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Archive for the ‘PAD’ Category


People of African Descent, friends, and allies conference


2014 MCC Conference for People of African Descent, Friends, and Allies

15-17 MAY 2014





The theme for the 2014 PAD Conference is “Be the Change” reflecting MCC’s commitment to Transforming Ourselves as We Transform the World. There will be amazing programming, soul-stirring worship, and informing plenaries on a wide range of topics that will support churches, clergy, and other leaders in becoming even more diverse and inclusive.


As a part of Saturday’s second plenary, “Intersectional Justice: Why Should I Care,” the Rev. MacArthur H. Flournoy, Director for Faith Partnerships and Mobilization at the Human Rights Campaign, will offer an opening talk to help us understand the significance of connecting justice and faith, especially in relationship to our layered identities. The following dynamic speakers will also accompany him, share their inspirational journeys and perspectives about embodying/being the change, and explain why it’s important to invest our time and talents into the liberation of others.


RevCedricReverend Cedric A. Harmon has a BS in media management from Emerson College and has completed extensive graduate work at Wesley Seminary. Cedric’s deep faith calls him to do the work of justice and equality, and to equip others to do the same. He served as pastor of a “radically inclusive” congregation in Washington, DC and is currently Co-Director with Ann Thompson Cook of Many Voices – a new nonprofit creating a Black Church movement for gay and transgender justice.

KylarKylar W. Broadus is senior policy counsel and director of the Transgender Civil Rights Project, at the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force in Washington, D.C. He was a full professor of business law at Lincoln University, a historically Black college where he previously served as chair of the business department. In 2010, Kylar was appointed to serve as Division Director within the Section on Individual Rights and Responsibilities of the American Bar Association and continues to serve in that capacity, as well as Co-Chair for the Commission on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity.

RevDrJoanThe Reverend Dr. Joan M. Martin, William W. Rankin Associate Professor of Christian Social Ethics at Episcopal Divinity School, has been a member of the faculty since the academic year 1993, and began teaching in 1994.  In addition to her teaching and committee responsibilities, she serves as the coordinator of the Doctor of Ministry degree program, and advisor to the institutional anti-racism and anti-oppression, “Change Team II.” Presently, Martin is a member of the Womanist Group in Church and Society Steering Committee of the American Academy of Religion, and also serves in the Wabash Consultants Program.  Martin is an ordained Presbyterian minister (PCUSA).

RevDeWayneRev. DeWayne L. Davis is the Senior Pastor of All God’s Children Metropolitan Community Church in Minneapolis, MN. He currently serves on the MCC Moderator’s Public Policy Team and was a participant in MCC’s inaugural class of the Leadership Mentoring Retreat. He holds a B.A. in Economics and Philosophy from Howard University and an M.A. in Government and Politics from the University of Maryland at College Park.  DeWayne received his Master of Divinity degree with honors from the Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, D.C.



During the conference there will be an amazing pop topic at each lunch gathering on Friday and Saturday. We will not only have an opportunity to break bread together, but will also hear about some of the inspiring work going on in our communities! The speakers will share briefly on the following topics and then attendees will have time to ask a few questions. And, of course, there will be plenty of time to eat and reconnect with friends and loved ones.



RevRolandStringfellowFriday, May 16th – We are excited to have our very own Rev. Roland Stringfellow, Pastor of MCC Detroit, join us to talk about the internally transformative work of the Umoja Project, an effort designed to facilitate safe, non-threatening dialogue about the diversity of human sexuality and the tension that sometimes exists within African-American faith communities in relation to LGBT individuals, as well as the curriculum that any church and organization can participate in.

Rev.Dr.JenniferSLeathSaturday, May 17th — We welcome the Rev. Dr. Jennifer S. Leath to the PAD conference for the first time as she brings to us her talk, “No Place Like Home”?: The Formation, Vision & Mission of The Center on African American Religion, Sexual Politics & Social Justice (CARSS). CARSS is a new project of Columbia University that seeks to facilitate dialogue with African American religious and thought leaders who are committed to sexuality and gender justice.

Worship Preachers

Find out more information about our worship preachers.

 News to know

Conference Hotel Rate Deadline


Attending the 2014 PAD Conference? Deadline for the conference rate at the beautiful DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Atlanta North Druid Hills – Emory Area is swiftly approaching. Reserve your room TODAY! Your credit card will not be charged until you arrive at the hotel.

DEADLINE for Conference rate is APRIL 22, 2014.



The PAD Conference is increasing access to restrooms for all people attending conference. Mindful of the challenges that facilities labeled “Men” or “Women” pose to many, the conference staff and host church devised a plan for more gender inclusive bathrooms facilities.

Each bathroom will be labeled with either one of three signs: “Everyone”, “Women” or “Men”. We hope that this will meet the needs of all individuals. We seek to offer a conference in which all members of the community may choose the restroom that best matches their gender identity and expression.

If you have questions or concerns, please contact Rev. Vickey Gibbs at


Do you want to attend the PAD Conference, but need a roommate? Let someone know. The PAD conference is providing a connection space where those who want roommates can find someone. Click here and see you in Atlanta!

View the schedule to see all of the excellent programming in store for you.



Do you have time to volunteer during the 2014 People of African Descent, Allies, and Friends Conference?  We are looking for people with kind hearts and generous spirits to volunteer their time. Volunteer opportunities include (but are not limited to): conference registration, worship (usher, greeter, acolyte), workshops, audio visuals, hospitality, VIP Buddies, and so much more.

To find out more about all of the volunteer opportunities:


Looking for: Musicians, Dancers, and Singers/Choir Members


 Can I Get An Amen!

For many attendees the PAD Conference has made a difference in their lives, for their families, and and for their churches. We thought hearing some of their testimonies would inspire you. In this edition, we get an “Amen!” from Goldie Brown, Resurrection MCC, Houston, Texas. In her testimony she shares how enriched she has been attending the PAD Conference. For more testimonies, click here.

From Goldie—

Attending and joining an MCC church gave me a safe place to worship. Our worship services are very diverse allowing the members to see glimpses of their faith somewhere during service. Another entity where I see glimpses of my culture is from the services and activities during the PAD conferences. Both give me a sense of belonging. During PAD, a connection is made, friendships developed and networking conducted. PAD is a time to present our unique challenges and exchange of ideas and or solutions. I look forward to seeing those I have met from previous conferences. I get to put faces with names. When I travel, I look up those names. I also learn about the unique challenges that our allies face and help find solutions through listening and education. PAD is a much smaller (although attendance grows with each one) collection of people who are more like me than not. I bring back what I’ve learned and share them with my church. I get excited about connecting with those in my church who look like me and those who don’t. The bridge fades and is replaced with like minds and hearts. Plus I get to sightsee a new city!

Register to join us for this powerful and inspiring event.

Be a Pillar to help someone attend the conference.

Volunteer to help make a difference at the conference.

Become an Exhibitor or Sponsor to promote your business, movement, or ministry.

If you have any questions, please contact Rev. Candy Holmes, PAD Conference Planning Chair for more information.

ThankyouHRClogomany voicesmccedsMCCAustinFMCC

Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.1964


Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.1964


1 Jan

This is a draft of the article “A Look to 1964” written by Dr. King. Published on January 1, 1964 in the New York Amsterdam News. In the article, Dr. King addresses the strides the African American people have taken towards the struggle for equality.

18 Jan – King meets with President Lyndon Johnson

King meets with President Lyndon Johnson

Image: US World and News Report

23 Jan – Ratification of 24th Amendment 

Photo Courtesy of Associated Press

Twenty-Fourth Amendment

The Twenty-fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution reads:

Section 1. The right of citizens of the United States to vote in any primary or other election for President or Vice President, for electors for President or Vice President, or for Senator or Representative in Congress, shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any State by reason of failure to pay any poll tax or other tax.

