Video: The Freedom Legacy of the Black Church

On February 28, 2016, social justice activist and educator Ewuare Osayande gave a special presentation in honor of Black History Month at the historic Grace Temple Baptist Church in Lawnside, NJ. The presentation, “The Black Presence in the Bible and the Legacy of the Black Church,” highlighted the creation of the Black Church in America and the African heritage of the Hebrew-Israelites as recorded in the Bible. In this clip, Osayande addresses the creation of the Black Church in America and the legacy of freedom it ushered forth.

Ewuare Osayande Audio: An Education that Honors All of God’s Children

Anti-Oppression educator and social justice activist Ewuare Osayande provided a keynote address at the Mennonite Educators Conference held in Leesburg, VA (February 5, 2016). The speech entitled “Embodying the Multicultural Face of God’s Spirit” addressed the need for a Christian educational system that moves beyond its colonial past to one that is rooted in a paradigm of racial justice.

This speech is the last public address Osayande made as Anti-Oppression Coordinator with MCC US. He now serves as Chief Diversity Officer with American Friends Service Committee.

Audio from Ewuare Osayande’s MLK Tri-State Tour: Justice, Freedom, Love

From January 15th to January 18th, political activist and educator Ewuare Osayande provided keynote addresses in honor of The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in Pennsylvania, Indiana and Ohio. The themes for the three presentations, Justice, Freedom and Love, addressed three inter-connected ideals that sit at the heart of the Civil Rights Movement and the philosophy of The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Click the links below to listen to the speeches:

“Let Justice Roll Down Like Water” – Eastern University, St. Davids, PA, January 15, 2016

Freedom Now: Resisting Racism, Militarism and Materialism – AMBS, Elkhart, IN, January 17, 2016

The Liberating Light of Love, First Presbyterian Church, Wooster, OH, January 18, 2016

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Ewuare Osayande Embarks on ‘Freedom and Justice Tour’ for Dr. King Day

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Social justice activist and educator Ewuare Osayande will embark on a 3-state “Freedom and Justice” tour for Dr. King Day 2016. He is scheduled to give keynote presentations at Eastern University in St. Davids, PA, Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary in Elkhart, IN and First Presbyterian Church in Wooten, OH. Osayande will also provide anti-oppression and social justice workshops and seminars at various locations in Elkhart, IN and Wooten, OH.

For Osayande, Dr. King’s message of justice, freedom and peace is as relevant as ever. “When candidates seeking the highest political office in the land call for closing of this nation’s borders to Muslims and Mexicans, when police officers kill African Americans with impunity, when a Supreme Court justice suggests that African Americans do not have the intelligence to excel at elite schools, when mosques and Black churches are burning across America, we are reminded that the prophetic message of Dr. King remains as relevant as ever. We are living through the midnight of an American nightmare. Only through our principled activism of acting in solidarity with the suffering will the liberating light of justice bring forth a new day.”

Ewuare Osayande is the author of several books including Commemorating King: Speeches Honoring the Civil Rights Movement. In 2012 he edited and published the global anthology Stand Our Ground: Poems for Trayvon Martin and Marissa Alexander that raised thousand of dollars for both campaigns. He is Anti-Oppression Coordinator with MCC US and founder of Freedom Plow Ministries.

The schedule of events are as follows:

Eastern University, St. Davids, PA 

January 15, 2016 – Keynote Presentation: “Let Justice Roll Down Like Water”

Sponsored by The Office of the Provost, Eastern University

Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary, Elkhart, IN 

January 17, 2016 – Keynote Presentation:  “Freedom Now: Resisting Racism, Militarism & Materialism”

January 18, Monday – Organizing for Change: From Analysis to Action

Organized by The AMBS Intercultural Competence and Undoing Racism Committee

First Presbyterian Church, Wooten, OH

January 18, 2016 – Keynote Presentation: “The Liberating Light of Love”

January 19, 2016 – Workshop: Black Lives Matter and the Gospel Truth

Organized by the Wooten Area Interfaith Partnership

God is With Us: Statement on the Massacre in South Carolina

As Anti-Oppression Coordinator with Mennonite Central Committee, U.S., I stand with many others across this nation whose hearts are filled with grief in full condemnation of the act of racist terrorism that occurred in the sacred walls of Mother Emanuel A.M.E. Church in Charleston, South Carolina yesterday evening.

