National Council of Churches Announces April 4th A.C.T. to End Racism Rally on National Mall

Today, the National Council of Churches (NCC) announced plans to hold a rally to end racism on the National Mall on April 4. The A.C.T. to End Racism Rally is the starting point of a multi-year effort, launched by NCC, to remove racism from the nation’s social fabric and bring the country together.

In remembrance of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who inspired and challenged America to confront and put an end to racism, the rally will take place on the day the nation marks 50 years since his assassination. “We have for too long lived under the scourge of racism in our society. To begin the process of healing our nation, we as Christians must join with people of all faiths in holding ourselves accountable for our complicity, and commit to righting the wrongs,” said Jim Winkler, president of NCC.

NCC and its coalition of over 50 partners recognize that the faith community and those of moral conscience have a specific responsibility to address and eliminate racism, but also unique gifts that enable them to do so. “As we look at our society today, it is painfully evident that the soul of our nation needs healing. We must not only pray, but take concrete action to realize and achieve racial and social justice, and we cannot possibly put an end to racism unless we commit to change at all levels — including within the faith community,” said  Bishop W. Darin Moore, chair of the Governing Board for NCC.

“Christian churches, present in every town and community across the country, are both part of the problem and the solution. NCC and our partners are committed to addressing the systemic evil that many Christians and church institutions have yet to fully acknowledge,” said Rev. Dr. Sharon Watkins, Director of the Truth and Racial Justice Initiative for NCC.

Buses will bring rally-goers from across the country for the three-day event that will see thousands convene on the National Mall. Special guests at the rally include Grammy Award-winning artist Yolanda Adams, Marvin Sapp, Bishop Vashti McKenzie, DeRay Mckesson, Y‘Anna Crawley, Grammy Award-winning artist Rev. Julian DeShazier (J.Kwest), Dr. Jennifer Harvey, Dr. Jim Wallis, Lou Gossett, Jr., Rabbi Jonah Pesner, Dr. Raphael Warnock, Naeem Baig, and Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield of Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream. Additional names will be announced in the coming weeks.

The schedule of events is as follows:

  • April 3: 6:00 p.m. ET: Orthodox Christian Bridegroom Service of Holy Tuesday;
    8:00 p.m. ET: Then and Now: An Ecumenical Gathering to End Racism
  • April 4: Silent March (starting near the MLK Jr. Memorial), Interfaith Service, and A.C.T. to End Racism Rally on the National Mall, 7:00 a.m.3:30 p.m. ET
  • April 5: National Day of Advocacy & Action

National Geographic Publishes “The Race Issue”, Exploring Race and Diversity in the 21st Century

National Geographic has published a single-topic issue exploring the subject of race in the lead up to the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination this April. The April edition of the magazine, The Race Issue, features a pair of black and white fraternal twin sisters from the United Kingdom, Marcia and Millie Biggs, on the cover. The Biggs twins on the cover are a catalyst for readers to rethink what they know about race.

The Race Issue, which is accompanied by a discussion guide aimed at parents and educators, includes the latest research, powerful anecdotes and unparalleled visual storytelling to explore the human journey through the lens of labels that define, separate and unite us. Select features include:

  • “Skin Deep,” an article on the genetics of race and roots of scientific racism, by Pulitzer-Prize winning author Elizabeth Kolbert and photos by Robin Hammond.
  • “The Things That Divide Us,” a look into the evolutionary roots of group bias and current efforts to combat this bias, with text by David Berreby and photos by John Stanmeyer.
  • “The Rising Anxiety of White America,” by renowned journalist Michele Norris, who looks to 2044 when America will be less than 50 percent white and details the cultural shift already taking place. Photos by Gillian Laub.
  • “The Stop,” a powerful piece featuring anecdotes from black and Hispanic motorists who’ve been pulled over by the police due to the color of their skin. This piece was reported in partnership with ESPN’s The Undefeated, with text by Michael Fletcher and photos by National Geographic photographer Wayne Lawrence.
  • “Streets in His Name,” a photographic essay, with text by award-winning journalist Wendi C. Thomas, on streets around the world bearing MLK Jr.’s name and how they reflect the legacy he left behind.
  • “A Place of Their Own,” which showcases a new brand of activism at historically black colleges and universities as racial tensions escalate across the country. Text by Clint Smith and photos by Nina Robinson and Ruddy Roye.

The Race Issue kicks off the magazine’s “Diversity in America” series. Throughout the rest of 2018, the series looks at racial, ethnic and religious groups in the United States, including Muslims, Latinos, Asian Americans and Native Americans, and examines their changing roles in 21st-century life.

In conjunction with the publication of the issue, National Geographic has also launched a social media campaign, #IDefineMe, calling on individuals to share their experience with race and what it means to them. Through photos, videos or text across Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, the online community is encouraged to respond to the call-to-action: Science defines you by your DNA. Society defines you by the color of your skin. How do you define yourself? #IDefineMe

Additionally, “America Inside Out with Katie Couric,” a documentary television series covering some of the most complicated and consequential questions in American culture today, premieres April 11 on National Geographic.

The Race Issue is available online now at natgeo.com/TheRaceIssue and on print newsstands March 27th.