Section 2. The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

The Twenty-fourth Amendment was proposed on August 27, 1962, and ratified on January 23, 1964. It prohibits the federal government or the states from making voters pay a poll tax before they can vote in a national election. A poll tax, also called a head tax, is a tax collected equally from all voters. The amendment was proposed as a Civil Rights measure because southern states had used the poll tax to keep African Americans from voting.

poll taxes were commonly imposed in the United States at the time the Constitution was adopted but had fallen into disuse by the mid-nineteenth century. After the ratification of the Fifteenth Amendment in 1870, the poll tax was revived in the South as a way to prevent African Americans, who were mostly poor, from voting. The poll tax also denied poor whites the right to vote. Typically, the unpaid fees would accumulate from election to election, making it more difficult for poor persons to find the economic resources to qualify for voting.

In Breedlove v. Suttles, 302 U.S. 277, 58 S. Ct. 205, 82 L. Ed. 252 (1937), the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that poll taxes, by themselves, did not violate the Fourteenth or Fifteenth Amendments. Breedlove led to the introduction of the first poll tax constitutional amendment in 1939 and to efforts to abolish the poll tax through State Action. By 1960 only five southern states still had poll taxes.

The abolition of the poll tax was not a controversial issue, even at a time of fierce southern resistance to racial desegregation. The amendment was limited to federal elections, however, leaving state elections outside its scope. Following the ratification of the Twenty-fourth Amendment, the Supreme Court abandoned the Breedlove precedent. In Harper v. Virginia State Board of Elections, 383 U.S. 663, 86 S. Ct. 1079, 16 L. Ed. 2d 169 (1966), the Court struck down poll taxes in state and local elections, ruling that such taxes violated the Fourteenth Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause.

(picture of  Louis Allen) Photo: Southern Poverty Law Center31 Jan – Louis Allen is shot to death near McComb, Mississippi

Louis Allen, witness to the September 25, 1961 killing of Mississippi voting rights proponent Herbert Lee, is shot to death near McComb, Mississippi. Allen had been attempting to provide new evidence about Lee’s murderers.

The killing of Mr. Allen has never been solved.


3 Feb – NYC school boycott

In one of the largest demonstrations of the Civil Rights movement, hundreds of thousands of parents, students and civil rights advocates took part in a citywide boycott of the New York City public school system to demonstrate their support for the full integration of the city’s public schools and an end to de facto segregation. The idea for a boycott began in the early 1960s, when Milton Galamison, a Presbyterian minister and former president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People’s (NAACP) Brooklyn branch, brought parents, teachers, and local civil rights activists together in a coalition called the Parents’ Workshop for Equality in New York City Schools. The organization’s sole objective was to render the racial imbalance of African American and Puerto Rican schools by persuading the New York City Board of Education to implement integration timetables. After years of unsuccessful lobbying, the Parents’ Workshop for Equality decided to take direct action against the school board and called upon Bayard Rustin to organize a one-day protest and boycott of the city’s public school system. With the boycott set for February 3, 1964, Rustin worked with local Civil Rights organizations to plan the boycott, as well as local ministers who established freedom schools for participating students to attend. Response from the African American and Puerto Rican communities was overwhelming as more than 450,000 students refused to attend their respective schools on the day of the boycott. In addition, thousands of demonstrators staged peaceful rallies at the Board of Education, City Hall and the Manhattan office of Governor Nelson Rockefeller. Despite enjoying broad support, the boycott failed to force the city’s school board to undertake immediate reform.


Photo by Larry Spitzer

5 Mar – Martin Luther King leads 10,000 in support of Kentucky state public accommodations law

The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. was joined by other legends of the American civil-rights movement in the march on Frankfort, Ky., on March 5, 1964.

The event helped solidify support for Kentucky’s 1966 enactment of a civil-rights law.

The Kentucky Commission on Human Rights and kindred civil-rights organizations have announced plans for a commemorative march in Frankfort on March 5 to mark the 50th anniversary of the first demonstration.

The commemorative march and an accompanying rally will be from 10 a.m. to around noon on that date. Assembly is planned at Second Street and Capital Avenue at 9:30 a.m. to line up to proceed to the State Capitol.

Participation is open to anyone “who is proud of Kentucky’s historic role in helping to end segregation by becoming the first state south of the Mason-Dixon Line to have a state Civil Rights Act,” said John Johnson, the state Human Rights Commission’s executive director.

The historic March 5, 1964, march on Frankfort drew more than 10,000 people who walked to the Capitol to urge passage of a law that would help end segregation by making discrimination illegal in the areas of public accommodations such as stores, restaurants, theatres, and hotels.

Civil rights leaders, citizens of all races, and celebrities participated. In addition to King, marchers included the Rev. Ralph Abernathy and baseball great Jackie Robinson, who broke the major league baseball color barrier. The folk group Peter, Paul and Mary led songs about freedom in front of the Capitol.

Johnson said the event next March is also intended to promote such contemporary justice-related issues as working to end poverty and restoring voter rights to former felons after their release.

The Kentucky General Assembly will be in session in March, Johnson noted.

18 Mar – Martin Luther King Jr.’s Amazing 1964 Interview With Robert Penn Warren

Six months after the March on Washington, he discussed the obligations of “the Negro” in an integrated society, non-violence, and having eggs thrown at him in Harlem.

On March 18, 1964, Pulitzer Prize winning poet and novelist Robert Penn Warren sat down with Martin Luther King Jr. in King’s offices in Atlanta to interview him for what would become Warren’s 1965 book Who Speaks for the Negro? Warren, a Kentuckian who in the 1940s had been one of America’s first poet laureates (then called the consultant in poetry to the Library of Congress), was going around the country interviewing civil-rights leaders and grassroots organizers, such as King, Malcolm X, Bayard Rustin, and Ralph Ellison. The tapes remained in Warren’s archives, and were scattered between universities for decades until a young scholar in 2006 sparked a conversation that led, six years later, to a unified collection of the tapes and other research materials for the Warren book at one university, in a digitized format that made them easily accessible online for the first time.

24 Mar – Southern Christian Leadership Conference campaign in St. Augustine, Fla.

In the spring of 1964, as St. Augustine, Florida, prepared to celebrate its 400th anniversary, Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) launched a massive campaign supporting the small local movement to end racial discrimination in the nation’s oldest city. King hoped that demonstrations there would lead to local desegregation and that media attention would garner national support for the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which was then stalled in a congressional filibuster.

Organized demonstrations reached St. Augustine in the summer of 1963, when Robert B. Hayling, a local dentist and advisor to the Youth Council of the city’s branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), led pickets and sit-ins against segregated businesses. The Ku Klux Klan and other whites responded with violence against demonstrators, which escalated through the fall of 1963, when Hayling and three other NAACP members were severely beaten at a Klan rally, then arrested and convicted of assaulting their attackers. In December 1963, after a grand jury blamed the racial crisis on Hayling and other activists, the NAACP asked for Hayling’s resignation. St. Augustine activists then turned to SCLC for support.  Read more


23 Mar – Violence erupts in Jacksonville after a black woman is shot and killed

26 Mar – King meets Malcolm X

After press conference at U.S. Senate, King briefly meets Malcolm X for the first and only time. King says of the encounter, “He (Malcolm X) is very articulate, but I totally disagree with many of his political and philosophical views–at least insofar as I understand where he now stands.”


20 Apr – 20 – Black students in Cleveland boycott school in protest


On April 20, 1964, an estimated 60,000 black children stayed away from district schools in a boycott organized by a group of ministers and civil rights activists known as the United Freedom Movement. That represented about 85 percent of black students in a district that then had more than 150,000 students overall.

Between 35,000 and 45,000 boycotting students — roughly the size of the entire district today — attended special schools set up by the UFM that day in churches, homes and community centers. They received lessons on the achievements of black people in government and the arts and lessons on the importance of education, all taught by volunteer housewives, social workers and former teachers from other districts.

“A loud voice representing hundreds of thousands of Cleveland citizens today shouted, ‘Segregated schools in Cleveland must go,'” UFM coordinator Harold Williams told The Plain Dealer at the end of that day.

