent.”
In April of 2011, former President Barack Obama visited Shiloh on Easter Sunday. Seven years later, at a time when things are very different, Smith said church leaders have to organize to prevent further attempts to role back the clock.
Rev. Oran Young, pastor of the First Rising Mt. Zion Baptist Church on Northwest D.C. said the Black community has to take some blame into what has happenedy.
“One of the reasons Hillary lost is because we as Blacks didn’t show up for the elections as when Obama was running,” Young said. “We need to show up to the polls. The major population centers control the state’s, but if we stay home we don’t control the states.” Almost 90 percent of Black voters supported Hilary Clinton while Donald Trump won 8 percent of the Black vote.
On the eve of the King Holiday, Trump was flanked by a handful of Blacks as he signed a proclamation. In addition to members of King’s family along with Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson, Bishop Harry Jackson, pastor of Hope Christian Church in Beltsville, Md. also attended.
Even though Trump was condemned by leaders from around the world for calling Africa and Haiti “shit holes,” and not as preferable for accepting immigrants as Norway, Jackson said he believes that he can work with Trump because “I don’t believe that he is a racist.”
In terms of agenda Jackson said: “I want to work with the President in terms of criminal justice reform.” On Monday he traveled to Atlanta, along with Carson for the King holiday program.