Labor Day 2016: Fighting Against Structures that Kill and Embracing Those that Help Us Live
A little over a year ago, the Gamaliel Network launched a long-term transformational agenda shaped by a commitment to dismantle structural racism. As we approach Labor Day 2016, we are clearer than ever that communities of color are facing battles on multiple fronts. From disparity in prison sentencing and incarceration rates of youth and adults, to inequitable schools, and strained relationships with police due to brutality, racial bias, and an overwhelming militarized presence, the day to day lives of black and brown people are stressed. When economic divestment, disenfranchisement of black and brown youth through lack of job opportunities, and very little value is placed on life outside of labor, we understand that these systems kill rather than bring life.
Beginning Labor Day weekend and continuing throughout the week, Gamaliel and its affiliates will host and participate in a number of actions and events across the country aimed at “fighting against structures that kill and embracing those that help us live.”
Friday, September 2 through Sunday, September 4
– Congregations in the Gamaliel Network will be partnering with organized labor as part of the annual “Labor in the Pulpit, on the Bimah, on the Minbar” program. For more information or for resources to help you organize your own “Labor in the Pulpit” event, contact Rev. Sue Engh, Gamaliel Clergy Initiatives and Caucuses, firstname.lastname@example.org
Read a letter from Gamaliel Board Chair, Rev. John Welch, Ph.D.
Wednesday, September 7
– The Gamaliel Network, with Missouri affiliates MCU and MORE2, will join with the AFL-CIO and Gamaliel clergy leaders from the National Baptist Convention (who will be holding their 136th annual session in Kansas City) to “Protect the Vote!” for all Missouri citizens. Amendment 6 is set to go on the November ballot. If passed, it will immediately disenfranchise over 220,000 currently registered voters in Missouri. As people of faith, WE CANNOT SIT BACK and allow the power and the right to vote to be stripped away from communities of color, youth and the elderly, the poor, and the disabled!
A Photo ID Training and Strategy session is scheduled at Grace and Holy Trinity Cathedral, 415 West 13th Street, KCMO 64105, from 2:00 to 3:30 p.m. CT. The training is followed by a March for Life to Barney Allis Plaza for a “Protect the Vote!” rally, The Plaza is located between 12th and 13th Streets at Wyandotte and Central, from 4:00 to 5:00 p.m. CT. (Registration is required for the training. For more information or to register, email contact Rev. Cynthia Jarrold, National Policy Director, email@example.com
Saturday, September 10
– Ana Garcia-Ashley, Executive Director, Gamaliel, and Juan Soto, Executive Director, Gamaliel of Illinois, travel to the Vatican where they will meet with Pope Francis and deliver the message that the Gamaliel Network joins him in his commitment to ridding the world of work “that exploits, crushes, humiliates, and mortifies” working people and families—especially people of color—and replacing it with work that brings dignity and true freedom (paraphrased from December 14, 2015 speech on Vatican Radio).
Throughout the Week
– Gamaliel’s Young Liberation Caucus, Igniting A Movement—YLC, IAM—will hold youth-centered actions addressing structural racism that is taking life rather than giving life in the following affiliate communities:
- Genesis – Oakland, CA
- NBOP – Sonoma County, CA
- MOSES – Detroit, MI
- GMC – Chicago, IL
- MCU – St. Louis, MO
- MORE2 – Kansas City, MO
- VOICE – Buffalo, NY
- (Others are being added to the week of action)
Youth and young adults will proclaim life in the spaces that are killing them—the juvenile courts and judges, the schools, the sheriff and police. Together, they will declare that pathways to investment are required more than pathways to imprisonment, incarceration and invisibility. For more information, contact Brittini Gray, Organizer, MCU, and chair of Gamaliel’s Organizers of Color Table, firstname.lastname@example.org