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THE CHAIR'S WORD



FROM THE DESK OF THE SOCIAL ACTION DIRECTOR



REPORTS













WELCOME

Welcome to the official website of the AME Social Action Commission. We are representative of the ongoing fight for Civil Rights and Social Justice in this country, and uplift and educate throughout all of our endeavors, as Social Action is basic to ministry in African Methodism.

The African Methodist Episcopal Church has a unique and glorious history. It was unique in that it is the first major religious denomination in the Western World that had its origin over sociological and theological beliefs and differences. It rejected the negative theological interpretations which rendered persons of African descent second class citizens. Theirs was a theological declaration that God is God all the time and for every body. The church was born in protest against slavery - against dehumanization of African people, brought to the American continent as labor.

The Mission of the African Methodist Episcopal Church is to minister to the spiritual, intellectual, physical, emotional, and environmental needs of all people by spreading Christ's liberating gospel through word and deed. At every level of the Connection and in every local church, the African Methodist Episcopal Church shall engage in carrying out the spirit of the original Free African Society, out of which the AME Church evolved: that is, to seek out and save the lost, and serve the needy.



BLACK LIVES MATTER


(Los Angeles) The Social Action Commission (SAC) supports the call of Senior Bishop John R. Bryant in asking all members of the African Methodist Episcopal Church to wear black to church on December 14th, the second Sunday of this month. Wearing black is intended to send a message that "Black life has value." Over the last several months we have seen unarmed Blacks killed by police, and grand juries have not indicted any police, even when there was a video showing the Black male being choked by police and saying "I can't breathe." By wearing black each of us can individually affirm that our lives have value. It is important that we individually and collectively express our belief that our lives have value.

We also call upon every pastor to speak to his/her congregation about the events of the last few weeks and encourage the members and visitors, by reminding them that while these are difficult days, "right will win." While we grieve the deaths of each of our brothers, we are especially grieved and saddened by the senseless shooting by Cleveland, Ohio police of Tamir Rice, a 12 years old playing with a pellet gun in a park. We must affirm that Black life has value. It is important that pastors shepherd their congregations at this difficult time. God does have a word for the living and facing of these days.

During the worship service pastors are also asked to call those who will, to come to the altar and offer prayer that God will intervene to end the demonic pattern of killing unarmed Blacks, and that God will give us faith and courage "for the facing of these days." Let us also pray that God will heal our land, and bring about reconciliation.

Every Bishop, Presiding Elder, Pastor and Congregant is asked to post this notice on Facebook, Twitter and whatever social media you use, as well as by phone and word of mouth. Let's get the word out.

This Sunday (December 7th), every pastor should urge all worshippers to wear "black" to church following Sunday (December 14th).

The Social Action Commission (SAC) also asks each AME to lift us in prayer as we seek to have legislation introduced to reform our system of justice, specifically our grand jury system which should impartially review the conduct and behavior of law enforcement. We propose in these situations that a special prosecutor be appointed to investigate and handle the case. County prosecutors who manage these cases under the present system have proven to be biased and subject to conflicts of interest. The SAC will reach out to other partners to support and shape this effort.

The Word of God calls upon us to "pray at all times," and certainly these times require us to pray. We call and ask everyone to join us in prayer and ask for divine intervention. Stay in touch via the SAC website - www.ame-sac.com. Share any stories you have about Wear Black Sunday, incidents in your community, and advocacy actions in which you are involved. You are called for such a time as this!

Bishop Reginald T. Jackson
Chair, The AMEC Social Action Commission
Sistah "Jackie" Dupont Walker, Director


__________________________________


Bishop John R. Bryant, Senior Bishop of the AME Church having issued an invitation for CHRISTIAN LEADERS to designate SUNDAY DECEMBER 14, 2014 as "BLACK LIFE MATTERS SUNDAY" throughout the United States of America has begun to receive a broad range of ECUMENICAL SOLIDARITY.

Among whom are:
Presiding Bishop Neil Ellis
Bishop Joseph Walker
Dr. Cynthia L. Hale
President Samuel Tolbert
President James Perkins
Bishop George Battle
Bishop Lawrence Reddick
Presiding Bishop Charles Blake
Archbishop J. Delano Ellis
Bishop Charles Ellis
Black Presbyterians of Southern California
Dr. Otis Moss III
Bishop Brazier
Dr. Barbara Williams Skinner
Dr. Teresa Fry Brown
Presiding Bishop Paul Morton
(THIS LIST WILL BE UPDATED REGULARLY)

The REQUEST is 3 FOLD: 1. Reach out to community members and ask those who attend to wear Black

2. Conduct A SPECIAL ALTAR CALL for young men and boys PRAYING GOD's COVERING over their souls, their lives, their families and their Destinies

3. BUY BLACK during this CHRISTMAS SEASON

__________________________________


PLEASE SHARE THIS WITH CLERGY & LAITY TO SPREAD THE WORD.



STATEMENT OF THE SAC RE: GRAND JURY DECISION IN THE KILLING OF MICHAEL BROWN

The Social Action Commission of the African Methodist Episcopal Church joins with many others across the nation in expressing disappointment and frustration with the failure of the grand jury in St. Louis County, Missouri to bring an indictment against Police officer Darren Wilson in the August 9th killing of unarmed teenager Michael Brown. Let us be clear, our disappointment and frustration is not with the members of the grand jury, but with Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon and St. Louis County Prosecutor Robert P. McCulloch. Because of the ties of family members and other connections with police, Gov. Nixon was asked and urged to appoint a special prosecutor to handle this matter, but he refused. Clearly, there were questions of objectivity and independence raised to the governor, but he brushed them aside and allowed the county prosecutor to pursue this matter.

