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Prominent Black Church Leaders to Interview 2020 Presidential Candidates before 5,000 Black Millennials at Young Leaders Conference

Prominent Black Church Leaders to Interview 2020 Presidential Candidates before 5,000 Black Millennials August 16-17 at Young Leaders Conference in Atlanta

ATLANTA, GA – The Black Church PAC and the Young Leaders Conference today announced an August 16 and 17 candidates’ forum, where Black church leaders will interview 2020 presidential candidates. The candidate interviews, which will occur before an audience of 5,000 Black millennials, will gauge the candidates’ plans for engaging and communicating with Black churchgoers, ensuring diversity among campaign staff, consultants and vendors and the campaigns’ efforts to engage Black voters around gun violence, mass incarceration, immigration and other key issues. The Black Church Presidential Candidate Conversation Series event is hosted by the Young Leaders Conference in partnership with The Black Church PAC.

At least five 2020 presidential candidates, including Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Senator Bernie Sanders (D-VT), Senator Corey Booker (D-NJ), former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julian Castro and South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg have accepted our invitation to participate. They will join the Rev. Leah Daughtry and Pastor Michael McBride, co-founders of The Black Church PAC, for a discussion about the direction of our country and their vision for the future. Media interested in attending the forums must RSVP to Jennifer Farmer at or Heather Cabral at by COB on Wednesday, August 14. Upon doing so, press credentials will be distributed, which are required to gain entry to the forums.


  • Pastor Michael McBride, Black Church PAC, LIVE FREE Campaign (Berkeley, CA)
  • Pastor Leah Daughtry, The House of the Lord Church (Washington, D.C.); founding member of Black Church PAC
  • Pastor Mark Moore, Jr., Founder of the Young Leaders Conference (Atlanta, GA)
  • Pastor Traci Blackmon, Executive Minister of Justice & Witness Ministries, United Church of Christ (Ferguson, MO); founding member of Black Church PAC
  • Grammy Award-Winning Producer and Pastor Warryn Campbell, California Worship Center (Hollywood, CA); founding member of Black Church PAC
  • Pastor Jamal Bryant, New Birth Christian Church (Atlanta, GA); founding member of Black Church PAC
  • Bishop Noel Jones, City of Refuge Church (Los Angeles, CA); founding member of Black Church PAC


Friday, August 16 from 12:15 p.m. to 1:20 p.m. – Candidate Conversations with Pastor Michael McBride and Pastor Leah Daughtry and Sen. Cory Booker, Julian Castro and Mayor Pete Buttigieg

Saturday, August 17 from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. – Candidate Conversations with Pastor Leah Daughtry and Pastor Michael McBride and Senators Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders

WHERE: Georgia International Convention Center, 2000 Convention Center Concourse, Atlanta, GA (***Note: this will be streamed LIVE on social media***)

“The Black Church is a legacy institution for the Black community,” said the Rev. Michael McBride, Pastor of The Way Christian Center, chairman of the Black Church PAC, and national director for Faith in Action’s LIVE FREE Project. “We believe every serious presidential candidate must communicate to our communities a vision for the future that ends the unjust policies which lead to racism, gun violence, mass incarceration, and economic inequality. We are excited to host these candidates before an audience of prospective voters ahead of the 2020 elections.”

“In my many years of justice ministry and public service, we’ve never had this many presidential candidates running for President,” said the Rev. Leah Daughtry, Co-Founder of the Black Church PAC and Senior Minister-Elect of The House of the Lord Churches. “We believe a series of conversations with presidential candidates before black church audiences is critical. This level of dialogue will allow our communities to hear directly from candidates their vision for the future. The Black Church PAC was created as a vehicle to harness the political power of Black Churches across our many differences. We are blessed to partner with The Young Leaders Conference to kick off our first set of conversations!”

“Our vision for this conference has always been to facilitate transcendent connections across the depths and breadths of the church,” said Pastor Mark Moore, Jr., Conference Host and Founder of The Young Leaders Conference. “The partnership with The Black Church PAC is a highlight of this year’s conference.  And to have confirmed that five presidential candidates will participate demonstrates the inherent power and potential of our black church millennials and the unique appeal of our gathering.”


Contact: Jennifer Farmer, 

Activists and Rappers Michael Render, pka Killer Mike, and Clifford Harris Jr., pka T.I., Extend Support to El Paso, TX and Dayton, OH victims

Atlanta, GA – Following the fatal Aug. 3 mass shooting in El Paso, Texas where 22 people were killed and dozens others injured, rappers, businessmen and activists Michael Render, pka Killer Mike, and Clifford Harris Jr., pka T.I. today released the following statement:

“We want to offer our deepest sympathies to the families whose lives have been forever changed as a result of the mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton. We also want to recognize Glendon Oakley, a member of the United States Army, who carried several children to safety. Oakley is the antithesis of the domestic terrorists who stalk our communities and our sacred spaces inciting fear and siphoning peace,” said Grammy Award-winning rapper, businessman and activist Michael Render, pka Killer Mike. “We should spare no expense in ensuring that he, and others like him, receives the support, praise and protection that we would afford to any other national treasure. At the end of the day, no one, not even military personnel, should have to fight terror abroad and terror at home.”

