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Reverand Graylan Scott Hagler is a deep and prophetic voice for the oppressed, from Black, Latinx, and other marginalized US communities experiencing racism in the U.S. to Palestinians living under the brutal system of Israeli apartheid.
Until the summer of 2022, when he retired from his position as Senior Minister, Rev. Hagler spent twenty years at the Plymouth Congregational United Church of Christ in Washington, D.C. transforming the Fort Totten, D.C. area from a neighborhood of corner liquor stores and open-air drug markets to an engaged and uplifting community. He continues to stay involved in the congregation he spent so many years shaping and inspiring.
Rev. Hagler is the founder and director of Faith Strategies LLC, which engages in political ministry and partners with FOR-USA. He serves as co-chair of the D.C. Poor People’s Campaign and co-chair of the Black Homeownership Strike Task Force to combat the racial wealth gap in Washington, D.C.
He was educated in Baltimore Public Schools, Hampton Institute (University), Oberlin College, and the Chicago Theological Seminary. In the 1970s, he ministered to the Third Unitarian Church on Chicago’s disenfranchised West Side and founded Black and Latinos In Action. In 1981, as racial tensions were catapulting the city into national news, Rev. Hagler moved to Boston and took over a run-down, city-owned building near Dudley Station in Roxbury, turning it into the Church of the United Community. In 1993, Rev. Hagler came to Washington, D.C where he began ministering to the Plymouth Congregational United Church of Christ. He won a battle against Exxon who was planning to build a ‘super gas station’ in his church’s neighborhood, turning the property into 69 units of subsidized housing for the elderly.
Having long been involved in work to end wars and militarism around the world, in 2015, he led a transformative clergy witness trip to the West Bank of Palestine. “Silence is not an option when your eyes have seen and your heart is filled with memories of Jim Crow, apartheid, discriminations and human beings’ inhumanity to other human beings,” he said.
In October 2022, Rev. Hagler joined FOR-USA’s team as an advisor to inspire and assist the organization’s racial and economic justice work.