LISTEN: NFL Player Benjamin Watson on What White, Black Christians Must Do to Bridge Racial Divide; African-Americans Remain Most Optimistic Consumer Group In U.S. Economy (BCNN1, 1/22/2017)

This is the Black Christian News Network Podcast for Sunday, January 22, 2017.

1. According to the Christian Post, Christian NFL player Benjamin Watson has offered advice for how the Church and its believers can take the lead in helping ease racial tensions in the United States. Watson, the author of the 2015 book Under Our Skin: Getting Real about Race and Getting Free from the Fears and Frustrations that Divide Us, told The Christian Post that in order for churches and Christians to make a difference they need to start addressing the racial issues that many in America are afraid to talk about. Watson will be participating in the upcoming “Under Our Skin” forum on race and faith that will be hosted by Tyndale House Publishers at The Crossing Church in Tampa, Florida, and feature a number of former NFL players and and hall-of-fame coach Tony Dungy.

2. According to the Los Angeles Sentinel, despite a plethora of economic and social challenges, African-Americans remain among the most optimistic consumer groups in the nation’s economy. A recent report by the market research firm, Packaged Facts, revealed that nearly half (47 percent) of African-Americans believe they will be better off financially 12 months from now. The report, titled, “African-Americans: Demographic and Consumer Spending Trends, 10th Edition,” found that just 37 percent of ‘other Americans’ are as optimistic. Also, revealed in the report, affluent Black Americans hold especially strong convictions about how their financial future will unfold, although the abiding optimism of African-Americans transcends income levels.

3. According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, U.S. Rep. John Lewis, whose feud with Donald Trump put Atlanta in the national spotlight, told thousands of marchers in his hometown on Saturday that they have a “moral mission and mandate to agitate.” “I know something about marching,” said the civil rights icon who led civil rights protests in the 1960s. “We have a moral obligation to fight and never lose hope. We must vote like we never have before.” Lewis took the stage Saturday to excited chants of “Fifth District,” a reference to his congressional district which Trump lambasted on social media.

4. According to Reuters, hundreds of thousands of women filled the streets of major American cities to lead an unprecedented wave of international protests against President Donald Trump, mocking and denouncing the new U.S. leader the day after his inauguration. Women activists, outraged by Trump’s campaign rhetoric and behavior they found to be especially misogynistic, spearheaded scores of marches in the United States and sympathy rallies around the world on Saturday. Organizers said they drew nearly 5 million protesters in all, far surpassing crowd expectations.

5. According to CNN, Chicago just ended its deadliest year in nearly two decades. The city saw 4,331 shooting victims last year, according to its police department. Now, a new study sheds light on the medical treatment that such victims receive in Cook County, Illinois, the second most populous county in the nation, which includes the city of Chicago. Almost one-fifth of gun-related injuries countywide that met the criteria for treatment at a trauma center, from 2009 to 2013, were initially under-treated, according to the study, which was published in the journal JAMA Surgery on Wednesday. In other words, those patients received initial treatment outside a trauma center. Nearly one-third of all patients with gun-related injuries in the study were treated in a non-trauma facility.

6 . According to the Christian Post, Christian pioneer TobyMac released a new video for the song “Love Broke Thru” that sends a message of healing to all involved in race riots and police violence in America. Through the video, which was released on Billboard this week, TobyMac takes the opportunity to use his creative platform to explore the power of love and prayer in the midst of adversity. Since the killings of Philando Castile, and Alton Sterling by police officers and the Dallas sniper retaliation that killed five officers, many in the industry have spoken out. The 52-year-old is now making his voice heard. He teamed up with director Eric Welch to reveal his heart in video form. The video tackles the subject of protest over police violence around the country. Watch the compelling video on Billboard.com.

7. According to BET, back in October of this past year, actress Tika Sumpter gave birth to a beautiful baby girl, Ella-Loren, after keeping her pregnancy private explaining she wanted to experience the moment for herself and not for Hollywood. The Southside With You actress also decided to follow in a similar fashion, choosing to keep the news that she is now engaged private. After enjoying the personal news and keeping it to herself for awhile, Sumpter has decided to publicly confirm she’s soon to be a bride-to-be! The new mom broke the news during an appearance on The Real, which is set to air this Monday (Jan. 23).