For more information, please contact the Social Action Commission:
African Methodist Episcopal Church
Jacquelyn Dupont-Walker, Director
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org - email
Website: http://www.ame-chuch.com & http://www.ame-sac.com
Statement Regarding the Targeting, Profiling, and Killing of Unarmed Black Males
(August 16, 2014) The African Methodist Episcopal Church joins with citizens across the United States and around the world in condemning the unjust and merciless shooting of Michael Brown, an unarmed 18 year old African-American teenager in Ferguson, Missouri on August 9th by a local police officer. We extend our sympathy, prayers and support to the Brown Family and the residents of Ferguson, Missouri as they bear this tragedy and bid farewell to a son, family member, friend and loved one. But we can and must do more.
As pained, hurt and outraged as we are over the shooting of Michael Brown, the national outrage about what happened in Ferguson, Missouri is about more than Michael Brown; it is about what is happening to Black males all across the United States. This young Black man joins a long list of unarmed Black males shot by police - our law officers sworn to protect us. News outlets report the killing of three other Black men by police within the last month. Eric Garner (age 43) was strangled in Staten Island, NY on July 17th. John Crawford (age 22) was gunned down in Beavercreek, Ohio on August 5th. Ezell Ford (age 25) was shot and killed in Los Angeles, CA on August 11th. There may be others now known only to local communities and/or those who acted under the guise of “standing their ground” which has resulted in taking the lives of young Black males.
The African Methodist Episcopal Church speaks out because this list of fatalities must end. We cannot and will not allow it to continue to grow. Law enforcement and those who claim to act within the bounds of the law, must be brought to justice for unjustly taking the lives of our sons, brothers, husbands, and fathers. Over at least the last decade, it has happened far too often. Black males of all ages have been shot and killed, while unarmed. There have been too many Mothers burying their young, spouses left alone, children left without a father, and too many communities left with too few men. The African Methodist Episcopal Church, the first protestant denomination formed on American soil, speaks out because the issue at hand is about a system of modern day injustice, mass incarceration, and ultimately disenfranchisement of a group that has born the brunt of systematic discrimination in the 227 year history of this country.
The pattern of justifying “the shoot” after the fact played out again on yesterday as the Ferguson Police chief was not satisfied that a life had been taken, but sought the ultimate “kill” with an effort to destroy the character and reputation of the deceased. In other words make the victim, the villain. Ferguson Police yesterday said that Michael Brown robbed a store in town of some cigarettes before being stopped by police and killed. The attempt is to make people see Michael Brown as the villain, and the police officer as protecting the people when in fact this is only an allegation, and the police chief himself later said, what happened to Michael Brown had nothing to do with the robbery. The suspicious “six day later claim” made by the police does not change the fact that police for no reason at all, stopped Michael Brown and killed him.
The African Methodist Episcopal Church demands justice in th Ferguson, Missouri matter. We refuse to let this be “another whitewash”, another cover-up, another instance where those in law enforcement do not face justice. This will not be another time when after a few weeks, we go back to business as usual. We also demand justice on behalf of our other brothers who also were unarmed and unjustly killed, including Marvin Louis Booker beaten to death by Denver police almost 5 years ago, Treyvon Martin, Eric Garner, John Crawford, and Ezell Ford. We call upon the Department of Justice, Attorney General Eric Holder, and the FBI to insist that justice prevails by supplementing the investigations of state and local officials in Missouri, New York, Ohio, and California. If necessary, we urge separate investigations to protect the civil rights of these American citizens whose human rights are being violated.
In the next twelve months, supporting the urging of President Obama, “We should comfort each other and talk with one another in a way that heals, not in a way that wound”. It is also appropriate and necessary that law enforcement at every level - local, state and federal have training in key areas – community relations, military equipment deployment, crisis management, etc. More importantly, the role of law enforcement in understanding the American values that are a valuable part our multi-cultural base calls for cultural sensitivity training, diverse police forces (racial, gender, age, language, ability, etc.). Accountability can also be insured if we install cameras on police vehicles, in jails/prisons, and work to insure just sentencing in our courts.
While we demand and end to the killing of unarmed Black men and boys by police force, we also recognize our own responsibility to end the senseless and tragic killing of blacks by blacks. One does not excuse the other. Parents, churches, schools and communities must do our part and share responsibility to end these unnecessary deaths. The African Methodist Episcopal Church commits to do our part to be our brothers’ keeper.
The African Methodist Episcopal Church will continue to work in partnership with the other faith, civil rights, and human rights groups who are consistently and valiantly attacking these issues in the legislative, judicial, and administrative arenas. Together, we call upon the United States to practice the social justice and human rights principles that we demand of other nations – here at home. Today, we not only ask, but we challenge our democracy to require justice for Michael Brown and his many other brothers, who died unarmed, needlessly and tragically at the hands of law enforcement.
