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I am not a threat. I am the future,” said 12-year old Donald Mouton during the Stockton, California prayer rally and send-off for the California leg of the Lifelines to Healing bus tour.

Last week, as the nation neared the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington and Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s iconic “I Have a Dream” speech, Lifelines to Healing leaders boarded buses from four corners of this country. Bus-riders included college students, clergy, returning citizens and parents who lost children to gun violence.  As we headed to Washington, D.C., our goal was not only to commemorate a dream, but to ignite a movement to realize that dream in our generation.

Check out and share photos, videos and news articles of this powerful week!

In Sanford, Florida, Oakland, California and Newtown Connecticut, we stopped to honor lives lost to gun violence – holding prayer vigils in the hometowns of Trayvon Martin, Oscar Grant and the slain students and teachers of Sandy Hook Elementary.

We witnessed healing take form in the impromptu pick-up basketball game between a group of young men and the police from Camden, New Jersey. We saw dedication embodied in Robert Bryant, an 80-year old retired history teacher participating in the lengthy night walk in Camden, New Jersey, because of his passion to keep his community safe.

We embraced unity as our California bus-riders joined the PICO California pilgrims – aspiring Americans walking 285 miles for citizenship – praying together at the women’s prison in Chowchilla, California.

And we experienced hope in Donald Mouton as he said, “I have a dream when they see me, they will see God. Because God is in me, and I am love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. I am not a threat. I am the future.”

The Lifelines to Healing bus tour was also featured in Jet magazine, the front pages of the Philadelphia Inquirer, and the Denver Post. Click here to read those articles and more.

www.lifelinestohealing.org/news/report-back-national-bus-tour

Indeed, we are all God’s children – we are all the future. Let the Healing begin.

Blessed event at The National Cathedral with Dean Rev. Gary Hall, discussing “Faith, Race and the Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Pastor Mike McBride and Dean Gary Hall at the National Cathedral on Sunday, August 25, 2013.

Pastor Mike McBride and Dean Gary Hall at the National Cathedral on Sunday, August 25, 2013.

 

March on Washington 50th Anniversary National Cathedral

Pastor Mike McBride and Dean Gary Hall at the National Cathedral on Sunday, August 25, 2013.

 

March on Washington 50th Anniversary. On the Mall.

March on Washington 50th Anniversary. On the Mall.

 

March on Washington 50th Anniversary. On the Mall.

March on Washington 50th Anniversary. On the Mall.

 

March on Washington 50th Anniversary. On the Mall.

March on Washington 50th Anniversary. On the Mall.

 

March on Washington 50th Anniversary. On the Mall.

March on Washington 50th Anniversary. On the Mall.

 

March on Washington 50th Anniversary. On the Mall.

March on Washington 50th Anniversary. On the Mall.

 

March on Washington 50th Anniversary. On the Mall.

March on Washington 50th Anniversary. On the Mall.

 

March on Washington 50th Anniversary. On the Mall.

March on Washington 50th Anniversary. On the Mall.

 

Join the movement & text “Lifelines” to #69866

Lifelines To Healing Bus Tour 2013

Lifelines To Healing Bus Tour 2013 – Kick Off in Miami

In the week leading up to the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington, Lifelines to Healing is embarking on a 15-city national bus tour that will culminate in Washington, D.C. Lifelines to Healing is a campaign of the PICO National Network.

Convened in direct response to the outcry following the unjust killing of Trayvon Martin, the tour will build awareness around the persistent disparities that exist between King’s dream and the realities of being a person of color in 2013.

People of faith will travel across the country training, praying and building a movement to humanize and value the lives of all of God’s children.

Find out how you can get involved in the tour.

Across the country, people of faith are already leading campaigns to create safer communities through sensible gun laws, and other measures to keep youth of color from filling up our jails and prisons, and working to create more educational and employment opportunities in the communities that need those opportunities most.

In 1963, Dr. King called on America to understand the “fierce urgency of now” and challenged the nation to move toward a path of racial justice.  Today, Pastor Michael McBride, who leads Lifelines to Healing, is challenging the nation to truly value black and brown life.

Lifelines To Healing Bus Tour Instagram

Join the movement & text “Lifelines” to #69866

Lifelines to Healing Bus Tour in the Press:

Miami Times: “Get on the bus for jobs, youth, and pride”

Jet Magazine: Bus Tour Celebrates March On Washington

OaklandCommunity.org: Lifelines To Healing Bus Tour Kickoff and Rally

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The Lifelines to Healing Campaign stands in solidarity with the Pilgrimage for a Pathway Citizenship as they embark on a 21-day, 285 mile journey, walking on behalf of the 11 million aspiring Americans seeking a pathway in this country.

Pray with us family, that justice will prevail.

Check periodically for updates on this amazing journey!

http://www.pilgrimageforcitizenship.org/the-pilgrims.html

Congressman Jeff Denham, speaking at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Patterson on Friday night, committed to supporting and advancing an earned pathway to citizenship for 11 million aspiring Americans. Friday’s event marked the end of the fifth day of PICO California’s Pilgrimage for a Pathway to Citizenship. Congressman Denham’s public commitment came in response to a question asked by Pilgrim Adriana Hernandez, a resident of Patterson. He also agreed to reach out to party leadership and other members of the California delegation to urge a vote on a pathway to citizenship.

NA-BX498_BANTHE_G_20130802190047RICHMOND, Calif.—City officials in this San Francisco suburb passed an ordinance this past week prohibiting city contractors from ever inquiring about many job applicants’ criminal histories.

The move in this city of 100,000 people, which is troubled by crime and high unemployment, is part of a growing national trend that supporters say is designed to improve the community’s employment prospects amid wider incarceration.

