Pastor Gives Away $1 Million to Survivors of the Tulsa Race Riot (UCN 6.29.21)

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According to Charisma News, Pastor Michael Todd of Transformation Church gave away a total of $1 million to the survivors of the Tulsa Race Massacre and Black-owned nonprofits Sunday, June 20, 2021. He called for his church to be a pillar in the community and the first to acknowledge and act upon the reparations needed to restore relationships with those who suffered through the massacre. To that end, he presented checks for $200,000 in reparations to the three remaining survivors of the Tulsa Massacre. The massacre, which occurred from May 31 to June 1, 1921, and happened 100 years ago this month, is called one of the worst incidents of racial violence in U.S. history, leaving hundreds dead and thousands homeless after a mob attacked a Black Tulsa neighborhood. Todd instructed his leadership team to find “every living survivor” of the massacre and invite them to Sunday service. They located Viola Fletcher, 107; Hughes Van Ellis, 100; and Lessie Randle, 106. He then used the sermon time to honor their tragedy, saying, “Thank you for living a life that survived the devastation.” In addition to the funds donated to the survivors—the average cost of a house in Tulsa—Transformation Church donated $50,000 to the Terrance Crutcher Foundation, $50,000 to Build in Tulsa, $100,000 to One Race Movement and $100,000 to Greenwood Cultural Center.

According to the New York Times, Canada broke a national heat record on Sunday when the temperature in a small town in British Columbia reached almost 116 degrees Fahrenheit, breaking an 84-year-old record by nearly 3 degrees, with dangerously hot weather expected to continue for several more days. The heat wave across western Canada has much of a country known for its sweater weather, sweating. The same high-pressure system baking the region has also produced record-breaking heat in the northwestern United States, including 112 degrees on Sunday in Portland, Ore. The scorching temperatures will add another public health burden as the authorities contend with both easing coronavirus restrictions as more Canadians are vaccinated and trying to keep residents cool. Canada’s old national heat record was 45 degrees Celsius, or 113 Fahrenheit, but on Sunday, Lytton, a town of fewer than 300 about three hours east of Vancouver, reached 46.6 Celsius, or 115.9 Fahrenheit, according to Environment Canada, a government agency. Other towns in southern British Columbia, including Victoria, Kamloops and Kelowna, are breaking local records under the high-pressure heat dome, and temperatures well over 100 degrees are forecast through Wednesday.

According to France24, A makeshift bomb exploded inside a Catholic church in the city of Beni in DR Congo’s conflict-plagued east on Sunday, injuring two women just an hour before a children’s confirmation ceremony was due to be held. The attack marks the first time a Catholic building has been targeted in the region, which has declared a “state of siege” due to rising violence from the Allied Democratic Forces militia accused of killing thousands. The head of police in Beni’s town hall Narcisse Muteba Kashale told AFP that the explosion occurred at 6:00 am, and that the homemade bomb had been “set up for an ambush”. Beni’s vicar general Laurent Sondirya said two women were injured in the blast, which went off shortly before crowds were due to start gathering for the confirmation ceremony.

According to Politico, Never-before-seen case files, photographs and other records documenting the investigation into the infamous slayings of three civil rights workers in Mississippi are now open to the public for the first time, 57 years after their deaths. The 1964 killings of civil rights activists James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, and Michael Schwerner in Neshoba County sparked national outrage and helped spur passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. They later became the subject of the movie “Mississippi Burning.” The previously sealed materials — dating from 1964 to 2007 — were transferred to the Mississippi Department of Archives and History from the Mississippi attorney general’s office in 2019. As of last week, they are now available for viewing by the public at William F. Winter Archives and History Building in Jackson. The records include case files, Federal Bureau of Investigation memoranda, research notes and federal informant reports and witness testimonies. There are also photographs of the exhumation of the victims’ bodies and subsequent autopsies, along with aerial photographs of the burial site, according to an announcement from the Mississippi Department of Archives and History. The collection is being stored in three catalog records: Series 2870 houses the attorney general’s research files, Series 2902 houses the FBI memos and Series 2903 houses the photographs. The three Freedom Summer workers, all in their 20s, had been investigating the burning of a black church near Philadelphia, Mississippi when they disappeared in June of 1964.

According to the Associated Press, The Texas Supreme Court says survivors and relatives of those killed in a 2017 mass killing at a church can’t sue a sporting goods chain for selling the gunman the rifle used in the attack. The court on Friday threw out four lawsuits against Academy Sports and Outdoors that alleged a San Antonio-area store negligently sold the gun to Devin Kelley in 2016. Kelley killed more than two dozen people when he opened fire at the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs. The 26-year-old then killed himself during a chase after the shooting. Academy Sports and Outdoors, where the shooter purchased a Ruger AR-556 semi-automatic rifle that included a 30-round magazine, had appealed after two lower courts declined to dismiss lawsuits. The Supreme Court agreed with Academy, and ruled the petitions were prohibited by the U.S. Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act. The act protects retailers from lawsuits arising from criminal acts by third parties. Shooting survivors and relatives have also sued the U.S. Air Force, which failed to report a domestic violence conviction that would have prohibited Kelley from purchasing a firearm.

According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, The estate of Martin Luther King Jr. has reached a deal to give HarperCollins publishing rights to his books and speeches in an effort to reach a new generation of readers and highlight the civil rights leader’s relevance today. The King Estate announced Tuesday that an international agreement had been reached with the same publisher that took a chance on King more than 60 years when it published his first book, “Stride Toward Freedom.” King’s books will be reissued and works will be released based on his life and writing. The first titles will be published in the United States as early as January to coincide with Martin Luther King Jr. Day. The financial details of the deal were not disclosed, but it includes world rights to publish from the King archives across all formats, including children’s books, ebooks, audiobooks, journals, and graphic novels in all languages.

According to CNN, The grand opening for rapper and activist Michael “Killer Mike” Render’s Greenwood banking platform has been postponed a second time, the company confirmed on Wednesday. In March, Greenwood co-founder Ryan Glover said that the Black and Latinx-owned digital banking company’s planned early 2021 launch date was pushed back to July due to unanticipated high demand after its website was unveiled in October. Greenwood’s leaders say ensuring the digital platform can handle the influx of anticipated customers is also the cause for the latest delay. Greenwood Chief Marketing Officer David Tapscott said the fintech company’s leaders now anticipate everyone on its waiting list will be able to open accounts before the end of this year, and the platform will be available to the general public in early 2022. The company’s leaders stopped purchasing ads asking users to sign up for its waitlist earlier this year, shifting their focus to rolling out services to those who already signed up to open accounts. Tapscott said, “Adding [more] people onto a waitlist just delays how long it’ll take us to get through it. Our first commitment is to deliver the best product possible to the marketplace and we’re not going to rush that. We believe our customers have enough confidence in what we’re doing that they will stay with us on that journey.” Glover came up with the idea for Greenwood in 2018. The company’s leaders said in March that Glover couldn’t have anticipated the overwhelming demand Greenwood would receive following the 2020 murder of George Floyd and the nationwide Black financial empowerment movement that erupted in its wake.

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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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