My thoughts and prayers are with the families of those beloved nine members and leaders of the church, murdered as they met for Bible study. Among the slain is the church’s senior pastor, The Rev. Clementa C. Pinckney, who is also a State Senator. A tireless advocate for justice, he is the youngest African American ever to hold office in the state legislature. He was first elected at the age of 23 in 1996. In a 1999 profile he stated: “In life, we are all faced with the opportunity to serve. It is at times a hard choice to make but those hard choices yield great rewards. Those rewards are mostly for others and not for ourselves. That’s what service is all about.” The Rev. Pinckney’s courageous life is now our living example. May we honor him and the eight others (whose names have yet to be released at the time of this writing) by increasing our efforts to seek the justice that brings the peace we all seek.

This act is not “an isolated incident” in a state where there are 19 active hate groups, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, with over 50 more in the surrounding states of Georgia and North Carolina. The legacies of slavery and segregation continue to cast its oppressive shadow over this region as the state government continues to fly a Confederate flag on its capitol grounds.

Mother Emanuel A.M.E. Church is the oldest African Methodist Episcopal church in the Southern United States, founded by enslaved and free African Americans in South Carolina in the early 1800s. It has always stood as a life-giving symbol of freedom and equality. Today, it has become a sobering reminder that, in a nation where the sanctity of the Black church is not respected, there is no safe space for a Black person in this country. But we will not be overcome by fear. We shall not be moved. We know as the name Emanuel signifies, God is with us.

On this, the eve of Juneteenth, the African American celebration of freedom from slavery, may we continue to walk in the path of those who came before us, whose minds were stayed on freedom.

Ewuare Osayande, Anti-Oppression Coordinator, MCC, U.S.

#BlackLivesMatter: A Sermon of Solidarity

On Sunday, February 15th, at West Philadelphia Mennonite Church, Ewuare Osayande, Anti-Oppression Coordinator with MCC U.S., spoke about the #BlackLivesMatter movement and the torrent of police killings across the nation. In his presentation, he provides a hermeneutics of solidarity with the movement and its call for justice and police accountability.  Scripture: Matthew 2:13-18; Isaiah 1:15-17. Listen to the audio:

Freedom Now!: Ewuare Osayande Takes on King’s Legacy at Goshen College

On January 19th, Ewuare Osayande, Anti-Oppression Coordinator with MCC U.S., provided a challenging speech to kick off Goshen College’s MLK Study Day that brought together students, faculty, administrators and community leaders for a day of reflection and engagement on the life and legacy of The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

In his presentation, Osayande spoke on the theme for the day: “Be Brave. Show Grace. Advancing Intercultural Action.” He is introduced by DaVonne Kramer, Diverse Student Programs Coordinator at Goshen College.

Listen to the speech:

Casting Out the Spirit of Colonialism

On Sunday, October 26th, Ewuare Osayande spoke at Albuquerque Mennonite Church in Albuquerque, New Mexico. In this sermon, “Casting Out the Spirit of Colonialism,” Osayande unearths the history behind the story of Jesus’ healing of the Gerasene demoniac as he places that story in the context of the legacy of colonialism and racism here in the United States.

