After Trayvon Martin, African American pastors vow to be more than worship leaders

Hamil Harris Normally when Bishop Samuel Kelsey talks about sodas and candy in July it is in the context of … Continued


Hamil Harris

Normally when Bishop Samuel Kelsey talks about sodas and candy in July it is in the context of the Vacation Bible School at the New Samaritan Baptist Church in Northeast Washington.

But Wednesday afternoon Kelsey and a host of District community and church leaders listened as Trayvon Martin’s father talked about the Skittles and tea his son was carrying just before he was fatally shot by George Zimmerman.

“What can we do as parents, what can we do as African Americans?” Martin asked during the hearing, “to ensure that our kids that don’t have to be afraid to walk out in front of your house and go to the store and get a bag of Skittles and ice tea?”

Kelsey said in an interview that the shooting of Trayvon Martin and trial at George Zimmerman represents the struggles that go on with people young and old in his church. “I got a call from a senior citizen in my church saying ‘they are saying all of this stuff but a young boy is dead.’”

“Trayvon represents young African American men around the country who are not caught up in this or that and can not just die,” said Kelsey who also took part in a rally in front of the Justice Department where the Rev. Al Sharpton and more than a dozen pastors talked about how Florida would be the “battle ground,” to fight the Stand Your Ground laws in 30 states.

But Tracy Martin, Trayvon’s father, said during the hearing that the activity now needs to lead to something permanent.

“Fifty years from now, when I am dead and gone I hope that the name of Trayvon Martin name is attached to some type of statue or amendment that says you can’t just profile our children, shoot them in the heart and kill them and say you were defending yourself.”

From Capitol Hill to the plaza in front of the Justice Department, national and local Civil Rights leaders and linked up with pastors this week to publicly asked the question as to what will happen in the wake of the Trayvon Martin saga.

“It is not just a moment, it is a movement,” said Bishop Jamal Bryant, pastor of Empowerment Temple in Baltimore. “There is a need for a real sustained plan. Young African Americans in particular just don’t want a ‘rah rah’ moment but they want to talk about implementation focusing on an economic agenda as well as Stand Your Ground.”

While said some pastors don’t think clergy should get involved in Civil Rights issues, Bryant said people can’t be fooled into thinking that times have changed.

“Many people dilute themselves to think that just because we have a black president racism doesn’t exist, but if you look at the last three weeks, the verdict, he dismantling of voter rights and Paula Dean all within a 14 day period it is glaring apparent that we have work to do.”

Bishop Lanier Twyman, pastor of St. Stephens Baptist Church in Temple Hills and state president of the Full Gospel Baptist Fellowship, said “We have an obligation to speak truth to power as it pertains to justice. Mr. Zimmerman shot an unarmed man, a minor, we as an African American community have the responsibility to speak for the dead.”

Larry West, pastor of Mt. Airy Baptist Church in Northwest and Chairman of the Board of the National Baptist Convention USA Inc, said after he learned of the verdict, “I became angry.”

“I became angry because I didn’t understand how a young boy 17 years old could be walking home doing nothing and lose his life and nobody be responsible for it,” West said. “We will mobilized we will come together and we are in this fight for the long haul.”

Rev. Kendrid Curry, pastor of the Pennsylvania Avenue Baptist Church, said whether it is fighting against “Stand Your Ground,” in Florida or livable wages in D.C., African American pastors have to be more than worship leaders.

“This is a time for the church to rise up,” Curry said “We have to stand our ground based on ethical issues, we have to look at what is happening in our community. How many young blacks boys die because of senseless violence?”

D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton (D) and Rep. Danny Davis (D-Ill.) held the packed hearing Wednesday afternoon on black men that included Tracy Martin, Attorney Benn Crump, Professor Michael Eric Dyson and former congressman Kweisi Mfume.

“It is the tragedy of Trayvon Martin,” Davis said. But it is also all of the conditions that created the environment where this tragedy has taken place.”

In terms of the case, Crump said, “It is very important that we can make something positive out of something negative.”

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  • public opinion is manufactured

    Be honest. Race-baiting is a profitable industry. The outrage is manufactured for proft. It is not genuine. And like the boy who cried wolf, everyone else’s patience and goodwill is running out.

  • chrisbrown12

    If you want good examples of “racist” comments see below: Discriminatied One and Bob Richards. I doubt if they are paid for their mean-mindedness and hate which are tolerated by the Post.

  • chrisbrown12

    D1: I don’t care for “liberals” much and don’t believe in the concept race outside of talking about horses and dogs. Where is the profit in pumping up the hatred between self-defined groups. As we are talkig about “race”. What ethnic group do you think a Zimmerman comes from? A hint it’s not a Spanish name.

