On August 22nd, Ewuare Osayande represented Mennonite Central Committee, U.S. at the “Celebration of the Life, Work and Spirit of Dr. Vincent Gordon Harding” held at the Martin Luther King, Jr. International Chapel at Morehouse College in Atlanta, GA. Click the link: Ewuare Osayande Honors Dr. Vincent Harding
Who is My Neighbor?: The Killing of Renisha McBride
Seeking Justice at the Intersection of Race and Gender
Luke 10: 25-37
An MCC Anti-Oppression Teach-In/Webinar
Date: January 28, 2014 (Tuesday)
Time 1 – 3 PM EST
Click the link to register: http://www.mcc.org/usprogramservices/antioppression/whoisneighborregistration
In the early hours of November 2nd, Renisha McBride, 19 year-old African American woman, was shot and killed by Theodore Wafer, a 54 year-old white male, after approaching his home for help in Dearborn Heights, MI. Just hours earlier she had been involved in car accident that left her injured. In her search for help, she would lose her life. The killing of Renisha McBride has much to teach us about the current state of race and gender relations in the United States of America. In the Gospel of Luke, Jesus is approached by a lawyer who asks him “Who is my neighbor?” Jesus’ timeless response is a challenging word to this generation caught at the crossroads of violence and indifference.
On Tuesday, January 28, 2014, a panel of scholars, activists and ministers will share reflections on this case and the story from Luke’s Gospel and what meanings they hold for us today.
Michelle Armster, Transitional Executive Director, MCC Central States
Iris de León-Hartshorn, Director for Transformative Peacemaking, Mennonite Church USA
Wendi O’Neal, Community Organizer New Orleans Program, MCC Central States
Regina Shands Stoltzfus, Assistant Professor, Peace, Justice and Conflict Studies, Goshen College
Lorraine Stutzman Amstutz, Restorative Justice Coordinator, MCC U.S.
Facilitator: Ewuare Osayande, Anti-Oppression Coordinator, MCC U.S.
Join us! Register online today! (This is a FREE internet event)
This past October I had the honor of being the keynote speaker for Southeast Mennonite Conference’s Annual Assembly. The gathering was held from the 4th to the 5th at Iglesia Menonita Arca de Salvacion in sunny Ft. Myers, Florida. The assembly’s theme, “Prophet to the Nations,” was most appropriate given the cultural diversity of Southeast Mennonite Conference. The conference is home to a growing number of Latin American, African American, Haitian and Garifuna congregations. I was blessed to bear witness to a bevy of ministries addressing a variety of social and spiritual concerns.
I was asked to prepare 3 sermons on the following divine statements from the 1st chapter of The Book of Jeremiah: “I Knew You,” “I Sanctified You,” and “I Ordained You.” The audio of the first sermon is available here (the presentation begins at the 7 min. mark): Prophet to the Nations, Pt. 1: I Knew You
Special thanks to Marisa Aleman-Cantu, Program Coordinator for Southeast Mennonite Conference, Pastors David and Madeline Maldonado, Conference Minister Marco Guete and Andrew Bodden, Diverse Constituency Coordinator – MCC East Coast and everyone that attended. Your welcome was as warm as the Florida sun, itself!
Photography by Andrew Bodden.
On October 18, 2013, I gave the devotion at the start of the MCC U.S. board of directors meeting. During the devotion I shared that the work of liberation is central to the Gospel and the work of MCC. I also discussed briefly my work as Anti-Oppression Coordinator with MCC. Click the link to listen: http://chirb.it/Jwm6AA
From February 20 to 22, 2014 The Women in Leadership Project of Mennonite Church USA will host and convene “All You Need is Love: Honoring the Diversity of Women’s Voices in Theology” at the National Conference Center in Leesburg, VA. Registration opens November 1, 2013. MCC’s Anti-Oppression Program is proud to be a sponsor of this dynamic event! Click the poster for more information.
