Last week’s march and rally to halt re-segregation in Wake County was a powerful experience. Thanks to all of the Council folks who turned out. I saw several current leaders of Council member bodies (Bishop Richard Thompson, Bishop George Walker, Bishop Al Gwinn, Bishop Michael Curry, President Greg Moss, Pastor Nancy Petty), one retired bishop (Bob Estill), a handful of current or former Board members, two former staff members (Collins Kilburn and Jimmy Creech), and quite a few priests, pastors, and members of congregations that are affiliated with the Council.
I was asked to bring brief remarks from the Council. Because of the heat, we were asked to be even briefer. Here are the words I had prepared (not all of which got delivered!):
The North Carolina Council of Churches is an ecumenical organization comprised of 16 denominations, which are in turn made up of more than 6,000 congregations and 1.5 million congregants. We were founded in 1935 – 75 years ago – by white church leaders who came together in significant part because of their shared belief that segregation was immoral. Over our entire history, we have worked for racial justice, for a more fully integrated society, and against the social and economic disparities which continue because of our region’s ugly history of slavery and segregation.
So I am proud to stand here today, along with lots of church leaders and other people of faith, in opposition to the dismantling of Wake County’s nationally recognized diversity policy and the re-segregation which will almost certainly follow. We’ve worked together before to end segregation in the schools. We must work together now to prevent its creeping return. Because separate is still not equal, and segregation is still immoral.