“We can’t say enough about how much we grieve with the families who have lost their loved ones,” said three-time Grammy Award-winning rapper, actor and activist Clifford “T.I.” Harris Jr. “Not only do we want to extend support to those in need, but also to people like Glendon Oakley, who courageously put themselves in harm’s way to spare and save lives. We want Glendon and others who have taken heroic stances, to know that they are not alone.”

“While there is significant and deserved attention on mass shootings, we cannot forget the communities who live daily with the threat of gun violence in their neighborhoods,” Harris concluded. “Like the people in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio (where another mass shooting occurred the morning of Aug. 4) they deserve our attention and support as well.”



Faith Leaders Prepare for Moral Monday at The Borderland

El Paso, TX – In response to the crisis at the southern border and following the invitation of faith leaders in Texas, multi-faith and denominational leaders are spiritually preparing for Moral Monday at the Borderlands, July 28 and 29 in El Paso, TX. The two-day event includes a mass meeting on Sunday, July 28 at 7:00 p.m. MST (at First Christian Church, 901 Arizona Avenue in El Paso), and a nonviolent moral direct action on Monday, July 29 at 10:00 a.m. MST (beginning at All Saints Episcopal Church). Hundreds of clergy, faith leaders, and members of Congress have been invited to participate.

“We are going to El Paso to speak to the heart conscience of this nation,” said the Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II, president of Repairers of the Breach and co-chair of the Poor People’s Campaign. “Through our bodies, our voices and our prophetic witness, we will cry aloud and we will not relent until children are free and families are whole.”

Moral Monday at the Borderlands was organized by Repairers of the Breach, Border Network for Human Rights, Define American, Religious Action Center, Yaqeen Institute for Islamic Research, Union for Reform Judaism and others. In addition to persons directly impacted by our nations immoral immigration system, event speakers include the Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II (Repairers of the Breach), Imam Omar Suleiman (Yaqeen Institute for Islamic Research, Faith Forward Dallas), Ambassador Jenn Budd (Define American), Rev. Terri Hord Owens (Christian Church/Disciples of Christ), Rabbi Rick Jacobs (Union for Reform Judaism), and Rev. Dr. Robin Tanner (Beacon Unitarian Universalist Congregation, Summit, NJ).

In explaining their decision to organize and participate in the moral witness, the faith leaders offered the following remarks:

“To free us from the infection of division and hate, the politicking that punishes the poor, cages children, and grinds many in the cogs of capitalism as a means to political gain, we are going to the borderlands,” said the Rev. Dr. Robin Tanner, Minister Beacon Unitarian Universalist Congregation Summit, NJ.  “We are going to El Paso to hear the urgings of a God known as Love, a God who does not choose political parties, but proclaims that the last shall be first.”

“Right now we have two choices, one would be to turn our backs to vulnerable, desperate families fleeing from violence and seeking a new beginning, accepting the criminalization and rejection of those families, or to face this challenge with bravery, empathy and open arms, knowing that these families are intrinsically connected to our future in America and that the US/Mexico border is the new Ellis Island of our times,” said Fernando Garcia, Border Network for Human Rights.

“These children have not just been separated from their families, but from their human family,” said Imam Omar Suleiman, founder and president of the Yaqeen Institute for Islamic Research. “They are our children, and their families are our families. We cannot allow them to suffocate in silence and be stored away in these immoral camps and warehouses.”

“I’m being summoned to El Paso this weekend because I worship a God who is impatient with injustice, and insistent that ‘the stranger who sojourns with you shall be to you as your citizens; [and that we must] love the stranger as yourself” (Leviticus 19:33-34),” said Rabbi Rick Jacobs, President of the Union for Reform Judaism, who represents the largest, most diverse movement in Jewish life. “My faith requires me, with every fiber of my being, to oppose the inhumane conditions in which infants and children and their parents are being held – in overcrowded cage-like facilities, without diapers, forced to sleep on concrete floors, and to go without soap or showers for weeks; this disgraceful policy of deliberate cruelty is a moral affront to the values upon which this great country was founded.”

“We are not going to stop until these policies stop,” Imam Omar Suleiman, of the Yaqeen Institute for Islamic Research concluded. “We won’t sleep until children can dream again. To engage these places directly is to insist that the status quo is unacceptable.”

“When we leave El Paso, we want to be authentic of our critique and in our witness in this way: there is a text that says when God called Ezekiel in the midst of the exile, he told Ezekiel to lay down for seven days in front of the people,” said the Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II, Repairers of the Breach and co-chair of the Poor People’s Campaign. “I’ve studied the scripture and as I have looked at it, I have come to understand that the reason Ezekiel was instructed to lay down in front of the people, was because he had to feel, experience and pay attention to the people so the prophetic word he articulated the audible moans and groans of the people. In this way, our voice isn’t just ours alone; we are responsible for amplifying the voice of the people. Our voices, our bodies and our witness will be authentic in everything that we do.”