  • akpat

    Perhaps the leadership of the African american community should spend more time explaining to their flocks that its time for men to look after their women and kids and not dump them. That its time to get rid of the gang culture and music, and that its not acceptable to sit on someone and beat them without mercy..

  • EldonPittman

    And the next day, it was business as usual!

  • doubtfull

    A bigger bunch of hypocrites and phoneys never walked the earth- you get tough lady’s see where it gets you

  • doubtfull

    correct- they play slap and tickle with ‘ their flock’

  • black powder

    What responsibility do we as parents play in the life choices our boys make?

  • black powder

    Can we prevent our boys from suscumbing to gang banger mentality (dropped drawers, fighting, drugs, violent music, etc.), and its inevitable outcomes?

  • Carla Hunt

    I though there was suppose to be separation of church and state? How about these self-appointed, non-tax paying race baiters staying out of politics.

  • doubtfull

    I think that a whole lot of white people are haveing their hand forced finally. Whites -on the whole- are tired. If we get going I dont think there will be much, in any community to stop us. It may go back to what many think of as ‘ the bad old days’

  • Chad Crouse

    I wake up every morning and pray that there will be no articles on this topic, and am let down every time.
    Can we just let it go, people. Life is too short.

  • doubtfull

    we are not allowed to let ‘ it’ go. if we try we are only victimized once again by the very groups who cry ‘ we are being descriminated against’

  • jstmegan

    I’m having to a problem with a 17 year old buying skittles and watermelon fruit juice cocktail=adding ROBITUSSUM Cough syrup to make a coctail called GLEEM…which he already used as his autopsy
    showed he was having liver damage using this cocktail…and his father wanting to have a STATUE made of him? well……………TM WAS NOT A MARTYR? this statue will be taken down…..he was NOT A SAINT…he was suspended from school many times prior to his death….had he lived he would have been charged with BURGLARIES he committed…beating up a bus driver….burglary tools in a backpack found in his locker, stolen jewlry…….enough already…his parents are grieving for the loss of their son, and it was a tradgedy, but these parents did NOT do all they should have for him when he was alive, now they are trying to make up for their bad parenting? not so in my eyes will this happen~ America has spoken … GZ IS INNOCENT

  • jstmegan

    When STAND YOUR GROUND became LAW…..NO ONE CARED…..you should have spoken up then~now your using a shooting of a BLACK YOUTH to say it’s not a good law? there was many many white and black youths killed by a gun in DRIVEBYS…..where the victims didn’t have a chance to fight back….I back the STAND YOUR GROUND LAW and that GZ is INNOCENT of defending himself~ God Bless AMERICA

  • doubtfull

    Martin was a thug, his mom – while pathetic- is a shining example of what not to do with your kids. My son succomend to drugs and died, In part I am responsible cause I was ” not watching the store” so I have little sympathy for her greif. My son is dead to lady but I dont blame a black man who sold him the drugs- My son killed himself by his actions as did yours

  • Jennifer Goltman

    Here is an ‘ethical issue’: Skittles and Watermelon Tea are the prime ingredients for Purple Drank, a drug known throughout the thug-world to cause angry rages…

  • hinckleybuzzard

    “What can we do as parents, what can we do as African Americans?” Martin asked

    Here’s an idea–how about teaching your children to be law abiding citizens instead of druggie burglars, gansta wannabes and thugs.

  • xzyxcy

    trayvon grab and smash him head—- that be why him he now be dead. jZ him one stupid man, not unerstan him afri-kan. smash whitie head, him be fight back put him bullet to stop the attack. affirmative action not good for knee-bros, need to stop watchin them daytime tv shows. get a job and work and study–than the way to get the money.

  • Hopeliz57

    The most instructive thing about these comments is that, without fail, the racists can’t spell and fail at grammar and the ability to write a cohesive and grammatical sentence. Chris Brown is one of the only commentators on this story that seems to have an IQ above 60.

  • quiensabe

    Are any pastors prepared to do more than lead worship in the case of the black who shot the child in the face and killed it?

  • MAry Stoval-Turman

    I have you know that is not what the majority of black parent teach their children. Take the
    blinders off and see further than what the media portrays for the less informed.

  • MAry Stoval-Turman

    We as parents and grandparents ,whoever has the prime responsibility of training the child.
    It is our duty to teach good moral standards and self respect to the child. Also use Godly
    principals as we instruct.

  • Kim Alwaysonmybest Randall

    and who in the sams hell are you to say what his parents did or did not do for him???

  • Kim Alwaysonmybest Randall

    u should have blamed the blk man that sodl him drugs, if indeed he was blk

  • alsharpton

    Nope, No money in it. We are looking for mo’ money.

  • alsharpton

    Yes, but can he read cursive?