Bishop Reginald T. Jackson, Chair
Social Action Commission
Bishop Jeffrey Nathaniel Leath, President
Council of Bishops
Bishop Richard Franklin Norris, President
Bishop John Richard Bryant, Senior Bishop
African Methodist Episcopal Church
Joint Statement of Heads of Historic African American Church Denominations, Independent Churches, the National African American Clergy Network, and Faith Partnerships, Inc. Regarding The Brutal Killing of Michael Brown
in Ferguson, Missouri on August 16, 2014
In light of the long and bloody trail of lynchings, deaths, and killings of African American youth from Emmett Till, to Trayvon Martin, to Michael Brown, and scores of others throughout our nation, we call for action, justice, and transformation. Michael Brown is dead. Justice must not be buried with his young body.
The following is a statement regarding the untimely and unjust death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, who is spiritually "our child;" and a child of the African American and concerned American community. We speak in the spirit of redeeming love, nonviolence, and reconciliation, in solidarity with the suffering community of Ferguson, Missouri.
In light of the injustice perpetrated by the Police Department of Ferguson, Missouri, the cover up, and late release of the "shooting" policeman's name (now hiding elsewhere in America, due to fear of reprisals), we recommend the following actions as a Joint Statement of heads of historic African American Church Denominations and Independent Churches, the National African American Clergy Network and Faith Partnerships Inc., concerned clergypersons of color, minorities everywhere in America, and clergy of goodwill.
Our moral outrage is expressed for the lack of justice, and an immediate call for true justice is issued in the death of Michael Brown. Mr. Brown was a promising African American male in Ferguson, Missouri, who will be buried at the time he would have entered college.
We share an appreciation for the work done by Congressman Emanuel Cleaver, a member of the Congressional Black Caucus, local churches, legal experts, and all people of goodwill, who are working to resolve the inequities of this senseless murder. We lift our voices as well against the senseless murders of so many young black youth and men, from Emmett Till to Trayvon Martin, now Michael Brown and nameless unarmed others who have been cut down in their prime for being “young, gifted, and black”.
We are family-oriented in our values in the African American community and believe that every child is our child. Michael Brown has been and is our child, now in death as he was in life in Ferguson, Missouri. We, therefore, pledge to help the Brown family - Michael's biological family of origin - with burial costs. We also support the establishment of an Educational Memorial Fund in Michael's name...so that he, and young men like him, will not be forgotten.
We will remember prayerfully all the young men who have lost their lives in senseless killings by insensitive police, who are untrained in community relations, lacking in cultural competency, or have chosen to pull a trigger prematurely, rather than exercise good judgment.
We request a meeting with United States Attorney General Eric Holder in support of his efforts to bring an end to this brutal pattern of injustice.
We call on all churches in the faith community, especially those representing the African American Diaspora, to hold Memorial Services this Sunday or next Sunday in honor of the memory of Michael Brown, in accordance with church calendars. We call for an end to the cutting down of precious God-created lives like his and so many others.
All active denominations and non-denominations in the Faith Community must "push" for robust voter education, voter registration, and voter participation beginning in 2014. This will ensure that those who are in office and choose to do wrong can be replaced by those who will represent the preservation of life in ethnic communities where a disproportionate amount of killings, unsubstantiated sentencing and jail time are unwarranted means for perpetuating racism and bias against ethnic minorities.
As a move toward community reconciliation, we urge the dropping of all charges against those who protested and were arrested for exercising their First Amendment Rights to lawful assembly.
In order that all of these actions are promptly accomplished, we pray to God that "justice roll down like water and righteousness as an ever-flowing stream" - Amos 5:24.
This document is signed by....
Dr. Barbara Williams-Skinner, Co-Chair, National African American Clergy Network
Dr. T. DeWitt Smith, Jr., Co-Chair, National African American Clergy Network
Dr. Otis Moss, Jr., Chairman, Faith Partnerships, Inc.
African Methodist Episcopal (A.M.E.)
Bishop Jeffrey Nathaniel Leath
President, Council of Bishops
Bishop Reginald T. Jackson, Presiding Bishop
Office of Ecumenical and Urban Affairs
Bishop Cornal Garnett Henning, Sr. (Retired)
African Methodist Episcopal Zion (A.M.E. ZION)
Bishop George E. Battle, Jr., Senior Bishop
Christian Methodist Episcopal (C.M.E.)
Bishop Lawrence L. Reddick, III, Senior Bishop
Church of God in Christ (C.O.G.I.C.)
Bishop Charles E. Blake, Sr.
Full Gospel Baptist Church Fellowship, International
Bishop Joseph W. Walker, III
National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc.
Dr. Julius R. Scruggs, President
Progressive National Baptist Convention, Inc. (P.N.B.C.)
Dr. James C. Perkins, President
Independent Church Leaders:
Dr. Cynthia D. Hale, Pastor
Ray of Hope Christian Church, Decatur, GA
Dr. Frederick Haynes, Pastor
Friendship-West Baptist Church, Dallas, TX
Dr. Otis Moss, III, Pastor
Trinity United Church of Christ, Chicago, IL
Dr. Raphael G. Warnock, Pastor
Ebenezer Baptist Church, Atlanta, GA