On Tuesday, July 23rd, people of color representing every MCC region in the United States gathered together in beautiful Miami for three historic days of dialogue and fellowship where the love was as bright as the sunshine. Part training, part retreat, “Renewing Our Minds, Restoring Our Souls” was convened with two goals in mind: to reevaluate and reconstitute MCC’s anti-racism analysis and to provide time and space for spiritual reflection and communal fellowship. Anchored by the 23rd Psalms and Romans 12:2, our coming together proved to be a time for sharing love, faith and hope for and with ourselves, our churches, our communities and our MCC!
A better place could not have been chosen. The diversity of our gathering was reflected all around us. A daughter of a MCC coordinator remarked that she felt like she was in a Latin American country. One regional representative stated that she never had to speak English the entire time we were together. Our gathering also reflected the concern of our communities regarding recent events throughout the nation. We expressed concern over the recent Zimmerman verdict, the “Twitter rage” against Marc Anthony’s performance of the national anthem at the All-Star baseball game earlier in the month and the continued plight of Native American women after the passing of the Violence Against Women Act. We recognized the history-making actions of a group of Black and Brown youth going by the name “The Dream Defenders” as they have been waging a sit-in at Florida’s governor’s office to protest the state’s “Stand Your Ground” law since the end of the Zimmerman trial. These national and historic events grounded us as we gathered together toward strengthening MCC’s commitment to racial justice.
Our consensus was clear – MCC has one of the most respected anti-racism legacies among Christian relief and peace organizations, yet there remains plenty of work to be done to actualize MCC’s stated racial justice mandates. Our effort is to hold up that legacy with the mutual desire to progress even further and see realized the racial justice convictions shared across the organization. In that spirit, we took the time to honor the past and those that first opened the eyes of the organization to the reality of racism even as we focused on the present with hopes for an even more deliberate future of racial justice commitment and action. By honoring our past, we honor the work that remains ahead of us and prepare ourselves for the mighty work at hand. Our very presence together was statement to our mutual desire and commitment.
The sharing of the core components of what will become MCC’s renewed anti-racism analysis provided the opportunity for all gathered to digest, reflect and ask questions that will enhance the analysis. The critical feedback from participants called for an anti-racism analysis that is spiritually-centered, heart-felt, informed by MCC’s past, flexible enough to meet constituents wherever they are in their respective anti-racist journeys, honors the growing cultural diversity that is MCC and seeks justice both within and without MCC. Of the goals of the program that were shared, the most compelling seemed to be the mutual desire to strengthen MCC’s relationships with churches of color.
Our fellowship did not end when the day’s work was done. In the evening we shared laughter over Cuban and Argentinian and Mexican meals as the festive sounds of the Caribbean islands played around us. We traded stories as we walked along the clear-blue waters of the bay as palm trees swayed overhead, basking under a warm Miami sun. Our experience was greatly enriched by the guidance of MCC East Coast’s Andrew Bodden, whose family calls Miami home. With clasped hands we ended our time together in prayers for safe journeys home. We left inspired to make our home in MCC all the more warm and welcoming for those who will follow in our footsteps – footsteps on the pathway to the healing waters of justice and the ever-flowing stream of righteousness.
This meeting will be followed by a meeting with our white sisters and brothers in MCC that share our commitments to racial justice. That meeting is still being planned. For more information, please contact Ewuare Osayande, Anti-Oppression Coordinator – firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Renewing Our Minds, Restoring Our Souls” will be a time for spiritual reflection and cultural fellowship for people of color within and connected to the work of MCC. Part retreat, part training, this meeting seeks to affirm the hearts, minds and spirits of people of color working to dismantle racism and uplift humanity. The meeting will take place at the Hyatt House Suites Hotel at 5710 Blue Lagoon Drive in Miami, FL from July 23 to July 25, 2013. For registration costs and more contact Ewuare Osayande, Anti-Oppression Coordinator, MCC U.S. at email@example.com or call 717-859-1152 x 275. “Widening Awareness. Embracing Wholeness. Building Leadership.”