The protest Tuesday was organized by the National African American Clergy Network.
On July 18, African-American clergy hailing from a number of denominations converged for “African American Clergy Advocacy Day” on Capitol Hill for the first time. The authorities, as they have done previously, arrested a considerable number of demonstrators. Charges brought against them included crowding and incommoding. Obstruction charges were also leveled against the demonstrators. According to the organizers, police arrested 16 people and put them into custody. The arrested were only trying to highlight awareness of what they describe as an unjust legislation.
The National African American Clergy Network had organized the event. The full series of events included meetings with the members of Congress. There were also civil disobedience and speeches given outside Capitol and protests inside Senate office buildings. The protestors also brought their cause to social media, urging attendees to use hashtags #BlackClergyUprising and #BlackClergyVoices. The event was attended by Representative Maxine Waters, a Democrat from California, who reiterated that African-American leaders will continue to oppose the Trump administration.
The united clergy had protested the President Donald J. Trump-led administration's decision to slash the federal budget. Reverend William J. Barber II of North Carolina said, “Since all of these folk make a big deal about putting their hand on the Bible and swearing themselves into office, we’ve come to let them know what’s in the Bible.” Reverend Barber is a known face when it comes to civil rights and also on the subject of poverty. He is frequently found to be at the forefront of such protests.
The protests were a response to a number of larger issues. The list included Ben Carson's-the Housing Secretary in the Trump administration- controversial statements related to slavery and budget cuts for programs like Meals on Wheels. Reverend Raphael Warnock of Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta reminded the audience that Trump had requested the African-American community to offer him a shot in the US presidency. The subsequent budget proposal showed Trump's actual priorities. He said, “A budget is not just a fiscal document. It is a moral document. It says something about the spiritual health of a people. And if this budget were an EKG, it would indicate that America has a serious heart condition.”
For Reverend Barber and the many others who marched with him, it was not the first time they were arrested. Police took them into custody in March after they protested against the planned cuts in Medicaid. The issue was with the now defunct Republican healthcare bill in the Senate.
— Brad Shumate (@shumate_brad) July 19, 2017
- Religion News Service
- Black Christian News Network One
- National Catholic Reporter
- Twitter -#BlackClergyUprising
- Twitter -#BlackClergyVoices