The UFM’s most immediate complaint may strike many as odd today: the district’s plan to build new schools in black neighborhoods. But the group viewed that as a way to keep schools segregated.

The district ran neighborhood schools, so segregated neighborhoods had segregated schools. In some cases, black students at overcrowded schools were bused to other neighborhoods. That drew complaints and led to voters approving a school construction program in 1962.

The UFM protested construction of the new schools since that would prevent busing and integration, according to Plain Dealer accounts.

Two weeks before the boycott, the Rev. Bruce Klunder, a Presbyterian minister, had been killed when he tried to block a bulldozer with his body at a school construction site in Glenville.

Because of these and other protests, the school board agreed to bus black students to promote integration, according to the Encyclopedia of Cleveland History. But the disputes over busing and integration led to federal court oversight of the district, which did not end until the 1990s.

Eddie Adams, “photo of CORE protesters inside World's Fair,”, accessed January 7, 2014

22 Apr – CORE members demonstrate at the NY World’s Fair

Read more here

By the spring of 1964, movements in New York City against racial discrimination had reached a fevered pitch. Minimal advancements from previous campaigns led activists to abandon non-violent direct action protests that had sought to fight racism from within the city’s liberal reform institutions. With its plan for a traffic stopping “stall-in” on the opening day of the 1964 World’s Fair, Brooklyn’s chapter of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) initiated a new approach in its fight against racism: instead of working within the municipal system to negotiate change in power structures, it would force biased labor unions, the segregated education system, and an indifferent government administration to meet its demands immediately, or it would disrupt the entire city. Protests from the summer of 1963 illustrate the activists’ frustrations with token advancements.



Photo Credit Library of Congress

25 Mar – The U.S. Supreme Court finds the closing of Prince Edward public schools to be unconstitutional


26 May – King appeals for outside assistance in St. Augustine, Florida

“No movement characterized Florida’s political and social life in the 1960s as much as did civil rights for the state’s long-neglected and much-abused African-American population,” writes Michael Gannon in Florida: A Short History. Emboldened by various legal successes against segregation in the preceding years, such as the Tallahassee bus boycott of 1956 and the desegregation of Dade County schools in 1959 and 1960, the state’s African-American citizens became more aggressive in pursuing equality and integration in all aspects of life. This irresistible force for change collided with the immovable traditions of Jim Crow during 1963 in St. Augustine, as the city was preparing for its 400th anniversary of settlement. The “Ancient City” soon found itself in the national spotlight as outsiders from both camps, as well as members of the national media, descended on this quaint and peaceful town of 20,000.

Read more


1 Jun – Mississippi Freedom Summer Launch

In 1964, civil rights organizations including the Congress on Racial Equality (CORE) and Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) organized a voter registration drive, known as the Mississippi Summer Project, or Freedom Summer, aimed at dramatically increasing voter registration in Mississippi. The Freedom Summer, comprised of black Mississippi’s and more than 1,000 out-of-state, predominately white volunteers, faced constant abuse and harassment from Mississippi’s white population. The Ku Klux Klan, police and even state and local authorities carried out a systematic series of violent attacks; including arson, beatings, false arrest and the murder of at least three civil rights activists.

image Credit Amazon

5 Jun – King’s book Why Can’t We Wait is published   Dorothy Cotton authors the introduction to the text. Cotton, who worked closely with King, was the Education Director for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) and explains being present when King decided to proceed with a protest that would land him in prison. Cotton notes, “Martin’s decision to go to jail was a crucial turning point for the civil rights struggle.” Yet, as King himself explains, the decision to be incarcerated allowed him to demonstrate his belief in the importance of freedom and justice. Cotton explains how Freedom Songs bolstered the hope of her and other supporters, and concludes with the assertion that the messages from Why We Can’t Wait are relevant and as urgent today as they were in Birmingham in 1963. 

MLK Arrested11 – King is arrested for demanding service at a white-only restaurant

Legendary civil rights activist Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. spent a night in the jail on a trespassing charge after he and others were arrested after they attempted to eat in the Monson Restaurant on June 11, 1964. The arrest was reported in The St. Augustine Record and is included in the state legislative committee’s investigative report, “Racial & Civil Disorders in St. Augustine,” February 1965. King was one of many civil rights protestors and demonstrators who were arrested and held in the county jail in 1963 and 1964, according to a commemorative plaque placed outside the old jail.



Credit Tigerdroppings

18 Jun – Martin Luther King and Ralph Abernathy arrested for protesting segregation at Monson Motor Lodge

Rev. Ralph Abernathy from And the Walls Came Tumbling Down:

….Hosea Williams hit on the perfect plan, one that would help us beat the heat and challenge segregation at the same time: We would integrate the motel swimming pools.

“But how will we do that?” I asked. ” As soon as we walk down the street with our bathing suits on, the
police will surround us and keep us from getting near a pool.”

“It’s easy,” said Hosea. “I’ve already got it worked out. A couple of our white friends will register at the
Monson Motor Lodge. Then, we’ll go by their rooms, one or two at a time. We’ll change into bathing suits there and then step out the door and walk over to the pool. It’s just a few steps. Before they know we’re there, we’ll be paddling around the pool.”

Image of 3 missing Photo Credit FBI/AP

21 Jun – Three civil rights workers are reported missing in Mississippi

On June 21, 1964, three civil rights workers—two white students from the north and one black local—disappeared shortly after being arrested in Philadelphia, Miss. The three had been killed by two local policemen and a group of Klansmen who objected to their campaign to register black voters.

Read more


25 Jun – Hundreds of whites attack anti-segregation march in St. Augustine

28 Jun – Malcolm X speech at founding rally of the Organization of Afro-American Unity
Malcolm X’s life changed dramatically in the first six months of 1964.  On March 8, he left the Nation of Islam.  In May he toured West Africa and made a pilgrimage to Mecca, returning as El Hajj Malik El-Shabazz.  While in Ghana in May, he decided to form the Organization of Afro-American Unity (OAAU).  Malcolm returned to New York the following month to create the OAAU and on June 28 gave his first public address on behalf of the new organization at the Audubon Ballroom in the Washington Heights section of Manhattan.  The text of that address appears here.

30 Jun –

Image: George Conklin

Dr. King spoke at a civil rights rally at the San Francisco Cow Palace for the Northern California Council of Churches.


2 Jul – King & Johnson

Photo credit

Passage of Civil Rights Act of 1964

The Civil Rights Act of 1964 is the nation’s benchmark civil rights legislation, and it continues to resonate in America.  The Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex or national origin.  Passage of the Act ended the application of “Jim Crow” laws, which had been upheld by the Supreme Court in the 1896 case Plessy v. Ferguson, in which the Court held that racial segregation purported to be “separate but equal” was constitutional.  The Civil Rights Act was eventually expanded by Congress to strengthen enforcement of these fundamental civil rights.

Read more


21 Jul – King arrives in Mississippi to assist civil rights effort

Dr. King explains “a sizable number of Negro voters” will register for the 1964 presidential election, recognizing the significance of political participation.

7 Jul

Photo: Jim Bourdier, STF



4 AUG – The bodies of three missing civil rights workers are found in Mississippi

The bodies of three civil rights workers missing for six weeks have been found buried in a partially constructed dam near Philadelphia, Mississippi.

Agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation found the three young men – two white and one black man – about six miles from the town in a wooded area near where they were last seen on the night of 21 June.

They were Michael Schwerner, aged 24, Andrew Goodman, 20, both from New York and James Chaney, 22, from Meridian, Mississippi. All were members of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) dedicated to non-violent direct action against racial discrimination.

Read more

20 Aug – President Johnson signs the Economic Opportunity Act

President Lyndon B Johnson wrote:

My fellow Americans:

On this occasion the American people and our American system are making history.

For so long as man has lived on this earth poverty has been his curse.

On every continent in every age men have sought escape from poverty’s oppression.

