UCC Pastors Give Testimony at Poor People's Campaign Kickoff
More than 300 people gathered in Boston on the State House steps to hear testimonies of impact and faith as part of the kickoff of 40 days of action by the Poor People's Campaign on May 14, 2018.
Three UCC ministers shared their testimonies and a call to “bring good news to the poor;” Rev. June Cooper of the City Mission Society, Rev. Cathlin Baker of West Tisbury, and Rev. Kelly Gallagher, Associate Conference Minister. Stories of impact from women who have suffered from inadequate services for PTSD, immigration and healthcare were interspersed with calls from communities of faith to come together and repair the breach dug so deep between us.
After the testimonies and song people stepped into the street, blocking traffic with song and prayer. The afternoon ended with a march down Park Street singing “We Shall Overcome.” Clergy and congregation members from many UCC Churches across the state joined hands with ecumenical and interfaith siblings, and claiming faith in humanity as together we sang, “Someone is hurting our people, and it has gone on far too long!”
Following are Kelly Gallagher's remarks from the rally:
Somebody’s Hurting My People, And It’s Gone on Far Too Long
Today is the day we begin…Today is the day we begin to journey together to change the moral narrative of this country. Today is the day when we look at one another and begin to believe that together we can be a new and unsettling force.
We have been divided – we have been separated by a culture and society and a system that says, “Fear the other, hate the other, they want what you have, separate, distrust, compete.” We have been divided by the myth that there is not enough – and that others want to take away what we have – others haven’t worked as hard as us – we deserve what we have or deserve more than we have – and it is somebody’s fault I don’t have it.”
But those myths aren’t truth – and today we begin to tell the truth – there is no need to fear our siblings, there is enough for everyone in this wealthy country. Fear not, there is enough – and today we begin to stand side by side to say we have had enough of distorted truth and manipulated facts. Today we begin to look one another in the eye, to stand shoulder to shoulder and believe that we are not the enemy – people are not the enemy. Unjust policies and systems are what we stand against today – walls and barriers of racism, poverty, ecological devastation and a war economy – those are our enemies. People are not our enemies. Poor people are not our enemies! Women and children and people with disabilities are not our enemies!! And we will no longer be divided!
We have been divided – I was in Charlottesville on August 12th last year – and I saw the deep divide. I looked into the eyes of those who fear the loss of these unjust systems. Those who fear the removal of the barriers that have kept us divided. Those who have bought the myths – hook line and sinker – as truth. And the gulf between us is wide, and deep, and frightening. There is a breach filled with fear and centuries of myth, explicit, implicit, and complicit white supremacy and privilege. A supremacy that will sacrifice women and children at its altar
Today we begin to say enough. We begin to trust one another – and to be trustworthy. We begin to SEE those who have been pushed to the side and make room in the center – for women, and children, for people with disabilities. Today we begin the movement to repair the breach that has been dug so deep.
In Charlottesville – the night before – as we prepared for whatever may come – Reverend Sekou spoke about why we were there – and I think it has a lot to do with why we are here. We do what we do out of deep abiding love – love for this beautiful, messy mix of humanity; this amazing earth upon which we stand – love for the truth that WILL set us ALL free, love for one another – for the children. A deep, abiding love.
We have work to do – my friends – and today we begin. We begin to see one another, to trust one another and to be trustworthy, and to come from a place of deep abiding love. Then we can repair the breach, then our light shall shine like the dawn, and our healing shall come quickly, then we shall be called repairers of the breach, restorers of streets to live in.
Somebody is hurting our people, and it has gone on far too long.
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