Wednesday Workshop Detail

Personal Power: Nonviolent Direct Action Community Organizing

This session will examine the historical and philosophical underpinnings of nonviolent direct action, and offer participants the opportunity to better understand nonviolent direct action as an embodied way of being. Space will be provided to discuss and examine contemporary movements in light of the practice of non-violence.

Facilitated by Rev. James M. Lawson, Jr., leading theoretician and tactician of nonviolence and key adviser to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on nonviolent direct action strategies in the Civil Rights Movement, and Rev. Starsky Wilson, President and C.E.O., The Deaconess Foundation.

FULL – Ending Child Poverty: Taking Action Now on Multiple Fronts

Learn about the Children’s Defense Fund’s call to action and plan of action to fulfill our moral imperative to end child poverty in America. Children have only one childhood and it is now. We know what to do. Join CDF in creating the will to take action on multiple fronts. Join us in demanding that our Congressional leaders begin right now to enact the policy improvements in CDF’s report Ending Child Poverty Now that help families work and make work pay and address children’s basic needs for housing, food and child support. Encourage your state and local policymakers to take similar actions at home. And there are many examples of direct actions you can take and are already taking to reduce child poverty in your own communities. Share stories about children and families in need and stories about the effectiveness of community actions. Identify ways to bring together the multiple communities you are involved with to end child poverty.
Facilitated by the Children’s Defense Fund’s Poverty Team

From Sabbath Schools to Freedom Schools: Christian Education for Emancipation

This workshop will demonstrate that “The purpose of Christian Education is to set people free: free to be children of God and free to be co-creators with God.” We will unpack this statement by first exploring the theological anthropology that undergirds it; demonstrate how it’s been engaged historically and presently through the Sabbath schools of the Reconstruction Era, the Freedom Schools conducted during the Summer of 1964, and the Freedom Schools as they are run today through the work of the Children’s Defense Fund; and finally explore why this approach to Christian Education is important.

Facilitated by Dr. Reginald Blount, Assistant Professor of Formation, Youth, and culture at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary and pastor of Arnett Chapel A.M.E. Church in Chicago, IL, and Dr. Virginia A. Lee, Associate Professor of Christian Education and Director of Deacon Studies, Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary

Dignity and Power: Leadership from Formerly Caged

Join us for this participatory session exploring the criminalization of people of color and those who are impoverished and practical possibilities for ongoing partnerships with those who have been caught in the cradle to prison pipeline.

Facilitated by Cadeem Gibbs, Nafeesah Goldsmith, James Nelson, Ndume Olatushani and Michele Infante

Preaching for Social Change

When Jesus told the disciples to go and make disciples of all nations, what did he really mean? This workshop will give you the courage to preach, teach and lead with a commitment to nonviolence and social transformation.

Facilitated by Rev. Dr. Otis Moss, Jr., Proctor Co-Pastor-in-Residence, civil rights activist, former co-pastor with Dr. Martin Luther King, Sr., and senior pastor emeritus of Olivet Institutional Baptist Church in Cleveland.  

Full – Protecting Children Not Guns: Take Action Now

All children in America should be guaranteed the right to live, learn and grow up safely—free from violence and fear. This workshop will explore opportunities to engage in advocacy and direct action to protect children not guns. Learn how you and your place of worship can highlight and respond to the need to stop our nation’s gun violence epidemic which kills 8 children and teens each day.

Facilitated by CDF Staff 

Who Can I Run To? The Quest to Make Congregations Places of Celebration and Safety for LGBTQ Youth and Families—Bible Study on Jairus’ Daughter

This workshop is not a workshop! We’ll be engaging an interactive and participatory bible study using the Mark account of Jairus’ daughter. How can our religious traditions empower us to advocate for the children the world has already imagined as “trouble” or “a bother?” This bible study is designed specifically to address the harm that Christian communities have historically perpetuated against LGBTQIA+ children. While all are invited to attend, this session will intentionally focus on Christian responsibility for liberation and Christian texts.

Facilitated by Minister Candace Simpson, Faith and Justice Educator for the United Methodist Women and Associate Minister at Concord Baptist Church of Christ in Brooklyn, NY.

Dismantling Racism

The Church has played a significant role in establishing racism as an acceptable practice both in the US and globally.  This has been true historically with mainline churches providing biblical justification for slavery, colonialism, and apartheid.  It continues to be true today with many churches remaining silent in the face of structural racism represented by police brutality or the Cradle to Prison Pipeline.  This workshop is focused on how the Church and church-people can become active participants in the struggle to end racism.  Rev. Naomi Tutu will lead participants in discussions and activities to enable them to go home and help their churches become places actively working to dismantle racism, especially in the US.

Facilitated by Rev. Nontombi Naomi Tutu, speaker, preacher, and founder of Nozizwe Consulting; Rev. Tami Forte Logan, Elder in the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church.

Children and Families Impacted by Changing Immigration: Policy Change and Practical Support

Join Cheasty Anderson (CDF-TX Senior Policy Associate and PIF Steering Committee member) and Maria Hernandez (VELA Executive Director) for a discussion of the many ways changing immigration policies and initiatives are impacting children’s and families’ lives. How can we, as allies, advocates, and activists, best support families as they deal with the traumas caused by family separation, indefinite detention, deportation, criminalization, interruption of health care and education services, and more? What are the needs we can help meet? How do we best advise immigrant families when they look to us for guidance? What are the avenues through which we can advocate with and for immigrant families?

Facilitated by Cheasty Anderson, Senior Policy Associate, CDF Texas, and Maria Hernandez, Executive Director, VELA

Eating and Believing: Religion, Food Justice, and Cultural Formation in Urban Life—Part 1

This 2-day workshop will consider religious, historical, ethical, and culturally centered ways to positively impact communities through the valuing of their religious and culinary cultures. We will give attention to community traditions and resources as the two-part workshop aims to 1) articulate the rich history and culture related to the ways food and faith converge in African American life and, 2) identify the opportunities churches have to improve their own communities by tapping the cultural resources, stories, organizing strategies, and social capital within their proximities.

The workshop will begin with a cultural history of food and faith in African American life. Through an introduction of the concept of “religio-gastro diplomacy,” we will move toward a deep reckoning with the wondrous and complex history of religion and food for a people and communities struggling for human dignity. Here we will survey the vibrant traditions of black agency, even as far back as during enslavement, that undergird contemporary notions of food and religious sovereignty available to communities of color.

The next phase will be to assess the on the ground work of ensuring food security in these communities through the efforts of the church. We will study the work Rev. Heber Brown is doing in Baltimore to specifically bring churches together around this issue through the Black Church Food Security Network, which links Black Churches and Black Farmers in partnership to create a community-controlled, alternative food system based on self-sufficiency and food and land sovereignty.

Facilitated by Dr. Derek S. Hicks, Associate Professor of Religion and Culture at Wake Forest University School of Divinity.

Revives My Soul Again

Join Dr. Victor Anderson and Dr. Lewis Baldwin, editors of Revives My Soul Again: The Spirituality of Martin Luther King, Jr., for continued conversation about the spirituality of Dr. King. As Brandon McCormack notes in the last chapter of the book, Dr. King’s spirituality gave birth to “‘We, as a people, will get to the promised land,’ but also the nonconformist jeremiad he planned to deliver to the nation, ‘America May Go to Hell’?”

Facilitated by Dr. Victor Anderson, Oberlin Theological Professor of Ethics and Society at Vanderbilt Divinity School, and Dr. Lewis V. Baldwin, Visiting Professor, Vanderbilt School of Divinity, editors of Revives My Soul Again: The Spirituality of Martin Luther King, Jr.