Today for the first time in all the history of the human race, a great nation is able to make and is willing to make a commitment to eradicate poverty among its people.

Whatever our situation in life, whatever our partisan affiliation, we can be grateful and proud that we are able to pledge ourselves this morning to this historic course. We can be especially proud of the nature of the commitments that we are making.

This is not in any sense a cynical proposal to exploit the poor with a promise of a handout or a dole.

We know–we learned long ago–that answer is no answer.

The measure before me this morning for signature offers the answer that its title implies–the answer of opportunity. For the purpose of the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964 is to offer opportunity, not an opiate.

Read complete text

22 Aug – King testifies at Democratic convention on behalf of Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party

Dr. King addresses the Democratic National Committee urging them to stand up against the inequities that prevent Negro participation in the political process in the state of Mississippi.

24-27 Aug – 1964 Democratic National Convention

BrownVEducationAfter the Supreme Court struck down legal segregation in schools with the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education decision, the fight for equal access in other arenas intensified. In Montgomery, Alabama, African Americans boycotted segregated buses; people filed suit to desegregate schools. Civil rights activists organized “Freedom Rides” to challenge Southern states’ authority to mandate segregation on interstate travel. As the experiences of Freedom Riders revealed the entrenchment of segregation, volunteers traveled to the South to help register African Americans to vote. In 1964, African Americans in Mississippi who had been denied the right to vote formed their own political party, the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party. Members traveled to New Jersey to attend the Democratic National Convention, and one of their delegates, Fannie Lou Hamer, spoke at the convention.
Hear Fannie Lou Hamer


8 Sep – Public schools in Prince Edward County, Virginia, reopen

On May 17, 1954, the U. S. Supreme Court held in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, 347 U.S. 483 (1954), that segregated public schools was unconstitutional. Prior to the Court’s decision, African American students in Virginia and across the South were educated in a dual school system, one Black and one white, in abysmal school conditions. The curricula, textbooks, equipment, and school buildings were substandard. African American schools were without gymnasiums, restrooms, cafeterias, lockers, or auditoriums with fixed seating, and students were issued textbooks that were in utter disrepair and discarded by white schools.

In an act of defiance to the landmark Supreme Court decision, Virginia, followed by other Southern states, enacted numerous laws designed to deliberately nullify, obfuscate and delay the ruling and to minimize desegregation wherever it occurred. Virginia embarked upon a public policy of “Massive Resistance” to public school desegregation, which earned the Commonwealth the dubious distinction of depriving thousands of African Americans and white students of an education. In fact, all levels of government demonstrated intense resistance to compliance with the Brown decision and Virginia exhausted every possible means to avoid desegregation. The resistance lasted 10 years. Public schools were first closed in Warren County, and then in Charlottesville, Norfolk, and Prince Edward County. In Arlington, state public education funds were rescinded because the county’s public schools did not remain segregated. When public schools were eventually re-opened in some areas of the Commonwealth, African American students, and there were very few, attending white schools were harassed, threatened, isolated, humiliated, and treated with contempt.

In Prince Edward County, public schools remained closed for five years until the Supreme Court ordered the re-opening of the county’s public schools in 1964. The General Assembly responded to the 1964 U. S. Supreme Court decision in Griffin v. School Board of Prince Edward County by repealing the laws it had enacted to protect segregated schools and by dismantling the legislative architecture of Massive Resistance.

13 Sep

In September 1964, at the invitation of Willy Brandt (then West Berlin’s mayor, later West German chancellor) 35-year-old Martin Luther King, Jr. traveled to West Berlin to speak at a ceremony commemorating the assassinated US president John F. Kennedy who had visited West Germany in 1963.

PHOTO © Hyde FlippoDuring his brief visit to East Berlin in 1964, Martin Luther King, Jr. gave a sermon here in the Protestant St. Marienkirche. PHOTO © Hyde Flippo

Early in the morning of September 13, the day after King’s arrival at Tempelhof Airport, East German border guards had shot and wounded 21-year-old Michael Meyer as he was trying to escape from East Berlin. He swam across the Spree River along the Berlin Wall but found he was still in East Berlin. After being struck by several bullets, Meyer was rescued by an American soldier who heroically managed somehow to pull him over the Wall to safety. When King learned of the incident, he hurried to the Kreuzberg district to witness the scene of the rescue himself.

PHOTO: Landesarchiv Berlin

PHOTO: Landesarchiv Berlin

The Wall was then only three years old. (In September 2010, a memorial plaque was placed at the site of the Berlin Wall shooting on Stallschreiber Straße to commemorate Dr. King’s visit there in 1964.)


9 Oct – Klan member agrees to testify in the murder of Shwerner, Chaney, and Goodman

The man who once headed the nation’s most violent Ku Klux Klan organization admitted he thwarted justice in the 1964 killings of three civil rights workers and said he didn’t mind going to prison because a fellow Klansman got away with murder.

“I was quite delighted to be convicted and have the main instigator of the entire affair walk out of the courtroom a free man,” Sam Bowers, former imperial wizard of the White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, said in a secret taped interview he gave more than a decade ago to state archives officials. “Everybody – including the trial judge and the prosecutors and everybody else – knows that that happened. This hurts the imperial authority when they have to stoop to conquer, and I think that I did make them stoop to conquer.”

Bowers’ interview, contained on three tapes about an hour each, sheds new light on the Klan’s killings of civil rights workers Michael Schwerner, Andrew Goodman and James Chaney in 1964 near Philadelphia.


13 Nov – KING at Duke University

Dr. King addresses the issues of poverty, unemployment, education, health, and housing disparities within the nation. Granted, many strides have been made but there is still more work to be done. Equality has still not come full circle in regards to these social issues. Dr. King urges the people to continue the fight of social justice in all aspects of inequality.


King’s 1964 speech at Duke (Audio)

PHOTO: Landesarchiv Berlin14 Nov – KING Wins Nobel Peace Prize

African American civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., is awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his nonviolent resistance to racial prejudice in America. At 35 years of age, the Georgia-born minister was the youngest person ever to receive the award.

Martin Luther King, Jr., was born in Atlanta in 1929, the son of a Baptist minister. He received a doctorate degree in theology and in 1955 organized the first major protest of the civil rights movement: the successful Montgomery Bus Boycott. Influenced by Mohandas Gandhi, he advocated nonviolent civil disobedience to racial segregation. The peaceful protests he led throughout the American South were often met with violence, but King and his followers persisted, and their nonviolent movement gained momentum.

15 Nov “Discerning the Signs of History”

Atlanta, GA

Dr. King believes that there are lessons in understanding the process of history, that evil carries the seed of destruction and that militarism is ultimately suicidal. Dr. King states that “history teaches the lesson that all reality hinges on moral foundations.”


10 Dec – King’s Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech

Martin Luther King Jr. receives the Nobel Peace Prize. Image credit: Bettmann/Corbis

After receiving award: Photo Credit STF×471.jpg Photo Credit STF

On December 17, 1964, Dr. Martin Luther King was honored by the people of New York for his unparalleled contributions to the civil rights movement in a City Hall ceremony presentation of the Medallion of Honor.

Just six days earlier, Dr. King had stood before an audience at the University of Oslo and become the youngest recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize. King ultimately donated the prize money of over $54,000 to various civil rights organizations, including the Unity Council and Southern Christian Leadership Conference and established a non-violence education fund.

11 Dec – The Quest for Peace and Justice

Nobel Lecture

It is impossible to begin this lecture without again expressing my deep appreciation to the Nobel Committee of the Norwegian Parliament for bestowing upon me and the civil rights movement in the United States such a great honor. Occasionally in life there are those moments of unutterable fulfillment which cannot be completely explained by those symbols called words. Their meaning can only be articulated by the inaudible language of the heart. Such is the moment I am presently experiencing. I experience this high and joyous moment not for myself alone but for those devotees of nonviolence who have moved so courageously against the ramparts of racial injustice and who in the process have acquired a new estimate of their own human worth. Many of them are young and cultured. Others are middle aged and middle class. The majority are poor and untutored. But they are all united in the quiet conviction that it is better to suffer in dignity than to accept segregation in humiliation. These are the real heroes of the freedom struggle: they are the noble people for whom I accept the Nobel Peace Prize.



Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

1964:  50 Years Ago

I Still Believe

A Litany based on the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King’s 1964 Nobel Price for Peace Acceptance Speech.

One: I refuse to accept despair as the final response to the ambiguities of history.

All: I believe that there is still hope for a brighter tomorrow.

One: I refuse to accept the idea that the “is-ness” of humanity’s present nature makes us morally incapable of reaching up for the eternal “ought-ness” that forever confronts us.

All: I believe that what the self-centered have torn down the other-centered can build up.

One: I refuse to accept the idea that we are mere flotsam and jetsam in the river of life, unable to influence the unfolding events which surround us.

All: I have the audacity to believe that peoples everywhere can have three meals a day for their bodies, education and culture for their minds, and dignity, equality and freedom for their spirits.

One: I refuse to accept the view that humanity is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of isms that the bright daybreak of peace and equality can never become a reality.

All: I still believe that one day we will bow before the altars of God and be crowned triumphant over hate, and nonviolent redemptive good will proclaim the rule of the land.

One: I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality.

All: I believe that wounded justice can reign supreme.

One: This is why right temporarily defeated is stronger than evil triumphant.

All: I still believe that We Shall overcome!

One: And with this faith, we can face the uncertainties of the future.

All: May it give our tired feet new strength as we continue our forward stride toward the city of freedom,  equality and justice , where  the lion and the lamb shall lie down together and every one shall sit under their own vine and fig tree and none shall be afraid.”.

The King Center

Embracing Dr. King’s philosophy and strategy of nonviolence to eliminate poverty, racism and violence, The King Center is determined to have a positive impact on the continuing struggle to fulfill his great dream for America and the world. The King Center’s mission is designed to meet this challenge.

King Day Observances

King Holiday Observance – 2014 will be held from

Friday, January 10, 2014 – Monday, January 20, 2014

To view PDF versions of the events pamphlet click here


Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service

January 20, 2014 will mark the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. federal holiday. This milestone is a perfect opportunity for Americans to honor Dr. King’s legacy through service. The MLK Day of Service empowers individuals, strengthens communities, bridges barriers, creates solutions to social problems, and moves us closer to Dr. King’s vision of a beloved community.


MLK Drum Majors for Service are the helping hands who perform extraordinary everyday acts of service with reliability and commitment, but who seldom receive recognition. The MLK Drum Major for Service recognition is an opportunity to acknowledge that work and share stories of those leaders in your community. Learn more.



There are many ways to get involved on MLK Day. Below, you can use the All for Good search widget to find an opportunity near you. We’ve also included a photo gallery of images from previous MLK Day projects, an inspiring video, and links to our social media channels where you can engage with others before, during, and after MLK Day.



Everybody Can Serve A Call to Worship


One: Jesus gave us a new norm of greatness.

If you want to be important, wonderful.

If you want to be recognized, wonderful.

If you want to be great, wonderful.

But recognize that the One who is greatest among you, shall be your servant.


All: Amen


One: That’s a new definition of greatness.

The thing that I like about it: by giving that definition of greatness, it means that everybody can be great.


All: Everybody.


One: Because everybody can serve.


All: Amen!


One:  You don’t have to have a college degree to serve.


All: All right.


One:  You don’t have to make your subject and your verb agree to serve.

You don’t have to know about Plato and Aristotle to serve.

You don’t have to know Einstein’s theory of relativity to serve.

You don’t have to know the second theory of thermodynamics in physics to serve.


All: Amen.


One:You only need a heart full of grace.


All: Yes, and Amen


One: A soul generated by love.


All: Yes.

One: And you can be that servant.


All: Amen and amen.

(Litany from the Ordination Service of Vickey Gibbs as adapted from Dr. King’s The Drum Major Instinct)




A UCC Litany


The ultimate measure of humankind, according to Martin Luther King Jr., is not where we stand in moments of comfort and convenience, but where we stand in times of challenge and controversy.

O God, we pray, give us courage to be counted among those who will work for justice.


In 1963, in his challenging letter to complacent white clergy in the South, Dr. King wrote, “We will have to repent in this generation not merely for the vitriolic words and actions of the bad people, but for the appalling silence of the good people. In the end,” he said, “we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”

O God, we pray, transform our stillness into action, our fear into courage.


Inspired by the nonviolent teachings of Jesus, Thoreau, and Gandhi, King taught that nonviolence is a powerful and just weapon because it “cuts without wounding and ennobles the one who wields it. Nonviolence is a sword that heals.”

O God, we pray, heal this nation through the work of our hands.


In 1964, in accepting the Nobel Peace Prize, he said that “unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality.  Right, temporarily defeated, is stronger than evil triumphant.”

O God, we pray, may we always trust in the strength of your goodness.


In 1967, King wrote that, in the wealthiest nation in the world, the solution to poverty is simply this: “We must abolish it!”

O God, we pray, rearrange the priorities of peoples and nations so that all will receive in equal measure.


And on the day before his death, Dr. King described his ministry succinctly:  “I just want to do God’s will.”

O God, we pray, raise up prophets among us who will lead us in your ways.

Adapted by Rev. Vickey Gibbs, Office of Emerging Ministries

Heri za Kwanzaa 2013


26 December 2013 – 01 January 2014

Heri za Kwanzaa

Umoja, Kujichagulia, Ujima, Ujamaa, Nia, Kuumba and Imani

Habari gani (What’s the good news)?

USA - Holidays - Kwanza Founder Dr. Maulana Karenga

Dr. Maulana Karenga

Photo by Aristide Economopoulos/The Star-Ledger

Kwanzaa was founded in 1966 by Dr. Maulana Karenga, who was a leading theorist of The Black Movement in the 1960s. His writing credits are quite extensive and have appeared in many journals and anthologies. Kwanzaa’s birth stems from a cultural idea and an expression of the U.S. organization which Dr. Karenga headed. This new way of exploring self has blossomed into the only internationally celebrated, native, non-religious, non-heroic, non-political African-American holiday.

The name Kwanzaa is a Kiswahili word for “the first fruits of the harvest”. Kiswahili was chosen because it is a non-tribal African language which encompasses a large portion of the African continent. As an added benefit, its pronunciation is rather easy. Vowels are pronounced as they would be in Spanish, and consonants, with few exceptions, as they are in English. For example: A=ah as in father; E=a as in day; I=ee as in free;O=oo as in too. One last note, the accent or stress is almost always on the next to last syllable.

This holiday is observed from 26 December through 1 January. Its focus is to pay tribute to the rich cultural roots of People of the African Diaspora. Though first inspired by African- Americans, many of African descent celebrate this occasion today. Its reach has grown to include all whose roots are in the Motherland. Its concept is neither religious nor political but is rooted strongly in a cultural awareness. This is not a substitute for Christmas; however, gifts may be exchanged with the principles of Nguzo Saba always in mind. Gifts are given to reinforce personal growth and achievement, which benefits the collective community.

The principles, Nguzo Saba, are:

Umoja (unity) U-MO-JA

Kujicahgulia (self determination) KU-JI-CHA-GU-LIA

Ujima (collective work and responsibility) U-JI-MA

Ujamaa (cooperative economics) U-JA-MA

Nia (purpose) NIA

Kuumba (creativity) KU-UM-BA

Imani (faith) I-MANI

We hope that you will pass someone this year and wish them a Harambee Kwanzaa. May the principles guide you year round.

The Symbols of Kwanzaa

Kwanzaa has seven basic symbols and two supplemental ones. Each represents values and concepts reflective of African culture and contributive to community building and reinforcement.


(The Crops)

mazao-source_epj[1]These are symbolic of African harvest celebrations and of the rewards of productive and collective labor.


