The state NAACP is lining up more non-Evangelical Christian groups to oppose the Wake County school board majority's elimination of the socioeconomic diversity policy.
As noted in today's Durham News religion column by Flo Johnston, a group calling itself the Concerned Clergy of Durham plans to release a statement Friday in opposition to the changes being planned in Wake County. They're following up on the actions of the Wake County Clergy Coalition.
“We need to be more active, not sitting around twiddling our thumbs while the potential for re-segregation is coming into play again," said the Rev. Marilyn Hedgpeth, an associate pastor at First Presbyterian Church in Durham. "I hope we have learned from our past not to go there again."
Interestingly, they're planning on releasing their statement at a news conference at 11 a.m. Friday at the main office of the Durham Public Schools, 511 Cleveland Street. Durham abandoned its diversity efforts awhile ago.
The decision to release the statement came after a meeting last week in which the clergy heard from Tim Tyson, a Duke University historian and a member of the state board of the NAACP.
The NAACP has already gotten the backing of some church groups.
Nearly two weeks ago, Bishop Richard K. Thompson, Presiding Prelate of The Eastern North Carolina Episcopal District of The A.M.E. Zion Church, announced the district's opposition to the changes going on in Wake.
"We can no longer sit in our sanctuaries silent while it is evident that covert activities are turning back the hands of time," Thompson said in a NAACP press release. "We are placing Wake County on notice. This cannot happen, and will not happen, without our voices being heard and our presence felt. We will be the voices for those who cannot speak for themselves!”
Thompson said they'll mobilize the church’s clergy, laity, and members of their respective local communities. Thompson presides over 400 churches and 40,000 members from Durham to Manteo.
At last week's rally at Pullen Memorial, the Rev. William Barber, president of the state NAACP, said he also expects to receive the support of the General Baptist State Convention of North Carolina. This would be a big deal as the convention represents the state's black Baptist churches.
Barber also said last week that he's expecting the support of his denomination, the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ International). It's a network of black churches from around the nation.
As previously noted, Barber and other supporters of the old diversity policy have steeped their arguments in a religious and social justice context.
There's been no large-scale support by Evangelical churches in support of the school board majority. But individual groups such as Called2Action have backed them.
Changed to show that Barber's denomination is part of the Disciples of Christ International. Link also changed for denomination website.