St. Louis County Prosecutor McCulloch from the very beginning has mishandled this case. The purpose of the grand jury is not to decide guilt or innocence, but only to determine whether or not there is probable cause to send the case to trial. Ninety nine percent of the time a prosecutor will present a case to the grand jury and suggest the charge or charges they are pursuing and the grand jury will agree. In this case the prosecutor simply gave all the information to the grand jury without explanation and without seeking charges, but left all decisions to the grand jury. This is highly unusual. The best and fairest decision for the prosecutor would have been to forego the grand jury, and send the matter to trial, where Officer Brown would be ensured of due process. We do not convict Officer Wilson, he may be innocent of anything wrong or illegal, but only a trial can determine that, and the grand jury has decided that will not happen. Because of this, Officer Wilson fairly or unfairly is guilty in the eyes of many in this country, particularly Blacks.

This grand jury had no credibility whatsoever. Grand jury proceedings are supposed to be confidential, yet we read in the New York Times, Washington Post, other newspapers, on television and other social media the proceedings in the grand jury, all favorable to Officer Wilson. Now the grand jury's decision not to indict Officer Wilson has further divided an already divided and polarized nation. This decision by the grand jury is about more than Michael Brown, it is about the lack of value and loss of life of so many young blacks, particularly males, who are unarmed and killed by law enforcement and others under the guise of "standing their ground." This lack of indictment is a continuation of no one being held accountable and justifying the claim of those who kill blacks saying they "feared for their lives." Indeed as County Prosecutor McCulloch

The Social Action Commission supports those who protest the grand jury's decision. This decision cannot be accepted silently or without response. We expect and the nation should not be surprised that there will be protest across the country. This is about more than Michael Brown and Ferguson, Missouri. The killing of young blacks is a national problem, and this does not excuse or ignore blacks killing blacks, which we also abhor and work to seek to end. While we support those who protest this grand jury's decision, we call upon protesters to be peaceful and non-violent. Protesters must not give credibility to those who expect protesters to loot and rob, to be violent and destructive. We must show those who expect the worse of us a more excellent way.

It is also important that the grand jury's word fail to be the last word as it relates to the continued killing of young blacks. The last word must be our determination to learn from our tragedies, to draw closer to each other and to value ourselves. This includes ending the cycle of blacks killing blacks, of us committing to expect the best of each other and having each other's back. Through our protest let us call the nation to repentance, and challenge it to come out of denial about our unresolved issue with race. While we protest let us pray for our nation, the Brown family and each other. We are people of faith, and we will keep the faith, even in these disappointing and frustrating times.

We call upon the African Methodist Episcopal Church to be in prayer, both personally and collectively and to recommit ourselves to justice and the work of our Lord's kingdom on earth.

Bishop Reginald T. Jackson
Chair, The AMEC Social Action Commission




THE COUNCIL OF BISHOPS STATEMENT ON THE
GRAND JURY DECISION IN THE KILLING OF MICHAEL BROWN


The Council of Bishops of the African Methodist Episcopal Church joins with many others in expressing our disappointment and frustration with the failure of the grand jury in St. Louis County, Missouri to indict Police Officer Darren Wilson in the August 9th killing of unarmed teenager Michael Brown. Our concern is not merely with the decision of the grand jury, but also with the lack of objectivity and fairness on the part of Missouri Governor Jay Nixon and St. Louis County Prosecutor Robert P. McCulloch.

The Council of Bishops protests the grand jury's decision and the manner in which this case has been handled. We cannot accept this decision silently or without response. Our cry is about more than Michael Brown and Ferguson, Missouri. Black citizens, and all who live in the United States, deserve fair, sensitive service from law enforcement as we encourage and appreciate those officers of the law who risk their lives to justly protect our communities. Moreover, our judicial system should be one of integrity, placing justice in everyone's reach.

As we join those who seek justice beyond this grand jury's decision, we call upon protesters to be peaceful and non-violent. Protesters must not give credibility to those who anticipate looting, violence and destruction. We must show a more excellent way.

It is also important that the grand jury's decision is not the last word as it relates to the continued killing of young black people. The last word must be the success of God's justice and our determination to learn from our tragedies, to draw closer to each other and to value ourselves. We must work to end violence in our communities by committing to expect the best of each other and having each other's back.

Through our protest, the Council of Bishops calls those of us who call the United States of America "home" to repent and challenges us all to acknowledge that racial and racialized class injustices continue to mar the moral character of our nation. While we protest, let us pray for our country, the Brown Family and each other. We are people of faith, and we will keep the faith, even in these disappointing and frustrating times.

We call upon the congregants of our Zion and community to be in prayer, both personally and collectively, and to recommit ourselves to justice and the work of our Lord's kingdom on earth.

Faithfully,

Jeffrey N. Leath
President, The Council of Bishops




MY BROTHER'S KEEPER: CREATING OPPORTUNITY FOR BOYS AND YOUNG MEN OF COLOR


"There are a lot of kids out there who need help, who are getting a lot of negative reinforcement. And is there more that we can do to give them the sense that their country cares about them and values them and is willing to invest in them?"
- President Obama, July 19, 2013


The data proves it: Boys and young men of color - regardless of where they come from - are disproportionately at risk from their youngest years through college and the early stages of their professional lives.

By the time they hit fourth grade, 86 percent of African American boys and 82 percent of Hispanic and Native American boys are reading below proficiency levels - compared to 58 percent of white fourth graders reading below proficiency levels. Source: U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences, National Center for Education Statistics, National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), 2013 Reading Assessments

African American and Hispanic young men are more than six times as likely to be victims of murder than their white peers - and account for almost half of the country's murder victims each year...MORE >>








 








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