PODCAST: John Lewis dies at 80 (BCNN1 7.18.20)

This is the Black Christian News Network One podcast. Here are the top stories you need to know about today.

According to Politico, John Lewis, who went from being the youngest leader of the 1963 March on Washington to a long-serving congressman from Georgia and icon of the civil rights movement, died Friday. He was 80. In December 2019, he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. As a leader of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, Lewis was a committed participant in some of the key moments of the movement — an original Freedom Rider in 1961, a principal speaker at the March on Washington in 1963, one of those brutally clubbed during a 1965 march in Selma, Ala. Through it all, he faced taunts, beatings and dozens of arrests. “In the face of what John considered the evils of segregation, he was fearless,” said longtime SNCC activist Courtland Cox. By his middle years, he was in Congress and sometimes referred to as its “conscience.” Years later, he was a witness to the inauguration of Barack Obama, the first African American president. “Generations from now,” Obama said when awarding him a Medal of Freedom in 2011, “when parents teach their children what is meant by courage, the story of John Lewis will come to mind — an American who knew that change could not wait for some other person or some other time; whose life is a lesson in the fierce urgency of now.”

According to NPR, For the Rev. C.T. Vivian, a jail cell was about as familiar as a police officer’s fist. For his work during the height of the civil rights movement, the minister and activist was arrested more times than he cared to count and suffered several brutal beatings at the hands of officers throughout the South. All the while, he held fast to one principle: “In no way would we allow nonviolence to be destroyed by violence,” he recalled in an oral history recorded in 2011. Vivian, who died Friday in Atlanta at the age of 95, was a proselytizer of nonviolent resistance. From Peoria, Ill., where he organized some of the civil rights movement’s first sit-ins in the late 1940s, to Selma, Ala., where a sheriff sucker-punched him on camera in 1965, Vivian bore the same message: Change must come, and nonviolent direct action is necessary to bring it about. “He was one of the tallest trees in the civil rights forest,” Rev. Jesse Jackson tweeted Friday, calling Vivian a mentor. “He never stopped dreaming. He never stopped fighting. We are better because he came this way.”

According to PEOPLE, Tamar Braxton was hospitalized on Thursday night, according to multiple reports. The Blast and TMZ report that the singer and reality TV star, 43, was found unresponsive in her room at the Ritz-Carlton hotel in downtown Los Angeles. According to The Blast, she was found by her boyfriend David Adefeso. The Blast reports that Braxton is in stable condition but still unconscious, and is currently under 24-hour watch at the hospital. A spokesperson for the LAPD tells PEOPLE officers responded to a call around 9:45 p.m. on Thursday at the hotel’s location in regards to an individual who had a medical emergency. The spokesperson says that the individual was transported to the hospital. Reps for Braxton did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment. A spokesperson for the star told The Blast, “Tamar has had a very tough and emotional day — more information will be coming in the next few days. Please pray for her.”

According to PEOPLE, Tyler Perry is continuing to give back to his Atlanta community. The 50-year-old media mogul gifted 1,000 Kroger gift cards to those living in Atlanta, Georgia with help from police officers at the Atlanta Police Department who went door to door in neighborhoods to hand them out. “This is about the community that I love, that I live in and work in,” Perry said in a statement obtained by PEOPLE. “This is about good people who are in need of a hand up not a hand out.” He continued, “This is about the good police officers who do their job well every day some of which are my personal friends. This is about trying to bridge unity in a city that adopted me and held me up high enough to reach my own branch on the tree of success. I love Atlanta and its people!” Perry added.

According to The Christian Post, Emmanuel Acho, a former NFL linebacker who’s now an ESPN analyst announced that he’s releasing a new book inspired by his popular social media show called “Uncomfortable Conversations With a Black Man.” Acho announced this week, that his viral internet series, “Uncomfortable Conversations With a Black Man,” is being turned into a book that will be published by media mogul Oprah Winfrey. Winfrey is said to have partnered with Acho because of how much his new series has impacted her. “We can change the world, together,” Acho said in his video announcement. Acho started the series as a way to help others learn more about black people. “I never wanted this to just be a social media moment. But I wanted these words to transcend the screen and jump on into a page, so they can be passed down from generation to generation and affect true change,” Acho said in the video statement. “I firmly believe if you want to go fast, you go alone. But if you want to go far you go together. So I’m privileged to have a partner and supporter to go on this journey with me,” he said of Oprah. The philanthropist then joined the announcement and said she was delighted to be a “partner and supporter and publisher of the book, Uncomfortable Conversations With a Black Man.”

According to The Christian Post, Popular Christian singer and YouTube star Jamie Grace has been vocal about her encounters with racism and on Monday she revealed she’s lost followers as a result of it. “I lost about 3,000 twitter followers after sharing my personal stories as a victim of racism and articles about things like white privilege and how to be anti-racist,” Grace tweeted to her hundreds of thousands of followers. The “Beautiful Day” singer expressed her gratitude for those who are still around. “So to everyone that’s still here… thank you… and… Nothing’s changed on my end!! Still black!” she quipped. Grace is one of the few black singers who has had success in Christian contemporary music, whose audiences are predominantly white. Last month, she shared that after a few weeks of posting about racism, it has come to her attention that many of her supporters and friends did not realize racism still existed. The singer added to her initial tweet that although she’s lost followers on that social media platform, she’s gained others on its competitor platform. She said, “I should also note that in the land of opposites, my insta has grown significantly over the last few months! Genuinely grateful for anyone who chooses to take time out of their day to listen, read, share, stream… truly! I appreciate you :).”

According to The Christian Post, Reach Records founder and popular emcee, Lecrae, released new music from his upcoming album Restoration along with his latest single “Drown” this week featuring mainstream artist John Legend. “Even in the darkest valleys and deepest waters, I fear no evil,” Lecrae wrote on Instagram as he introduced his new single. “God is with me.” Joining the outspoken Christian on the track is award-winning singer John Legend. Legend’s part of the song is a cry out to God for help in hard times. While Legend isn’t known to be outspoken about his religious beliefs, he has been featured in several gospel songs. And while introducing his 2019 single “Preach,” Legend talked about his Christian upbringing. Legend doesn’t make an appearance in the video for “Drown,” but Lecrae can be seen rapping in front of a screen that showcases many of the tragedies Americans have experienced recently. Among the clips shown is footage of school shootings, tornadoes, fires, coronavirus patients, Hurricane Harvey, police-involved deaths of black Americans, children housed in detention centers after entering the U.S., and the death of Kobe Bryant.

You can read these stories and more at BlackChristianNews.com

In closing, remember, God loves you. He always has and He always will. John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” If you don’t know Jesus as your Saviour, today is a good day to get to know Him. Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died, was buried, and rose from the dead for you. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart and He will. Romans 10:13 says, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

Thanks so much for listening and may God bless your day!