By Marilyn Stewart
If the topic is civil rights and the struggle for equality, Andrew Young, Jr., a former U. S. ambassador, congressman, and colleague of Martin Luther King, Jr., is a name sure to come up.
But so will the names Noel Castellanos and Raymond Bakke.
These three leaders making strides toward racial equality are featured speakers at “Talking about Race: Moving from Racism to Reconciliation,” Sept. 27, 7 p.m., at Leavell Chapel, sponsored by the NOBTS Institute for Faith and the Public Square. Registration is free.
“For our speakers, racial reconciliation is not just an academic issue,” said Dr. Lloyd Harsch, director. “They have been, and continue to be, active participants in the Civil Rights movement and Urban Renewal.”
Young, a New Orleans native, left a pastorate position to join Dr. King and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) where his leadership position gave him a contributing role in drafting the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Young once served as a U.S. Congressman from Georgia and as the U. S. Ambassador to the United Nations under President Jimmy Carter.
Harsch pointed to the “wealth of experience” that the speakers bring to the discussion that include partnerships with cutting edge public and private organizations to working with Billy Graham.
Bakke, author of numerous books equipping leaders in urban ministry including “A Theology as Big as the City” and “The Urban Christian,” is chancellor and a Board of Regents member for Bakke Graduate University of Ministry, an education entity equipping urban leaders to serve in ministry around the world.
Castellanos, founder of the Christian Community Development Association and member of President Obama’s Council for Faith and Neighborhood Partnerships, is a highly sought after speaker, motivator, and mentor to young leaders who speaks from a passion committed to serving the poor. With years of ministry experience in Latino, urban communities, Castellanos is the co-author of “A Heart for the Community: New Models for Urban and Suburban Ministry.”
Harsch noted the significance of the conference and said that while most people want racial reconciliation, agreeing on what reconciliation looks like is harder to do.
“One group can focus on the individual impact of racism and conclude that significant progress has been made, whereas another group sees continuing systemic problems as evidence that there has been little progress,” Harsch said. “The result is that people talk past each other on this topic and become frustrated.”
The event is open to all. To register, visit www.faith-publicsquare.org.