Under the ordinance, approved by the City Council in a 6-1 vote and set to take effect in September, private companies that have city contracts and that employ more than nine people won’t be able to ask anything about an applicant’s criminal record; otherwise they would lose their city contracts. The ordinance is one of the nation’s strictest “ban-the-box” laws, which are so called because many job applications contain a box to check if one has a criminal record.

“Once we pay our debt, I think the playing field should be fair,” said Andres Abarra of Richmond, who was released from San Quentin State Prison in 2006 after serving 16 months for selling heroin. Mr. Abarra, 60 years old, said he lost his first job out of prison, at a warehouse, about a month after a temporary agency hired him. The agency ran a background check and “let me go on the spot,” he said. He now works for an advocacy group called Safe Return that campaigned for the ordinance.

Others say the laws potentially endanger both employers and the public. “We have a responsibility to protect our customers, protect other employees and then the company itself” from potential crime, said Kelly Knott, senior director for government relations of the National Retail Federation, an industry group in Washington, D.C., which hasn’t taken a position on ban-the-box laws but has cautioned against federal guidance that could limit how employers use background checks.

Richmond, with a population of about 100,000, joins 51 other municipalities that have passed similar ordinances, many in the past five years. Last year, Newark, N.J., barred private employers and the city government from inquiring into a job applicant’s criminal history until they have made a conditional offer of employment, and employers can only take into consideration certain offenses committed within the past five to eight years. Murder, voluntary manslaughter and sex offenses requiring registry can be inquired about no matter how much time has passed.

Ten states also have enacted ban-the-box legislation, according to the National Employment Law Project, a nonprofit group that advocates for the laws. Many of those laws don’t apply to job applications for “sensitive” positions, such as those involving work with children.

Michelle Rodriguez, a NELP staff attorney, said tougher sentencing laws in recent decades, particularly for drug crimes, have sent more people to prison, making post-incarceration unemployment a broader problem. “It really could be anybody who has a criminal record now—your co-worker, your neighbor,” Ms. Rodriguez said. “And it doesn’t mean they’re a criminal. It means they had a run-in with the law.”

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According to a report by the Sentencing Project, a group that promotes changes in prison and sentencing policy, the U.S. prison population rose nearly fivefold between 1980 and 2011.

Last year, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission issued guidance that doesn’t bar the use of criminal checks but that urges employers to consider the crime, its relation to an applicant’s potential job, and how much time has passed since the conviction. In June, the EEOC sued two large employers, alleging they used criminal background checks in ways that could disproportionately affect African-Americans.

In 2010, one in every 12 black men aged 18-64 in the U.S. was incarcerated, versus one in every 87 white men, according to a study by the Pew Charitable Trusts, a public-policy nonprofit. Nearly 27% of the population in Richmond is black, according to a 2012 U.S. Census estimate.

In Michigan, where a ban-the-box law has been proposed, the state’s Chamber of Commerce is concerned businesses could face liability lawsuits after hiring ex-convicts if they end up hurting someone, said Wendy Block, a spokeswoman. “We feel the [existing federal] provisions are sufficient in terms of trying to prohibit job discrimination against former felons,” Ms. Block said.

In Richmond, which had an unemployment rate of 11.9% in June, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the city’s Chamber of Commerce didn’t take a position on the measure. But Chamber President and CEO Judith Morgan said the city’s businesses “understand the need here to put people back to work and give people second chances.” Ms. Morgan cautioned, however, that it is “nebulous” how the city will enforce the measure.

The Richmond ordinance also makes exceptions for jobs the city deems “sensitive,” and it allows criminal background checks for positions, like police-department and schoolteacher jobs, for which federal or state law requires them.

Tamisha Walker, a 32-year-old college student who spent six months in prison for arson in 2009, campaigned for the new ordinance and said she hopes it can help Richmond be a place where people believe they can live successfully. She said a lot of people in Richmond want to “get out of Richmond and never come back. And it’s sad, because we lose a lot of talent that way.”

Christian Atheism

July 24, 2013 — Leave a comment

veneer_302Amazing op-ed by Dr. J. Kameron Carter!!!

“Professor Anthea Butler has caught much flack recently for arguing in a post here on RD that the George Zimmerman verdict exposes that a god-complex, tied to and articulated as white supremacy, remains powerfully at work within U.S. society. She’s right, of course. In putting on the table the question of how religion relates to the verdict, how religion has been operative under the radar, so to speak, inside of the verdict, and how religion is the larger horizon of the shooting and subsequent trial, Dr. Butler has done us all a profound service.

But as a theologian or a Christian intellectual, I want to up the ante on her provocative and important analysis and propose that the only moral, ethical, and religious response worth its salt to the Zimmerman verdict is to be atheist.”

Full article can be read: http://www.religiondispatches.org/archive/atheologies/7204/christian_atheism__the_only_response_worth_its_salt_to_the_zimmerman_verdict

 

“More than 3,300 people have died as a result of gun violence since the tragedy in Newtown, and it’s past time for our leaders to act,” said the Rev. Michael McBride, director of PICO National Network’s Lifelines to Healing campaign. “We have stepped down from our pulpits and left our houses of worship to remind Congress we’re not going anywhere until they pass meaningful legislation that bans assault weapons and high capacity magazines, institutes enforceable universal background checks, ends gun trafficking, prosecutes straw purchasers, and invests in proven strategies reduce the gun violence that plagues our cities every day.”

Clergy Join Gun Control Debate With Pleas, Prayers in 24-Hour Vigil Clergy Join Gun Control Debate With Pleas, Prayers in 24-Hour Vigil Clergy Join Gun Control Debate With Pleas, Prayers in 24-Hour Vigil Clergy Join Gun Control Debate With Pleas, Prayers in 24-Hour Vigil
Check out coverage from the Huffington Post:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/11/clergy-gun-control-debate_n_3056237.html