Report on CTC’s “Sing a Rainbow”
UMW SOCIAL ACTION NEWSLETTER
North Central Texas District
Sing a Rainbow, sponsored by the Central Texas Conference UMW, was another day with a powerful program! The event was tightly run with strong speakers and wonderful fellowship among 125-plus women! This UMW conference clearly has a heart for racial justice.
The theme for the day was Mass Incarceration and the injustice therein. Since 2002 the U.S. has had the highest incarceration rate in the world, and Blacks—particularly young black males—make up a disproportionate share of the prison population. An article from the Prison Policy Initiative puts it this way: “Over the last four decades, the U.S. has undertaken a national project of over criminali-zation that has put more than two million people behind bars at any given time….Nationally, Blacks are incarcerated five times more than Whites are, and Hispanics are nearly twice as likely to be incarcerated as Whites.”
In Texas in 2010, while 768 white people from a base of 100,000 were incarcerated, 2,855 black people were incarcerated. Although Blacks are only about 14% of the total population, they represent 32% of the prison population.****************
Pat McGee explained the “Prison Entrepreneurship Program.” PEP works to prepare inmates so that, once they are back in society, they have the tools, skills and support structure to pursue healthy, fulfilling and productive lives. PEP clients are immersed in a proven program comprised of one-on-one training with executive volunteers, business plan mentoring with seasoned professionals and a highly competitive business plan competition.
Mr. McGee was the son of a 16-year-old rape victim and was imprisoned at 17 for selling drugs. While in prison he acquired his bachelor’s and master’s degrees. Besides his textbooks, the only other book he was allowed to have was the Bible—and David became his hero. For more information, go to www.pep.org. ******************
The Rev. Hannah Adair Bonner is a pastor at St. John’s UMC Downtown in Houston. Since Sandra Bland’s death, Rev. Bonner has been keeping vigil in Hempstead, where Ms. Bland died. She and many others are asking for a full investigation into the death. Rev. Bonner gave many new pieces of information about the event that lead me to join her and hundreds of others in this demand. At one point, the sheriff has told Rev. Bonner to go “back to the church of Satan that you run,” and has made threats against her and those accompanying her. Rev. Bonner is a small woman physically, but she has a deep Christian commitment to racial justice. From one of Rev. Bonner’s articles online:
“Until we dismantle systems of injustice and white supremacy, the backpack <of white privilege> will be ours to carry; attached to us regardless of how we feel about it, because it clings to us as tightly as the skin we are in. Yet, it will become increasingly more heavy as we come to a deeper understanding of why it contains what it contains. Once you realize and accept that what is in your backpack was acquired through blood and death and rape and cruelty; through slavery and the massacre of indigenous peoples; through the theft of bodies and the theft of land; what we were once told was an inheritance we will come to know as an inheritance of others, stolen through the blood of their ancestors.” Hard words…Since Ms. Bland, seven more women of color have died in police custody. For more information, simply type Hannah Adair Bonner into your browser.******************
Gary Randle is co-founder and executive director of HOPE Farm, Inc., Helping Other People Excel. HOPE is a leadership program guiding at-risk
boys to become Christ-centered men of integrity.
The two campuses in Ft. Worth, provide a variety of activities for inner city boys, addressing the spirit, the mind and the body. .
HOPE takes five-year-old boys whose mothers or grandmothers are the only parent, and work daily with each child’s caretaker and teachers in order to maintain accountability and consistency.
Recognizing the importance of a collective effort, HOPE Farm has a partnership parenting curriculum known as Parent Involvement Program (PIP). PIP assists the parents of HOPE Farm boys with spiritual development, inspirational encouragement and provides structural tools to help them partner with HOPE Farm. For further info, look at Hope Farm, or HOPE online. ****************