Remembering Dr. King in a World Uprooted
Download the Dr. King memory video by Rev. Dawn Sanders.
This year marks the 50th year since Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated on April 4, 1968. His ministry and legacy have inspired many Ecumenical Advocacy Days themes and workshops over the past 16 years. Some have even suggested that our National Gathering should model the beloved community that Dr. King advocated. To honor his legacy, we had an evening forum where we heard from faith leaders about Dr. King’s legacy and their hopes and vision for civil rights and racial and economic justice in the next 50 years and beyond.
Sister Simone Campbell has served as Executive Director of NETWORK since 2004. She is a religious leader, attorney and poet with extensive experience in public policy and advocacy for systemic change. In Washington, she lobbies on issues of economic justice, immigration reform, and healthcare. Around the country, she is a noted speaker and educator on these public policy issues. In 2012, she was also instrumental in organizing the “Nuns on the Bus” tour of nine states to oppose the “Ryan Budget” approved by the House of Representatives. She has led five cross-country “Nuns on the Bus” trips, focused on economic justice, comprehensive immigration reform, and voter turnout. Simone has often been featured in the national and international media, including appearances on 60 Minutes, The Colbert Report, and The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.
Velda Love is Minister for Racial Justice for the United Church of Christ. Prior to joining the UCC, Love spent nine years (2008-2017) at North Park Theological Seminary in Chicago as an adjunct professor and conference speaker, and served North Park University as the director of intercultural justice and learning for 16 years (2000-2016).
Love earned her bachelor’s degree from Roosevelt University in 1990, and a master’s degree from North Park Theological Seminary in 2006. She attended Chicago Theological Seminary and obtained her D.Min. in 2016, and served various boards and task force that address interfaith dialogue, homelessness and youth incarceration.
Rev. Dr. J. Herbert Nelson, II serves as Stated Clerk of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), the largest Reformed denomination in the United States. He was elected at the 222nd General Assembly (2016) in Portland, Oregon.
The son, grandson, and nephew of Presbyterian pastors, Nelson is the first African American to lead the denomination, which has a 300-year history in the U.S. As Stated Clerk his duties include interpreting assembly actions, representing the church on various denominational and ecumenical councils, witnessing on behalf of the church to social justice issues, and making statements as directed by an assembly.
Prior to becoming Stated Clerk, Nelson served as director of the PC(USA)’s Office of Public Witness in Washington, D.C. His service to the denomination also includes calls as pastor of St. James Presbyterian Church in Greensboro, North Carolina, and organizing pastor of Liberation Community Church in Memphis, Tennessee.
As an extension to his ministry in the PC(USA), Nelson served as associate director of the Benjamin L. Hooks Institute for Social Change at the University of Memphis. As a consultant, he provided staff development training for teacher specialists, curriculum specialists, and principal leaders who provide assistance for low-performing schools.
Nelson holds a Doctor of Ministry degree from Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary; a Master of Divinity degree from Johnson C. Smith Theological Seminary; and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science/Urban Studies from Johnson C. Smith University. Rev. Dr. Nelson spoke to EAD in 2017 and in 2014.
Diane Randall is the Executive Secretary of the Friends Committee on National Legislation. Diane leads FCNL’s staff to effectively educate and lobby for the policies and legislative priorities established by FCNL’s General Committee. A lifelong advocate for peace and social justice, Diane is a fierce proponent for citizen engagement that advances policies and practices to create a better society for all.
Diane came to FCNL in March, 2011 as the fourth Executive Secretary. Diane has led FCNL’s program expansion, including adding lobbyists and new programs to engage grassroots citizens, young adults and more Quakers to lobby for peace, justice and a sustainable planet. Diane travels widely on behalf of FCNL and represents a voice for Quaker advocacy in Washington on the Hill, within the faith community, in media, and throughout the United States.
Before coming to FCNL, Diane was Executive Director of Partnership for Strong Communities, a Connecticut-based non-profit organization providing leadership, advocacy, and policy development on solutions to homelessness, affordable housing and community development. She serves on the Corporation of Haverford College. She previously served on the Sidwell Friends School Board of Trustees, the Board of Advisors of the Earlham School of Religion, the CT Housing Finance Authority Board, the CT Public Defender Services Commission and the West Hartford Board of Education. Diane graduated from the University of Nebraska with a B.S in Education.
The Rev. Lamont Anthony Wells is Director for Evangelical Mission in the Lutheran Metropolitan New York Synod and President of the African Descent Lutheran Association. Born and raised in Philadelphia in the Baptist church, Wells attended Morehouse College in Atlanta and proceeded to stay in Georgia for over two decades. He then served as the Lutheran campus pastor of Atlanta University Center. As Director for Evangelical Mission (DEM), Wells is responsible for stewardship and evangelical mission in the synod, including partnership grants, congregational renewal and redevelopment, and new starts.
James E. Winkler is the General Secretary/President of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the USA. Winkler has served as general secretary of the General Board of Church and Society (GBCS), the international public policy and social justice agency of The United Methodist Church, and has led delegations to the Middle East, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Iraq and Germany seeking peaceful solutions to global conflict and has traveled throughout the world to support the justice work of the United Methodist Church in Africa, Asia and Europe. Winkler has preached and led workshops and training events in Russia, Nigeria, and the Philippines, and has been a frequent spokesperson for the justice work of The United Methodist Church to the national and international media. He spoke to EAD in 2014.
Dr. Valerie Bridgeman is Associate Professor of Homiletics & Hebrew Bible at Methodist Theological School in Ohio. She is the Founder and President of WomanPreach!, Inc., a non-profit organization that brings preachers into full prophetic voice around issues of equity and justice both in the pulpit and in the public arena. Her mission is to produce a network of preaching women and men who will use their voice in service to the gospel of Jesus Christ, especially as it relates to Womanist/Feminist concerns of equity and justice.
Dr. Bridgeman is a graduate of Trinity University with a double major in Communication and Religion. She holds a Master of Divinity degree from Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary. She received her Ph.D. at Baylor University.