The CME Commission on Social Justice and Human Concerns Calls for Justice for Trayvon Martin(March 28, 2012) The Commission on Social Justice and Human Concerns of the Christian Methodist Episcopal (CME) Church stands with all religious and civic organizations in the demand for justice in the unprovoked slaying of 17-year old African American, Trayvon Martin by 28-year-old neighborhood watch volunteer, George Zimmerman.
On behalf of the College of Bishops and all CMEs, we extend our deepest condolences to Tracey Martin (father), Sybrina Fulton (mother), and the entire family.
The Commission stands with the parents, community and civil rights organizations, and local churches in demanding the prosecution of Zimmerman, and for a full and thorough investigation into the handling of the Trayvon Martin case by the Sanford Police Department and the City of Sanford, Florida. We also stand with community leaders across the country who are calling for a repeal of the dangerous “Stand Your Ground” law that is shielding Martin’s killer. The Commission also expresses appreciation for the role of social media in stoking the flames of awareness of this case, which apparently authorities wish to cover-up. We must begin to invest in our existing and new networking substructures to aid in the organizing of our work together to stand for our children.
In the wake of this tragic and incomprehensible killing, we must be evermore vigilant in our efforts to surround, support and save our Black children. Like the brutal slaying of Emmitt Till on August 28, 1955, the shooting of Trayvon Martin once again brings to our national consciousness the appalling plight of Black boys growing up in America. We are grateful to popular personalities like Tom Joyner and Michael Baisden who, like Ebony/Jet publisher John H. Johnson did fifty-seven years ago with the Emmitt Till story, trumpeted this case to their national audience and demanded proper attention be given. Now we as the Black Church must pick up the baton and once again lead the social movement for justice.
We salute Ben Jealous and the NAACP, Rev. Al Sharpton and the National Action Network, and Rev. Jesse Lewis Jackson, Sr. and Rainbow/PUSH for their critical courageous leadership in bringing clarity and conscience to the fight for justice in the Trayvon Martin incident. We call upon all Black Churches and all religious organizations in the nation to concerted prayer for justice in the Trayvon Martin case and encourage all congregations to observe a “Moment of Prayer for Black Children” on Easter/Resurrection Sunday. We also call for the implementation of Rites of Passage Programs, as suggested by the 2010 Great Gathering of Combined Black Methodist bodies. In our efforts, we must work to more effectively address the issues of education, employment, healthcare and social ethics—from social media to rap music—to develop our boys and girls in safe, supportive environments to be strong moral leaders. We must protect our children from racial profiling, as is evident in this case, and also protect them from the psychologically debilitating and spiritually demonic impacts of racism upon their minds and hearts that create the conditions for fratricidal conflict within the Black community—including Black-on-Black homicide, domestic violence, rape and incest. Furthermore, we must partner with local schools and youth organizations to help educate, inspire and mentor our children through programs like One Church One School and the Children’s Defense Fund Freedom Schools.
Lastly, we must realize that the issues surrounding the Trayvon Martin case are not short-term issues, but long-term issues that require deep commitment and investment. Therefore we call upon our national religious, educational, political, business, and civil rights leaders, across the spectrums of race and political party, to convene a national summit to address the critical issues facing our Black youth today.
The Christian Methodist Episcopal Church, under the leadership of Senior Bishop Thomas L. Hoyt, Jr. and its College of Bishops, is a 141-year old historically African American Christian denomination with more than 1.2 million members across the United States, and has missions and sister churches in Haiti, Jamaica and fourteen African nations. There are four CME related colleges, Lane College (Jackson, TN), Miles College (Birmingham, AL), Paine College (Augusta, GA) and Texas College (Tyler, TX). There is additionally a CME sponsored seminary, Phillips School of Theology, which is an affiliate member of the Interdenominational Theological Center (Atlanta, GA). For additional information about the C.M.E. Church, visit www.c-m-e.org .
Senior Bishop Thomas L. Hoyt, Jr., CEO
Bishop Paul A. G. Stewart, Sr.
Bishop Lawrence L. Reddick, III
Bishop Henry M. Williamson, Sr.,
Bishop Thomas L. Brown, Sr.
Bishop Kenneth W. Carter
Bishop James B. Walker, Chair
Bishop Sylvester Williams, Sr.
Bishop Teresa Snorton
Bishop Godwin T. Umoette
Bishop William H. Graves, Retired
Bishop Othal H. Lakey, Retired
Bishop Edward Lynn Brown, Retired
Bishop Ronald M. Cunningham, Retired
Bishop Dotcy I. Isom, Jr., Retired
Bishop Marshall Gilmore, Retired