October 4-6 in Atlanta

Long ago, Mary, a role model for motherhood, stood at the foot of the cross witnessing brutality, inhumanity, and death being inflicted on her child. Today we are all parents looking at the brutality and death that mass shootings inflict on our children. At the same time, we are painfully aware that gun violence is a racial justice issue. Black Americans are twice as likely as white Americans to die from gun violence.

For over a century, the Fellowship of Reconciliation – the oldest interfaith peace organization in the world – has gathered people from different faith traditions to work and advocate on issues of peace and justice. As FOR continues today to address conscientious objection to war and militarism, racial injustices, homelessness, the death penalty, nuclear disarmament, and immigration, refugee, labor, and LGBTQ+ rights, we are also aware that the U.S. is the only country in the world with more guns than people. 

Addressing America’s gun violence crisis is a daunting task and an aspect of the crisis that is often missed is the high correlation between those who are regarded as Christian nationalists and those who refuse to contemplate any form of gun control. In the wake of mass shootings, the constant refrain from these Christian nationalists is only that Americans need to pray more while acting as though it would be sacrilegious to consider any limitations at all on gun access. Do we really believe as a society that the Second Amendment and the profits of those who manufacture instruments of death should take primacy and be considered more sacred than the lives of our children?

The White Christian nationalist mass shootings that are so commonplace today – the 2015 Charleston Church shooting, the 2018 Tree of Life Synagogue massacre, and the 2022 and 2023 white supremacist shootings in Buffalo, NY and Jacksonville, FL, to name just a few – are anything but a modern phenomenon. They are a continuation of the same hatred that imposed the Trail of Tears, bore slavery, carried out the Atlanta massacre of 1906 and Tulsa massacre of 1921, dreamed up Jim Crow, lynched countless Black people, bombed 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, and was behind the murders of George Floyd, Briana Taylor, Tyre Nichols, and so many others.

Our various holy books teach us that “to save a life is to save the world entire.” To this end, we will be gathering in Atlanta in the fall, October 4-6, 2024.

We have just begun reaching out to invite speakers and we are thrilled that prominent gun control advocates Manuel and Patricia Oliver, whose son, Joaquin, was killed in 2018 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, have been confirmed as speaker/presenters as well as Shane Claiborne — author, Evangelical preacher, and cofounder of Red-Letter Christians. He recently co-authored the book “Beating Guns: Hope for People Who Are Weary of Violence” and is doing workshops around the country in which he literally breaks down guns and turns their materials into garden tools. 

FOR Spring 2024 Conference Advisory Committee:

  • Rev. Fahed Abuakel, Peachtree Presbyterian Church in Atlanta; 
  • Linda Alvarez, Fellowship of Reconciliation National Council (FOR-NC) member, adjunct professor at Bowling Green State University (BGSU), owner of the only feminist mobile bookstore in the U.S.; People Called Women (PCW), LLC.; 
  • Rania Batrice, legislative, human rights, communication, gun violence victims strategist; 
  • Dr. James Zogby, founder, and President, Arab American Institute; 
  • Ron Hampton former Executive Director of the National Black Police Association; 
  • Rev. Chris Ney, FOR-NC co-chair, pastor of Central Congregational Church (UCC) in Newburyport, MA.; 
  • Shane Claiborne, Red Letter Christians, RAW Tools, and more
  • Ellen Lindeen, FOR-NC member. Professor Emeritus
  • Morgan Artyukhina, journalist, trans-rights activist
  • Rev. Dr. Susan Smith, ordained minister and the founder of Crazy Faith Ministries in Columbus, Ohio, serves on People For the American Way Foundation’s African American Ministers In Action. 
  • Dr. Nina Turner, educator, activist, senior fellow at the Institute of Race, Power, and the Political Economy, former Ohio State Senator
  • Rabbi May Ye of Mending Minyan congregation in New Haven. CT, Fellowship of Reconciliation 2023-24 Wink Fellow;
  • Rev. Dr. Tyrone Pitts, general secretary emeritus for the Progressive National Baptist Convention, Inc., works with New Baptist Covenant, racial justice activist with the National Council of Churches, and chair of the Morehouse School of Religion Board of Directors;
  • Rev. William Lamar, IV, senior pastor of the historic, nearly 2,000-member Metropolitan A.M.E. Church, Washington, D.C. 
  • Ms. Jacqueline Luqman, Mid-Atlantic coordinator of the Black Alliance for Peace, Host on The Real News Network, and pan-Africanist
  • Rev. Dr. Jimmie Hawkins, director of the Presbyterian Church (USA) Office of Public Witness in Washington, DC. 
  • Rev. Patricia Fears, Senior Pastor, Fellowship Baptist Church

We look forward to seeing you (either in-person or virtually), along with the rest of our Beloved Community, next spring in Atlanta to pray with our words and our feet to Reclaim the Name of God through an embrace of the tremendous power of nonviolence.

Join us October 4-6 in Atlanta

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