Webinar Recording: Following Jesus to Ferguson

On October 9th, two months after the police killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO, Ewuare Osayande, Anti-Oppression Coordinator with MCC U.S., convened and facilitated “Following Jesus to Ferguson.” This webinar looked at the killing of Michael Brown and the events that have followed in Ferguson and around the nation through the hermeneutic lens of Jesus’ identification with the “least of these.” “Following Jesus to Ferguson” was a probing and insightful inquiry into the state-sanctioned racial profiling of Black and Brown communities, the militarization of the police and the trauma experienced by communities in the wake of police violence. The featured panelists included: Ruby Sales, Founder and Director, The SpiritHouse Project, Lorraine Stutzman Amstutz, Restorative Justice Coordinator, MCC U.S., Michelle Armster, Transitional Executive Director, MCC Central States, Pam Nath, Co-Coordinator, New Orleans Program, MCC Central States, Saulo Padilla, Immigration Coordinator, MCC U.S. and Titus Peachey, Peace Education Coordinator, MCC U.S.

Click here to support Ruby Sales and The SpiritHouse Project as they work to end police violence.

Resources:

Segregation’s Long Shadow, by Colin Gordon

Study Suggest Support for Black Incarceration Mirrors White Perception, by Shara Tonn

War Comes Home: The Excessive Militarization of American Policing, American Civil Liberties Union, 2014,

How a botched drug raid in Utah sparked an unlikely movement:  a six-part series about the drug war and police reform

War Gear Flows to Police Departments, by Matt Apuzzo, June 8, 2014, New York Times

Police Want to Get Rid of Their Pentagon-Issued Combat Gear: Here’s Why They Can’t

Seven Reasons Police Brutality is Systemic, not Anecdotal,  Bonnie Kristian, July 2, 2014

11 chilling facts about America’s militarized police force, Alex Kane, Salon Magazine, July 4, 2014

MCC Webinar – Following Jesus to Ferguson – October 9th

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Following Jesus to Ferguson

A Webinar/Teach-In

Thursday, October 9, 2014, 2-4 PM EST

On August 9th, Michael Brown, 18 year old African American young man was shot multiple times and killed by Darren Wilson an officer with the Ferguson Police Department in Missouri. Michael Brown’s body would be left in the street for four hours.

In the aftermath of Brown’s killing, there has been an escalation of police killings of African Americans across the country, even as a movement for justice is growing.

Join us on October 9th for a webinar/teach-in featuring MCC national program staff, leaders in MCC Central States and special guest, Ruby Sales, founder and director of The SpiritHouse Project. Ruby Sales is one of the most consistent national voices against the police killings of unarmed African Americans across the country.

This webinar will look at the killing of Michael Brown and the events that have followed in Ferguson and around the nation through the hermeneutic lens of Jesus’ identification with the “least of these.” “Following Jesus to Ferguson” will be a probing and insightful inquiry into the state-sanctioned racial profiling of Black and Brown communities, the militarization of the police and the trauma experienced by communities in the wake of police violence.

Two months later and the Brown family, the Ferguson community and a nation of concerned citizens continue to wait on the justice system as the church remains largely silent and indifferent. In Dr. Vincent Harding’s 1967 speech, “The Beggars are Rising, Where are the Saints?,” he challenged the church with these words: “The beggars are rising. The beggars are marching. And Christ is in their midst. Where are the saints? Are we now the lame, paralyzed because of fear, swaying under the weight of dignity, captured by the power of our possessions? Where are the saints?”

Join us as we follow Jesus to Ferguson.

Click here for webinar.

Panelists:

Ruby Sales, Founder and Director, The SpiritHouse Project

Lorraine Stutzman Amstutz, Restorative Justice Coordinator, MCC U.S.

Michelle Armster, Transitional Executive Director, MCC Central States

Pam Nath, Co-Coordinator, New Orleans Program, MCC Central States

Saulo Padilla, Immigration Coordinator, MCC U.S.

Titus Peachey, Peace Education Coordinator, MCC U.S.

Moderator: Ewuare Osayande, Anti-Oppression Coordinator, MCC U.S.

For more information: EwuareOsayande@mcc.org