Saturday, June 22, 2024

Rev. Al Sharpton, local religious leaders to rally against white Christian nationalism ahead of RNC

From JSOnline:

Quinn Clark
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Longtime civil rights activists and faith leaders are coming together to speak out against white Christian nationalism one day before the Republican National Convention.

The "We All Belong" campaign, which was launched last year by multi-faith organization MICAH, will hold a "Rally for Democracy" on July 14 from 2 to 6 p.m. at University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee's Helene Zelazo Center for the Performing Arts.

Organizers said the event will reject white Christian nationalism and promote democracy and what Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. called a "Beloved Community" that has compassion for and welcomes all

The rally's speakers include both nationally and locally renowned civil rights activists, including Rev. Al Sharpton and Milwaukee's own Rev. Greg Lewis and Rev. Joseph Ellwanger.

"We're here to say Milwaukee is standing for a campaign and a way of being as Americans where we all belong, barring none, and building that 'Beloved Community,'" said Milwaukee Muslim Women's Coalition president Janan Najeeb, also a featured speaker.

Ellwanger, a longtime civil rights leader and member of MICAH, grew up in segregated Selma, Ala., witnessing the injustices of the Jim Crow South. He served as one the few white pastors of an African American congregation in Birmingham in 1958.

Ellwanger worked with civil rights leaders like King to create change, including advocating for the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which banned discriminatory tactics meant to keep Black voters from the polls. Today, as politicians like Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene promote white Christian nationalism, he said his work is far from over.

Christian nationalism is a right-wing movement that argues Christian values should influence government and that church and state should not be separate.

Ellwanger said white Christian nationalism's ideology, which excludes people of color and the LGBTQ+ community, is almost reinstating Jim Crow's policies, which is "neither Christian, nor is it patriotic."

"Legal Jim Crow died a slow, difficult death only after Martin Luther King and some Christian leadership put their lives on the line and said, 'Enough is enough,'" said Ellwanger. "And we still have the results."

Ellwanger said both the We All Belong campaign and the campaign's event planned for July 14 are nonpartisan.

"We're not for Democrats, and con or against Republicans," Ellwanger said. "We're against white, Christian nationalism, wherever it is. Unfortunately, it is in every sector of society."

Tickets for the "Rally for Democracy" are available for $5 on A livestream of the event will also be available.

Quinn Clark is a Public Investigator reporter. She can be emailed at Follow her on Twitter at @Quinn_A_Clark.


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