The program “Last Words…from a SOCIAL JUSTICE perspective!” organized by the Interfaith Action Movement (I AM), which held on Saturday, April 3, 2021 was a glorious eye-opener concerning the role of Jesus Christ as a social justice crusader during His earthly ministry.
Addressed by leading clerics speaking on different topics focusing on social justice, the Virtual program was both a spiritual as well as a social justice crusade.
It also showed the clerics who spoke as not only spirit filled but fiery pro-people crusaders for social justice in a clearly unjust society.
From the opening prayers by Rev. Dorothy Petterson to the Introductory Remarks by the Leader of I AM, Rev. Derrick Green, the stage was set for what turned out to be very exciting, enlightening and motivating presentations by seven clerics who did justice to their subjects.
The program was admirably moderated by Rev. Louise Scott-Roundtree.
Rev. Dr. Kimberly K. Holmes spoke on “Silence as Complicity,” Rev. Green spoke on “Unjust Sentencing,” Rev. Raul Ruiz spoke on “Your Silence Will Not Protect You” while Aaron Carrington, who, understandably became overwhelmed by emotions along the way, eloquently communicated the pains of the new age in his presentation, “Generational Trauma.”
Rev. Dr. Toyin Laoye, with much energy and conviction, bluntly made it clear that the Black and Brown communities still thirst for justice in an oppressive, unjust system still marked by endemic racism in her presentation, “I Thirst for Justice.” Rev. Thurselle C. Williams spoke passionately on “The Complete Work of Justice,” while Rev. Dr. Colette Michelle brought the presentations to a pulsating end with her talk on “The DNA of Character.”
The presentations drew heavily from the last words of Jesus on the Cross to show that the Messiah was actively involved in social issues and passionately cared for the oppressed and disadvantaged. But also very importantly, the presentations were laced with the personal experiences of the speakers which gave them real life, every day color and relevance.
The highly motivated and appreciative audience kept urging the speakers on through posts on the chat box, and at the end of the presentations, Rev. Catina Jackson gave a picture perfect summation of the proceedings including the musical interludes, especially the rendition of “I Wish I Was Never Born,” by Raphael Gentles.
Some of the key points made include the fact that we must address social issues through prayers (as Rev. Green said that members of I AM do during their daily prayer sessions); that we must recognize that Jesus was also political (a social justice crusader); that Jesus is our model to follow; that we must speak truth to power; that unjust laws and the harsh sentencing regime must be redressed; that some silence are loud shouts against injustice and abuses and that we must lend our voices to denunciation of injustice wherever it rears its ugly head.
The point was also forcefully made that the education, health, judicial, political etc systems must no longer continue to forsake the Black and Brown communities; that the mystery of the Cross is about justice; that all injustice must be crushed in the US and everywhere and that Jesus will surely give justice to all that are traumatized.
It was also unequivocally stated that Jesus fulfilled His mission on earth and that all must go ahead to fight the good fight of faith (especially the fight for social justice) so as to complete our own tasks and be qualified for commendation by God; and very importantly, that we must die to self and be ready to make sacrifices for the well being of others as Jesus did for us.
The program was, indeed, a great way to celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
I AM is led by Rev. Derrick L. Green, Senior Adviser for Diversity, Faith, Urban and Regional Growth for New Jersey Governor Phil D. Murphy and I AM aims “to address the spiritual, social and economic needs of under-served and marginalized communities.”