Contact: Jennifer Farmer,

In Directorial Debut, Filmmaker Jodi Gomes Urges A Closer Look at Standardized Tests Following the Atlanta Public Schools Cheating Scandal

In Directorial Debut, Filmmaker Jodi Gomes Urges A Closer Look at Standardized Tests Following the Atlanta Public Schools Cheating Scandal; Highlights Unrealistic Pressure Facing Educators

Gomes’ Documentary, One Child Left Behind, to Premiere Friday, June 14 in Miami

Atlanta, GA – One Child Left Behind, the heart-wrenching documentary by filmmaker Jodi Gomes on the 2009 Atlanta Public School scandal, is a searing indictment of high stakes testing and the pressure such tests place on students, parents and educators alike. Set to premiere Friday, June 14 at 3:50 p.m. ET at the American Black Film Festival (ABFF) in Miami, Fla., the film marks Gomes’ directorial debut. The press junket for the film is at 11:15 a.m. in the Loews/Sun Dial Room.

One Child Left Behind exposes how the No Child Left Behind Act failed underserved communities,” said Jodi Gomes, acclaimed showrunner, filmmaker and the director. “One-size-fits all testing is an outdated mandate that fails to account for the social and economic disparities plaguing students across the U.S. The focus should be on how to address root causes of cheating, the harms of teaching to the tests, and crisis of underfunded public schools.”

Gomes takes us behind the headlines and into the lives of the educators and administrators implicated in the case. She highlights uncomfortable but necessary questions such as, “shouldn’t the No Child Left Behind policy have been on the stand too?” and “what if the law overstated the teachers’ involvement and understated the U.S. Department of Education’s culpability?”

Jodi Gomes is an award-winning documentarian, filmmaker and showrunner. One Child Left Behind: The Untold Atlanta Cheating Scandal is her directorial debut. She previously produced The Jacksons: A Family Dynasty (2009), Married to Medicine (2013), Laffapalooza, etc.

For more information, or to arrange an interview, please contact Jennifer Farmer at





Doctor, Minister Discuss Healing Following Trauma

calm water

For Immediate Release

April 4, 2019

OAKLAND, CA – Following a national discussion about gun violence in the wake of the killing of rapper and businessman Nipsey Hussle, medical doctor and wellness expert Dr. Bernadette Anderson and pastor Michael McBride, head of urban strategies for Faith in Action, today shared thoughts on the importance of healing:

Rev. Michael McBride, Pastor, The Way Christian Church, Director of Urban Strategies for Faith in Action and Campaign Director for LIVE FREE

“There are people who get up every day (Erica Ford, Life Camp in New York; The Black Brown Gun Violence Prevention Consortium, LIVE FREE) working in some of the most depressed and distressed systems – Oakland, CA; Chicago; IL; New York, NY  – and seeing 20, 30 and 40 percent reductions in gun-related shootings and homicides. There are all kinds of people who are already doing this work. It is a myth that we cannot solve gun violence.

Our people are indeed traumatized. We must prioritize their healing and not more punishment or more violence by the hands of the system. It is almost as if the violence in urban communities (Black, Brown and poor communities) is an issue that elected officials – even on the Democratic side — are forcing our communities to have to solve on our own.

We stand in solidarity with our loved ones from March for Our Lives, youth organizers and our Parkland loved ones. They have been some of the best champions in helping to braid the issues of mass shootings and gun violence in urban communities. But we must challenge the larger gun violence prevention field, challenge our Senate and Congressional leaders to FUND, not research, the best proven strategies that have worked for decades. I’m referring to public health interventions, credible messenger interventions, targeted messaging to those who are at the highest risk of shooting or being shot, group violence reductions initiatives, etc. Our mayors should scale these up and they should be a part of the national ownership to ensure our communities are not overwhelmed by violence.”

More from Rev. McBride:

Dr. Bernadette Anderson, M.D., MPH, Founder of Life in Harmony LLC

“Too many times, when a person has been wounded, they are told to ‘get over it.’ However, a wounded person cannot merely wish away the pain associated with trauma. And, the passage of time does not guarantee health and wellness.

When people are not told to “get over it,” they are told to seek justice — to make the offender pay for the wrongs they have inflicted. But advising a wounded person to “get over it” or “seek justice” without helping them to seek healing is ineffective. If we get justice without healing, we continue to suffer because we have not closed the chapter on a difficult period of our lives.

The proper way to close a painful chapter is through spiritual and faith-based practices, professional counseling, mindfulness or other tools that allow those of us who have been victimized to move beyond pain.

While we should most certainly seek justice for wrong-doing, we must understand that justice and healing are not the same thing. Justice is external and depends on the actions of others. Healing occurs on the inside. Justice is receiving some type of acknowledge and atonement for pain, but healing is the process of recovering from trauma and loosening its grips. Healing is not living our lives pretending that we have not been wounded; it is being able to give voice to our pain and to live outside of it.”

More from Dr. Anderson: