Black Caucus members for the state and the Democratic National Committee invoked God’s blessing on an election season that they said could use divine intervention at a community worship service held at Enon Tabernacle Baptist Church on Sunday.
Academician Eric Michael Dyson along with the Revs. Cynthia Hale, Jamal Bryant and Freddie Haynes, leading Black preachers who are also community and social justice advocates, told hundreds of delegates and worshipers that this week’s political convention is pivotal for Blacks.
“Absolutely nothing has been stolen from America. Everything that has been stolen has come out of Africa. This week the buck stops here. You can’t steal nothing else,” Bryant said, stressing what he described as a history of stealing on the part of white America, especially Republicans.
Listing inventions that Blacks did not get credit for, he said, “They feel like they can keep taking your stuff and you not going to do anything.”
“That’s why they don’t have a problem when a Yugoslavian immigrant came to the stage and took a [Black woman’s] speech. [It’s] the same party that stole your vote in Florida,” Bryant said about Melania Trump convention speech and the 2000 Bush-Gore presidential race.
Bryant’s words resulted in the congregation standing and shouting, including Virgie Rollins, leader of the DNC Black Caucus.
Haynes message had the same effect. He advocated for the have-nots, admonishing members of the crowd that if they were true followers of Jesus, they would use their voting power.
“If we are going to do the right thing as a Democratic Party, we cannot forget the have-nots that have been left behind. The real test of your faith is what you do for people that can’t pay you back,” he said at the church in the German section of Philadelphia.
Using Harriet Tubman as an example of a freedom fighter in helping slaves escape their bondage, Haynes pushed for more advocacy.
“We got a responsibility to go back and make sure our schools are funded equally…[and] instead of judging young people…we’ve got to give them a reason to vote,” he said.
Hale, one of the nation’s few Black women who leads a megachurch, called the names of Black men and women who had been killed by police, including recent deaths of Philando Castile in Minnesota and Alton Sterling in Louisiana.
“Sometimes it feels like there is a war on Black folk in America. It feels like open season. In recent years, it seems we have returned to the Wild Wild West. We need common sense gun laws. We need to get guns out of the hands [of those] who can’t use them responsibly, and I’m not just talking about civilians,” she said.
Hale also listed issues that needed to be addressed by the next president.
“No child should go to bed and school hungry. No student should leave high school with a certificate of attendance and not a diploma. Everybody has a right to due process of the law. No one should have to spend the rest of their life in prison for a nonviolent drug offense,” she said. “We need all of our people to vote. There is only one choice for president and you know who she is.”
Hale continued that Congress should be wiling to repeal unfair sentencing laws should also be voted in and that voters should also participate in local elections.
Dyson themed his message, “Waiting on the Real Trump,” which he based on several scriptures in First Corinthians that referred to the instrument.
“The fake trumps possess no moral clarity,” said the radio host. “Your responsibility is to be a trumpet that is full of sound moral judgment…Die to your old self…Die to your old lack of love. Stop listening to to the fake trump, the evil trump.”
The speakers decried the issue of police brutality and unnecessary killing of Black people, with Haynes stating that “we have a structure that has declared that Black lives don’t matter. [Police] have been trained to dehumanize Black bodies.”
Even as some of the other issues they lamented, such as disproportionate incarceration rates and an unfair criminal justice system, are partly a result of President Bill Clinton’s anti-crime policies that stiffened sentencing and resulted in increased policing. Although his wife Hillary supported those measures in the 1990s, the clergy still called for Black people to support her.
Source: Philadelphia Tribune | Samaria Bailey