African-American WNY pastors stand together in solidarity

Buffalo

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — More than 40 African-American pastors from across western New York came together on Thursday morning.

The group, which includes Buffalo Common Council President Darius Pridgen and NAACP Buffalo Branch President Mark Blue, stood together in solidarity following recent events in the community.

The gathering took place at Calvary Baptist Church on Genesee St. in Buffalo.

The pastors released a unified statement that was read at their gathering, which took place at 11 a.m. Read it below:

“As Pastors and concerned Clergy, of the City of Buffalo and Greater Niagara Region, we stand in solidarity with the countless men and women across our nation, our beloved Erie County and City, who are outraged with the recent events that have transpired surrounding the complete disregard for Black lives. Our hearts ache and are injured from the heaviness of the burden of being Black in America and the trauma produced from suffering cycles of these countless injustices— including centuries of systems of oppression and systemic racism dating back to well over 400 years. We want answers and we demand change!

We’ve watched and even participated in the demonstrations and protests heard around the city and assure you that we stand as advocates and allies with those who are sincerely aligned with the movement and not those who are merely invested with their own ulterior motives. Additionally, we do not minimize the efforts of any individual who joins in the fight for justice and true equality. Many have been on the frontlines battling the pandemic of racism as well as the Covid-19 pandemic simultaneously. While we march, resist and protest, we must also bear in mind that all of us are called to be proactive in doing our part. We cannot miss this moment by abandoning our focus which is the eradication of racism and bigotry. This energy must continue beyond that of physical protests. Our ability to address these issues, through intentional and coordinated efforts, are paramount and of the utmost importance. The revolution that is taking place now—we must not allow it to fade into the background. We must keep this same energy and passion as we move towards June 23rd and the first Tuesday in November, while continuing to protect our own communities and offering critiques of rogue policies.

All of this is a stark reminder for the clergy represented here today that as we continue to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ, we must preach the gospel in its entirety. The gospel that confronts the oppression of the least, the lost and left out. The gospel that uplifts the marginalized. Christ Himself came to “set the captives free” and was the Word made flesh who manifested a gospel of hope and peace. As a faith-based community, we will support each other during this period of time that test our resolve, the resolve of our communities and the resolve of our country to fight racism and create a more equitable and just global society.

We the clergy of the City of Buffalo, Erie County and Niagara Falls stand together in prayer, unity, and action. 

In Solidarity,

Corey Gibson, Darrell Fairer, Darius Pridgen, Craig Pridgen, Kenneth Simmons, Edward Jackson, William Gillison, Kinzer Pointer, Johnny Harris, Jason Drayton, Duane Thomas Jr, Mark Blue, Brian Robinson, Ronnie Benning, Daniel Benning, Hazel Boyd, Tim Newkirk, Michael Badger, Tim Brown, Tommie Babbs, Carl Hill, Hamid Motley, Rob Lowe, Bruce Burton, Alan Core, and a host of other Pastors that affirm this statement.”

News 4 will show this event live at 11 a.m. Watch on WIVB.com.

Evan Anstey is a digital content producer who has been part of the News 4 team since 2015. See more of his work here.

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