(The Mat)

mat2[1]This is symbolic of our tradition and history and therefore, the foundation on which we build.


(The Candle Holder)

kinaraThis is symbolic of our roots, our parent people — continental Africans.


(The Corn)

kwanzaacorn[1]This is symbolic of our children and our future which they embody.

Mishumaa Saba

(The Seven Candles)

M-210m[1]These are symbolic of the Nguzo Saba, the Seven Principles, the matrix and minimum set of values which African people are urged to live by in order to rescue and reconstruct their lives in their own image and according to their own needs.

Kikombe cha Umoja

(The Unity Cup)

fruitwood-cup[1]This is symbolic of the foundational principle and practice of unity which makes all else possible..


(The Gifts)

IMG_5178_1[1]These are symbolic of the labor and love of parents and the commitments made and kept by the children. The two supplemental symbols are:


(The Flag)

8633065[1]The colors of the Kwanzaa flag are the colors of the Organization Us, black, red and green; black for the people, red for their struggle, and green for the future and hope that comes from their struggle. It is based on the colors given by the Hon. Marcus Garvey as national colors for African people throughout the world.

Some Sample Orders of Ceremony 

Official Kwanzaa Website

National Council of Churches (PDF)

Unitarian Universalist


Official Kwanzaa Website

Kwanzaa Resources for Educators

African American Lectionary

S.H.A.P.E. Community Center

On Pouring Libation and Offering Prayer


kwanzaa2[1]Umoja – Unity

26 December

The principle of Umoja (unity) speaks to our need to develop and sustain a sense of oneness, righteous and rightful togetherness in the small and large circles and significant relations of our lives, from family and friendship, to community and the cosmos. It urges us to practice a principled and peaceful togetherness rooted in mutual respect, justice, care and concern, security of person, and equitably shared goods. And it calls on us to stand in solidarity with the oppressed, suffering and struggling peoples of the world in the cooperative achievement of these goods.

8AAC1F4636994960B320EBCE2A8085BAKujichagulia – Self-Determination

27 December

The principle of Kujichagulia (Self-Determination) instructs us to assert ourselves in self-defining and dignity-affirming ways in the world, as well as to create the miracles, monuments and meaningful relationships and achievements we want in our lives. And it reaffirms our right and responsibility to live liberating and liberated lives, to value and dialog constantly with our own culture, to retrieve and bring forth the best of what it means to be African and human, and to speak this unique and equally valid and valuable truth to the world. And it upholds the right of all peoples in the world to demand and do likewise.

UJIMA[1]Ujima – Collective Work & Responsibility

28 December

The principle of Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility) teaches us that we must build the good and sustainable communities, societies and world we all want, and that we deserve to live in and leave to those after us. As Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune taught us, that “We must remake the world. The task is nothing less than that.” This means engaging and solving the major problems of the world, including poverty, famine and food insecurity, housing, environmental degradation, economic security, HIV/AIDS and other health issues, education, racism, sexism, corporate plunder, war, occupation, crime and the criminal injustice system.

Ujamaa poster RGBUjamaa – Cooperative Economics

29 December

Ujamaa reaffirms the ethics of the harvest, shared work and shared wealth. Thus, it is opposed to inequitable distribution of wealth, as well as resource monopoly and plunder by the rich and powerful. And it teaches us to privilege the poor and vulnerable and to uphold the right of all peoples to live lives of freedom, dignity, well-being and ongoing development. Ujamaa also urges us to give rightful recognition and support to the small farmers and farm workers of the world for the vital role they play in feeding and sustaining people and the planet, especially in the context of the globalization of agriculture and its destructive effects on the lives and lands of the people.

nia-cover3[1]Nia – Purpose

30 December

The principle of Nia (Purpose) teaches us to embrace and respond creatively to the collective vocation of restoring to our people the position and possibilities of great achievements through doing good in the world. For the sacred teaching of our ancestors in the Husia say that “the wise are known by their wisdom, and the great are k nown by their good deeds.” And in the Odu Ifa, they tell us that we “humans are divinely chosen to bring good in the world,” and this is the fundamental mission and meaning in human life.

Kuumba-principal[1]Kuumba – Creativity

31 December

The principle of Kuumba (Creativity) teaches us the moral obligation “to do always as much as we can in the way we can in order to leave our community more beautiful and beneficial than we inherited it.” Thus, we must practice serudj ta, constantly repair and remake the world, a Maatian concept with ethical and aesthetic, as well as natural and social implications, and which expansively means to repair the damaged, raise up the ruined, replenish the depleted, rejoin the severed, strengthen the weakened, set right the wrong, and make flourish the fragile and undeveloped.

faith1[1]Imani – Faith

01 January

Finally, the principle of Imani (Faith) teaches and urges us to hold fast to the faith of our ancestors. It reassures us that through cooperative work and struggle, the famine and food insecurity in Somalia, the Horn of Africa, and the rest of the world, can be ended; that the human-caused catastrophe of Katrina will not occur again; that the fields and forests of Haiti will blossom, grow abundant grain and fruit again; and that every other plundered, polluted and depleted place will do likewise. And it is a faith that assures us we can truly transform ourselves and the world, and ensure clean air, pure water, safe and nutritious food for everyone, and a free, just, secure, dignity affirming and flourishing life and future for all the world.



kwanzaa-7-P[1]01 January

The Day of Meditation

The last day of Kwanzaa is the first day of the new year, 1 January. Historically, this has been for African people a time of sober assessment of things done and things to do, of self-reflection and reflection on the life and future of the people, and of recommitment to their highest cultural values in a special way.   Following in this tradition, it is for us, then, a time to ask and answer soberly and humbly the three Kawaida questions:

Who am I?

Am I really who I say I am?

Am I all I ought to be? 

And it is, of necessity, a time to recommit ourselves to our highest ideals, in a word, to the best of what it means to be both African and human in the fullest sense.  Read more here

The Odu Ifa Meditation Let us not engage the world hurriedly.

Let us not grasp at the rope of wealth impatiently.

That which should be treated with mature judgment,

let us not deal with in a state of anger.

When we arrive at a cool place,

let us rest fully;

Let us give continuous attention to the future;

and let us give deep consideration to the consequences of things.

And this because of our (eventual) passing.

K’a má fi kánjú j’aiyé.

K’a má fi wàrà-wàrà n’okùn orò

Ohun à bâ if s’àgbà,

K’a má if se’binu.

Bi a bá de’bi t’o tútù,

K’a simi-simi,

K’a wò’wajú ojo lo titi;

K’a tun bò wá r’èhìn oràn wo;

Nitori àti sùn ara eni ni.


(The Libation Statement)

Our fathers and mothers came here, lived, loved, struggled and built here.
At this place, their love and labor rose like the sun and gave strength and meaning to the day.
For them, then, who gave so much, we give in return.
On this same soil, we will sow our seeds, and liberation, and a higher level of human life.
May our eyes be the eagle,
our strength be the elephant,
and the boldness of our life be like the lion.
And may we remember and honor our ancestors and the legacy they left for as long as the sun shines and the waters flow.

For our people everywhere then:
For Shaka, Samory, and Nzingha and all the others known and unknown who defended our ancestral land, history and humanity from alien invaders;

For Garvey, Muhammad, Malcolm, and King; Harriet, Fannie Lou, Sojourner, Bethune, and Nat Turner and all the others who dared to define, defend, and develop our interests as a people;

For our children and the fuller and freer lives they will live because we struggled;

For Kawaida and the Nguzo Saba, the new system of views and values which gives identity, purpose, and direction to our lives;

For the new world we struggle to build;

And for the continuing struggle through which we will inevitably rescue and reconstruct our history and humanity in our own image and according to our own needs.

– Dr. Maulana Karenga

Coordinators: Gemma Burns & Elisa Vega-Burns

Coordinators: Gemma Burns & Elisa Vega-Burns

(From Resurrection MCC, Houston Texas, USA)

(The Libation Statement)
(The Calling of Names of Family Ancestors)
Procession of the Nguzo Saba Presenters

(The Seven Principles of Kwanzaa)

UMOJA (Unity)

KUJICHAGULIA (Self-determination)

UJIMA (Collective Work and Responsibility)

UJAMAA (Cooperative Economics)

NIA (Purpose)

KUUMBA (Creativity)

IMANI (Faith)

ANTHEM – Left Ev’ry Voice and Sing

(A Celebration With Food Usually Follows)



We are excited to be able to offer several payment options for the MCC Conference for People of African Descent, Our Friends and Allies Registration. Early registration pricing is lower; we encourage participants to reduce their total conference costs by taking advantage of the early registration options.



Remembering the Seven Principles of Kwanzaa

by Vickie M Oliver-Lawson

First fruits is what the name Kwanzaa means

It’s celebrated everywhere by kings and queens

Based on seven principles that still exist

If you check out this rhyme, you’ll get the gist

Umoja, a Swahili name for unity

Is the goal we strive for across this country

Kujichagulia means self-determination

We define ourselves, a strong creation.

Ujima or collective work and responsibility

Is how we build and maintain our own community

For if my people have a problem, then so do I

So let’s work through it together with our heads held high.

Ujamaa meaning cooperative economics is nothing new

We support and run our own stores and other businesses, too.

Nia is purpose, us developing our potential

As we build our community strong to the nth exponential;

Kuumba is the creative force which lies within our call

As we leave our community much better for all;

As a people, let’s move forward by extending our hand

For Imani is the faith to believe that we can;

These seven principles help to make our nation strong

If you live to these ideals, you can’t go wrong

But you must first determine your own mentality

And believe in yourself as you want you to be

And no matter how far, work hard to reach your goal

As we stand, as a people, heads up, fearless and bold.

Emergence: the Official PAD Conference Newsletter

2011 MCC People of African Descent, Our Friends and Allies


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The MCC Conference for People of African Descent (PAD) & Our Friends and Allies will be held in Washington, DC, from May 19-21, 2011.  We are writing to ask you to join us in supporting this critically important opportunity for the people of our churches and communities.

Through these gatherings people from all over the U.S., Canada, South Africa, and England have participated in workshops, worship, and tremendous opportunities for education and networking.  Each conference has been dedicated to achieving our mission:

To provide a groundbreaking ministry experience for People of African Descent, their families and their allies within MCC that inspires all who are involved to continue their individual and shared journeys toward creating a truly inclusive spiritual community committed to social justice for all.

Peoples of African descent, our families, friends, allies, and loved ones are ALL welcome to attend the Conference!  If a person is descended from the indigenous peoples of Africa, he/she is a Person of African Descent.  It does not matter if that person was born, lived, or grew up in the U.S., the Caribbean, Latin America, Europe, the Asian-Pacific or Africa. In addition, a person’s connection to the PAD community might be as a lover, a parent, or a child. It might be as a co-worker, a friend, or someone interested in striving with us to build the “beloved community.” Everyone is welcome to attend. Our hope is that all who attend the Conference do so because they love, respect and want to join us on our journey toward reconciliation, liberation, and joy!

Rev. Elder Nancy Wilson, Moderator of MCC, says:

“Attending this conference is important to me because People of African Descent in MCC are important to me and to the future of our Fellowship.  The gifts and ministry of People of African Descent need to be celebrated, uplifted, and increased!

Over the years, these conferences have been a source of inspiration, hope, mentoring and building relationships. It has been a time of learning about the issues of race and inclusion as they affect our churches, our Fellowship, our lives. All people can benefit from this learning, and this time together.”

This is the 7th MCC PAD Conference to be held since it was established in 1998. We are so excited about the plans for 2011!  Our theme is

“Loving Ourselves into Liberation”

which reflects our commitment to continue our rise from victimhood to victory and to lift others as we climb. To inform and empower us to reach higher heights, workshops and keynote speakers will focus on physical, political, and spiritual health and wholeness.

Our gathering in Washington DC will offer worship, fellowship, and a wide variety of workshops.  Topics to be covered include:

·        Responding to racism and homophobia

·        Justice ministry and spirituality

·        Clergy and lay leadership development

·        Healthy sexuality

·        Relationships with the Church

·        Issues concerning the GLBT communities

·        Personal health and wholeness

·        Spiritual development

Those who participate in the 2011 PAD Conference will have many exciting opportunities to get to know each other, celebrate one another, and find support for their dreams.  They will return to their churches and communities with tools and information they need to help  create more welcoming and nurturing spaces for people of color all over the world.

What can your church do?

  • Promote the PAD Conference through your church or organizational announcements and newsletter.
  • Sponsor the participation of people of African descent and allies from your church or organization
  • Contribute to the Pillar fund.
  • Place an ad in the program book.
  • Sponsor a conference event.

On the sidebar of this notice are links to materials/forms that we hope you will use to promote the conference in your church or organization.

Thank you so much for all you will do to support the 2011 PAD Conference.  It is churches /organizations like yours that can help make this event a life-changing opportunity for people of African descent, our families, and our allies.  We would be happy to answer any questions you have and to tell you more about how this Conference has made such a difference in the lives of so many and the ministry of MCC…

Peace and blessings,

Rev. Elder Darlene Garner, Conference Convener

Rev. Candy Holmes, Conference Chair

It takes a Village – MCC PAD News

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The MCC PAD Conference
Gathers Our Village

As we pause today to remember our PAD sisters and brothers whom we have lost to HIV/AIDS, I ask you to recommit to being a part of the solution towards eradicating new infections and educating all who are at risk in the PAD Community. Attend the 2011 MCC PAD Conference and learn how to advocate and educate. I share below the words of LaMont Montee Evans of National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day 2011


It takes a village to fight HIV/AIDS!

Greetings Black AIDS Day Family:

Today is that day, where we can make the biggest difference in the lives of Black People everywhere. It’s National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day and now is the time for us to get educated about HIV/AIDS in our local communities; get tested and know our status; get involved in leadership roles within our locales to be a part of the decision making for resources and information disseminated to our people; and lastly – get treated for those newly testing HIV+ or those who have not accessed treatment services or information.

We have come through a long and painful past, some of it tried to damage the core of who and what we are as Black People, yet we made it. We have come to a point in history where we have gained a tremendous amount of wealth, power and access than ever before. We have more technology than ever before, yet there’s one thing missing here in the United States.

Human friendliness.

We have to pause today and let this be the first day of a long journey where we invoke the act that Black Life matters. Nobody is disposable. It is going to take the entire village of Black People in the Diaspora to help turn this epidemic around.

Think about what we have been through, 300+ years of slavery, the largest Black Holocaust and yet we are still here. We are the people who refuse to die. Don’t think not thinking about HIV; not looking at someone who you know has it; or not talking about it will make it go away.

Join us in the fight and let us join hands, hearts and minds and carry the message of prevention, care and treatment safely to future generations to come.


Get Educated: Knowing all the facts about HIV/AIDS will help eliminate the stigma associated with the disease, which is a source of the resistance many Black people have about getting tested and treated. To end this epidemic, we need everyone to be educated with the facts about HIV/AIDS. You can start by downloading a copy of “HIV & Me: An African-American Guide to Living with HIV”
Get Tested: When you know better, you do better. One in four people living with HIV don’t know that they are infected. Knowing your status is another important step in ending this epidemic. Today, there are thousands of sites offering free HIV testing. CLICK HERE to find one in your community.

Get Treated: With the recent advances in HIV medicine, treatment options are allowing many HIV positive people to live a normal life span. If you are positive, please stay informed about treatment options and work with your healthcare providers to find the treatment that works best for you. A great resource for information on living a healthy life with HIV is

Get Involved: Today, there are several community events happening around the country that will allow you to make an impact. Visit to get involved.

2011 MCC PAD Conference

May 19-21, 2011
Washington, DC

Emergence – PAD Conference News – January 2011

Metropolitan Community Churches

Tearing Down Walls.  Building Up Hope.

