This is the Urban Christian News podcast. Here are the top stories you need to know about today.
According to USA Today, Family and friends of Daunte Wright remembered the 20-year-old Black father fatally shot during a traffic stop by a veteran Minnesota police officer at a funeral service in Minneapolis on Thursday. “He was a brother, a jokester,” Wright’s mother, Katie Wright, said as she fought back tears. “He was loved by so many. He is going to be so missed.” Hundreds of mourners were inside Shiloh International Ministries for the service on Thursday, 11 days after Wright’s death in nearby Brooklyn Center. Katie Wright reflected on Wright’s son, Daunte, Jr., and the “joy” the child brought him. “He was so happy and so proud and he said he couldn’t wait to make his son proud,” Katie Wright said. “Daunte Wright’s life mattered,” the congregation repeated as civil rights attorney Ben Crump began his remarks. Civil rights leader Al Sharpton will also give a eulogy. Wright’s death sparked anger, sadness and frustration in a community already on edge amid the trial of Derek Chauvin. Kim Potter, the former Brooklyn Center police officer who shot Wright, resigned in the days after his death and has been charged with second-degree manslaughter. The city’s former police chief, who also resigned, said he believed Potter thought she was using her Taser when she pulled out her firearm.
According to the Christian Post, Terry Turner, the senior pastor at Mesquite Friendship Baptist Church in Mesquite, Texas, says he will not attend his final board meeting at the Southern Baptist Convention’s Gateway Theological Seminary in California to protest the “racial insensitivity” of the denomination’s Council of Seminary Presidents. “This week I have decided to protest the racial insensitivity shown by the council of seminary presidents over race issues in our society,” Turner wrote in a statement on his Facebook page Monday. “Therefore, I will not attend my last board meeting with The Gateway Theological Seminary of the Southern Baptist Convention where I have served as a trustee for the last ten years.” Turner lamented that his time serving on Gateway’s board did not help with “racial reconciliation” despite raising concern about the diminishing number of African American staffers at the institution during his decade of service. Turner’s statement comes in the wake of ongoing turmoil on race within the SBC sparked most recently by a decision at the council’s annual session in 2020, where it voted to reject critical race theory and intersectionality as incompatible with the Baptist Faith & Message while also condemning “racism in any form.” Several pastors of color have voiced opposition to that view, and the debate around the issue has led to an exodus of high-profile black pastors from the denomination. Outspoken SBC Pastor Dwight McKissic, who founded and leads Cornerstone Baptist Church in Arlington, Texas, said Turner’s statement is a strong indicator that the SBC needs to commit more resources to “heal the racial divide.”
According to CNN, Columbus, Ohio, officials released additional body camera video on Wednesday of a police officer fatally shooting a Black teen who charged two females with a knife. “We don’t yet have all of the facts but we do know that a 16-year-old girl, a child of this community, tragically died last night,” Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther told reporters. “Bottom line: Did Ma’Khia Bryant need to die yesterday?” he added. “How did we get here? This is a failure on the part of our community. Some are guilty but all of us are responsible.” Ginther said state investigators will determine “if the officer involved was wrong, and if he was we will hold him accountable.” Police identified the officer who fired the shots as Nicholas Reardon, who was hired in December 2019. The officer is off street duty pending an investigation. Calls seeking comment from the police union have not been returned. Late Wednesday afternoon, a crowd of demonstrators — including Ohio State University students — marched in downtown Columbus toward the state Capitol building.
According to ABC News, Hearkening back to the boycotts during the civil rights movement and apartheid, Georgia faith leaders representing over 1,000 Georgia churches have called for a nationwide boycott of Home Depot, accusing the largest company based in the Peach State of standing on the sidelines in the voting rights battle playing out not just in Georgia, but across the country. “A boycott is not something we wanted to do, but now it is something that we must do,” Bishop Reginald T. Jackson said in a statement read during a press conference Tuesday. “They have simply refused to respond, not only to our request to meet, but to their other corporate partners. They believe their silence is appropriate, but not on the issue of voting rights. Blacks and people of color, like others, are also their customers and they benefit from our dollars … we believe they should oppose any effort to suppress our votes.” Jackson, the movement’s leader and head of the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church’s sixth district that includes over 500 AME churches in Georgia, could not attend the event outside a Home Depot in Decatur. But according to his statement, the coalition could add more companies to the boycott call, singling out Chick-fil-A and Arby’s, which the coalition plans to contact this week. Jackson was adamant the boycott was led by faith leaders, directly disputing the Republican-espoused idea that President Joe Biden and Fair Fight Action founder Stacey Abrams are behind it.
According to the New York Daily News, A North Carolina woman was charged with driving her vehicle into a yard where three Black teenagers were playing basketball, the Pitt County Sheriff’s Office announced. One of the boys was injured and received treatment at the hospital for minor injuries. A news release from the sheriff’s office says that 35-year-old Daina Renee Forrest was driving around Greenville — a city of about 90,000 located 80 miles east of Raleigh — and threatening the teens with a knife and cursing at them. The news release said that Forrest “intentionally veered her car off the roadway and partially into the yard to strike the children.” When deputies searched the car, they discovered marijuana, crack cocaine, and a knife. Pitt County Sheriff’s spokesman Sgt. Lee Darnell said that the damage to the front of Forrest’s car was consistent with hitting a person. Forrest is being held by the sheriff’s office and has been charged with three counts of assault with a deadly weapon and a felony count of cocaine possession. Darnell said he does not believe race was a factor.
According to NBC Washington, The sister of a young Black man who was found hanging from a tree in Silver Spring, Maryland, in 1986 has called for a new look into his death for years. Recently, Montgomery County Councilmember Hans Reimer joined her. Thirty-five years ago, police found the body of 19-year-old Keith Warren in a wooded area that has since been developed. His death was ruled a suicide, but his family doesn’t believe he took his own life. “He was very quiet. He’s an introvert, but he was loveable, he was likeable, he was loyal,” Sherri Warren said. Her brother was getting ready to go to college. Sherri Warren said there were inconsistencies with the investigation, a rush to judgment and no autopsy. The family wants the case to be reclassified as an undetermined death. “It’s frustrating. It’s aggravating. Again, I’m fighting justice for justice,” Sherri Warren said. Since Montgomery County Councilmember Hans Riemer has also called for an independent review, there may be new hope for the case.
According to NBC Sports, Quarterback Justin Fields has shared some medical information with teams ahead of next week’s draft. NFL Media reports that Fields has informed teams that he is managing epilepsy. The neurological condition can cause seizures and is usually treated with medication, although different cases can call for different medical approaches. Per the report, Fields has not been affected by the condition on the football field and that his symptoms have been less frequent in recent years. Other members of Fields’ family have outgrown the condition in their 20s and doctors believe that could be the case for Fields as well. Those are promising signs for Fields’ future health, but teams are still likely to have a few questions to throw his way before deciding about using a high draft pick on the quarterback.
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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.”
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