Due to the continued spread of the highly contagious Delta variant of COVID-19, we have made the difficult decision to postpone the Race and Power in America Summit until December 2022.
Please know we don’t make this decision lightly. We consider the Race and Power Summit to be a central part of our fight for racial equity in the United States, and we consider gathering in person to be essential to the Race and Power Summit. However, we must prioritize the safety of our leaders, staff and communities.
We will continue working to make Race and Power 2022 a success and will keep you apprised of our plans as they are solidified. To stay up-to-date with our work around racial equity, keep an eye on our Transformational Justice in Action Campaign and our Civil Rights of Immigrants Campaign.
Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family of AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, as well as to his sisters and brothers in the labor movement. A coal-miner and member of the United Mine Workers—like his father before him—and the grandson of immigrants, President Trumka never forgot his roots as he rose to power in the labor movement. He was instrumental in moving and keeping the issues of working people in the center of public discourse.
Our Network will remember him for his deep commitment to racial justice, both inside and outside organized labor. We will remember his commitment to workers’ rights, regardless of race, gender, or immigration status. We will remember him for his efforts to move unions toward a green economy, calling out climate deniers. And we will remember him as a leader who understood that workers’ rights are civil rights.
May his life and courageous leadership inspire us to intensify our efforts to secure justice for working people in this country and around the world.
The Board of Directors, staff and affiliates of the Gamaliel Network join in prayer for the family of George Floyd, residents of Minneapolis and across the country, as the emotions of joy and jubilation flow in response to the historic verdict in the Derek Chauvin trial.
We realize that while justice is an unattainable ideal in these cases, we will continue to push for the accountability of those who recklessly enforce laws in this country and for legislative reform in states that continue to shield such misconduct through qualified immunity statutes.
The pressure of “good trouble” has only begun to build the dam that will eventually stop the turbulent flow of the waters of injustice.
Gamaliel stands in protest and mourning against the brutal death of Daunte Wright at the hands of police officers April 11. We stand with the Brooklyn Center, MN and Minneapolis/St. Paul communities as they cry out against this latest injustice and mourn the death of another senseless police shooting of a Black man.
It is not lost on us that like George Floyd, Daunte Wright died because of the knee jerk, violent reaction of a veteran police officer to a nonviolent situation. It is not lost on us that once again, we are asked to look upon these officers with compassion and a violent death as a simple mistake, as if our ability to see these perpetrators as human will restore the human life and dignity stolen from Daunte Wright and George Floyd.
Gamaliel will not accept the excuses offered by the Brooklyn Center Police Department and Minneapolis Police Department. We will not accept the continued and continuous police violence against Black and Brown people across the country.
We call for a thorough investigation into the death of Daunte Wright. We demand full accountability for the officers responsible for his death, and police reform throughout our country. We invite all people who are also disgusted by police violence join our Transformational Justice in Action team and work with us toward criminal justice reform.
The following is a statement from Rev. Dr. John C. Welch, Chair of Gamaliel’s Board of Directors, on the act of terrorism against the Asian population in Atlanta on March 16, 2021.
In 1995, Timothy McVeigh terrorized Oklahoma City. In 1996, Eric Rudolph terrorized Centennial Olympic Park in Atlanta, GA. In 1999, Eric Harris and Dylan Kliebold terrorized the town of Columbine, CO. In 2012, Adam Lanza terrorized Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT. In 2017, Stephen Paddock terrorized Las Vegas, NV. In 2015, Dylann Roof terrorized the Mother Emmanuel congregation in Charleston, SC. In 2018, Nikolas Cruz terrorized the Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School, in Parkland, FL. In 2019, Patrick Crusius terrorized patrons at a Walmart in El Paso, TX. This is a list of just a few incidents of domestic terrorism that has faded from the proverbial memory of this country.
The shooting at the spa in Atlanta where eight people were killed, six of whom were Asian women, is just another note in the litany of terroristic acts of violence. To not characterize this as a racially motivated act against Asians, spawned by the discriminating false narratives associating them with the Coronavirus will be a miscarriage of justice. This parade of lies and mischaracterizations has stoked a venomous assault against Asians in this country.
These terroristic embers have never been fully extinguished, embers lit and fanned by the ideology of White supremacy. Black Americans, Latinos and Asians have long been the targets of bigoted vitriol and violence, hatred too often witnessed by a great number of apathetic minds and unsympathetic hearts — but more importantly, witnesses who are unwilling to extinguish the hatred.
We cannot be a land of liberty and still live in fear. We cannot be the land of liberty under a misguided and misinterpreted constitutional right to bear arms, a freedom of speech that allows for unrestrained hate to be spoken from the mouths of the most powerful people in our country and others, and an explicit undermining of our democracy. Hate against Asians is no different than hate against Indigenous peoples, against Blacks, and against Latinos. White supremacy has been the problem since the founding of our country and will continue to be until we the people destroy it at its roots.
As people of faith, we have a greater witness for whom we are obligated to take action. It is the God whose name we have attached to the founding documents of this country and whose name we have attached to the currency of our economy. We may have forgotten the lives lost to domestic terrorism at the hands of White supremacists, but God has not. God also has not and will not forget our inaction. Let us not continue to forget and instead move into prayer and action.
Gamaliel’s first-ever online fundraiser, We Are Gamaliel: Passport to Power, was held Saturday, February 27 and live streamed to multiple platforms. The live streams and video recordings have been viewed more than 1,000 times, and the event brought in over $26,000 in investments.
The evening was a virtual journey through Gamaliel, complete with tour guides Catoya Roberts, Gary Enrique Bradley-Lopez and Rev. John Welch. Affiliates from each state where Gamaliel operates contributed videos that highlighted their work at the local level. Gamaliel National Staff, Board of Directors members, and sustainers were also on hand to discuss Gamaliel’s National Strategic Priorities and the importance of the Network in building power across the country.
Gamaliel also took the opportunity to honor Rev. David Bigsby, who plans to retire in 2021. Rev. Bigsby has served in a variety of capacities across the Gamaliel Network for more than two decades. As President of Gamaliel of Metro Chicago, President of Gamaliel of Illinois and Iowa, Chair of the Gamaliel Council of Presidents, and Member of the Gamaliel Board of Directors (just to name a few positions he has held), Rev. Bigsby has advanced the need to develop religious leaders in the attitudes, arts, disciplines, and spirituality of community organizing.
In honor of Rev. Bigsby, Gamaliel announced the Rev. David Bigsby Religious Leaders’ Development Fund, which will continue Gamaliel’s tradition of training religious leaders to ask the hard questions of what it means to be a community of faith in this time and place, act with courage, and respond to the needs of millions of people crying out for purpose, for hope, for connection, and for the power to transform their communities. With the help of investors eager to show their appreciation for Rev. Bigsby’s work and legacy, Gamaliel met its goal of “seeding” the Fund with $5,000 raised during We Are Gamaliel. Contributions to the Fund will continue to be accepted indefinitely through Gamaliel’s main investment page. Those who wish to designate their contribution to the Fund should mark the investment in honor of Rev. Bigsby.