Rev. Elder Darlene Garner

As Convener of the 2011 MCC People of African Descent, Our Friends and Allies, I would like to invite you to join us in Washington, DC. (May 19-21, 2011) for what will be an inspiring and landmark MCC event. Since 1998, the work of the MCC PAD Conference has been to create a space for fellowship, justice making dialog, and bridge building. While being firmly rooted in the African-American cultural experience, the MCC PAD Conference is for everyone, regardless of race, ethnicity, or nationality.

The 2011 MCC PAD Conference theme LOVING OURSELVES INTO LIBERATION reflects our commitment to continue our rise from victimhood to victory and to lift others as we climb. To inform and empower us to reach higher heights, workshops and keynote speakers will focus on physical, political, and spiritual health and wholeness. Worship will inspire us to celebrate the fullness of who we are and to embrace the fullness of who God has liberated us to be.

Rev. Candy HolmesThe Chair of the 2011 MCC PAD Conference is Rev. Candy Holmes. The Planning Committee includes conference hosts representing MCC and The Fellowship congregations in the Washington, DC area and volunteers from across the United States. The Human Rights Campaign is also working with us to offer you the largest and most powerful PAD Conference experience to date.

By special arrangement between MCC and HRC, clergy and religious leaders who register for both the MCC Conference for People of African Descent, Our Friends and Allies and HRC Clergy Call can apply for a special HRC scholarship to cover 3 nights of lodging at either the Fairmont Washington or another hotel (nights of Saturday through Monday, 21 – 23 May).

For more information, go to the HRC website and submit the online scholarship application form. Scholarships are not guaranteed. Please apply early.

If you would like to volunteer or to receive more information about the 2011 MCC Conference for People of African Descent, Our Friends and Allies, please contact Rev. Candy Holmes at or visit our website at

You will not want to miss the 2011 MCC PAD Conference. Register now by Clicking Here!

Click here to read what Rev. Elder Nancy Wilson, MCC Moderator, has to say about this year’s PAD Conference!

Click here to read the letter of support for this year’s PAD Conference from the Human Rights Campaign!

HRC Clergy Call for Justice and Equality

May 22 – 24, 2011 Washington, DC

A Faithful Movement for LGBT Justice

It’s time to register for Clergy Call 2011! We call on all clergy and faith community leaders to support justice and equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people.  Join us in Washington, DC from May 22 – 24, 2011 to have your voice heard by Congress on critical issues affecting the LGBT community.

For more information, go to

Special Offer:

By special arrangement between MCC and HRC, clergy and religious leaders who register for both the MCC Conference for People of African Descent, Our Friends and Allies and HRC Clergy Call can apply for a special HRC scholarship to cover 3 nights of lodging at either the Fairmont Washington or another hotel (nights of Saturday through Monday, 21 – 23 May). For more information, go to the HRC website above and submit the online scholarship application form. Scholarships are not guaranteed. Please apply early.

Looking For Travel Tips?


Click here to find out all you need to know about getting to the PAD Conference.

Registration is Now Open for the 2011 MCC Conference for People of African Descent, Our Friends and Allies

Loving Ourselves Into Liberation

Register Today for this life changing event!

19 – 22 May 2011 in Washington, DC

There is Plenty of Good Room for You!

The Fairmont Hotel - Washington, DC

We are pleased to announce that the Fairmont Hotel, Washington, D.C. is the host hotel for the 2011 PAD Conference.  This beautiful facility is located in Washington’s West End and adjacent to historic Georgetown. The Fairmont Washington, D.C. hotel is pleased to welcome us in true capital style.  Click here to make your room reservation today!

Join Fairmont’s President’s Club for PERKS

Fairmont Hotels & Resorts exclusive guest recognition program, Fairmont President’s Club, offers special benefits and privileges designed to reflect your individual travel preferences and offer an enhanced level of service.

Membership in Fairmont’s loyalty program is complimentary and your Fairmont President’s Club experience begins the moment you arrive at any of their properties with express check-in at the private reception desk and continues during your stay with complimentary high-speed Internet access, free local calls, complimentary health club access, complimentary use of TaylorMade golf clubs, use of Fairmont Fit and so much more. Click here to enroll.

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Get Involved & Volunteer!


We are looking for volunteers to help with this year’s PAD Conference. If you are interested in volunteering, click here to complete the PAD Conference Volunteer Form.

Our Team!


Click here to learn about the team working hard to offer the best PAD Conference experience possible!

Interested in Becoming a Vendor at the PAD Conference?


Click here to download the PAD Conference vendor form.

Become a Pillar of the 2011 MCC Conference for People of African Descent, Our Friends and Allies

How Do I Become a PAD Conference Pillar?

That’s easy! Click here to email the Pillar Coordinator your name, the name of your church or organization, the city, state and country where you are located, a contact telephone number and your web address.  The Coordinator will then let you know the easiest way for you to make your tax-deductible donation.

What’s In It For Me?

More than you can imagine!

·         We will send you a link to our downloadable marketing/press kit which is filled with posters, postcards, bulletin inserts, links to register and learn more about the conference events to share with your congregations and constituencies along with electronic images that you can easily add to your newsletters, websites and email signature blocks.

·         Your name will be added to the online listing of 2011 PAD Conference Pillars with a clickable link back to your church or organization’s webpage (Free Advertising).

·         During the conference events, we will take time to speak aloud the names and acknowledge all of our Pillars by sharing gratitude for your support and offer prayers to support you and the work that you are doing right where you are.

This conference brings together amazing speakers and workshops that encourage and inspire. It is as an important foundation giving hope to people of all colors who are ready to move forward into a new way of being, working, and changing the world together. Through the active support of our Pillars, we will be able to do what’s necessary to continue “Loving Ourselves Into Liberation”.  To do this, we need you and your help. Please take this opportunity to become a 2011 PAD Conference Pillar.  Click here to sign up TODAY!

Help Spread the Word!

Use the following printable poster graphics to help spread the word about the 2011 PAD Conference!  Click the image to open the original file, or right-click to download!

Loving Ourselves - ManLoving Ourselves - Press BookLoving Ourselves - Woman

By special arrangement between MCC and HRC, clergy and religious leaders who register for both the MCC Conference for People of African Descent, Our Friends and Allies and HRC Clergy Call can apply for a special HRC scholarship to cover 3 nights of lodging at either the Fairmont Washington or another hotel (nights of Saturday through Monday, 21 – 23 May). For more information, go to the HRC website above and submit the online scholarship application form. Scholarships are not guaranteed. Please apply early.

2011 MCC PAD Conference – Registration Open!

2011 MCC PAD Conference RevElderDarleneGarner

Our Friends and Allies

Since 1998, the MCC Conference for People of African Descent, Our Friends and Allies has been a landmark MCC event. While being firmly rooted in the African-American cultural experience, the MCC PAD Conference is for everyone, regardless of race, ethnicity, or nationality.

The 2011 PAD Conference theme LOVING OURSELVES INTO LIBERATION reflects our commitment to continue our rise from victimhood to victory and to lift others as we climb. To inform and empower us to reach higher heights, workshops and keynote speakers will focus on physical, political, and spiritual health and wholeness. Worship will inspire us to celebrate the fullness of who we are and to embrace the fullness of who God has liberated us to be.

The Chair of the 2011 PAD Conference is Rev. Candy Holmes. The Planning Committee includes conference hosts representing MCC and The Fellowship congregations in the Washington, DC area and volunteers from across the United States. The Human Rights Campaign is also working with us to offer you the largest and most powerful PAD Conference experience to date.

You will not want to miss the 2011 PAD Conference. Register now!

If you would like to volunteer or to receive more information about the 2011 MCC Conference for People of African Descent, Our Friends and Allies, please contact Rev. Candy Holmes at

I look forward to seeing you in DC.

In Christ,

Rev. Elder Darlene Garner

MCC PAD Conference Convener

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