SPRINGFIELD, Vt. – We experience regularly negative stores about racial prejudice, violence, and bias in our world. Racial animosity has plagued our country from the beginning, and it’s certainly disturbing and of concern. At the same time, there is “the other tradition” of Race Amity or friendship among the races that has also always existed. We can turn to this inspiring tradition of Race Amity for insights, stories, and strategies for how to move forward from race animosity to Race Amity. And who better to learn from than Dr. William Smitty Smith, the founding Director of the National Center for Race Amity, www.raceamity.org/, in the Boston Area. Smitty is a talented filmmaker and you can find his Race Amity films through PBS stations. Smitty, a charismatic, dedicated, and inspiring leader, will be the featured speaker on our virtual service on May 15 at 10 a.m. The Zoom link is www.us02web.zoom.us/j/6130779853.
This service is the finale in on our eight-part series, “Medicine for Our Times: Living the Legacy of Howard Thurman.” Howard Thurman was one of the most influential African Americans of the last century and a shining exemplar of Race Amity. He co-founded the Church for the Fellowship of All Peoples in San Francisco, and was called by Rep. John Lewis, “A saint of the Civil Rights Movement.” Thurman met Gandhi in India, brought ideas about non-violent resistance back to America, and had a profound impact on Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.
In the worship service on Sunday, May 15, Smitty will lay the groundwork of our understanding about Race Amity and then our four Howard Thurman experts will dive deeper into the connections between Howard Thurman and Race Amity. Our four other speakers are Rev. Dr. Kristal Owens and Minister Usher Moses, both of the Empowerment Center in Cheverly, Md., Robbin Ruffner, Religious Science Practitioner from the Atlanta area, and myself, Rev. Dr. Mellen Kennedy of the Springfield Meetinghouse. In addition, Thurman was a fan of the Negro Spirituals and our virtual choir has prepared some beautiful music for us. You’re invited to join us and to stay for the virtual coffee hour.
For more info on Thurman, visit our web site, www.uuspringfieldvt.org/howard-thurman-medicine-for-these-times.
Written by Rev. Dr. Mellen Kennedy, Springfield Meetinghouse.