New Minneapolis Group, Black Clergy United for Change, Apologizes to Millennials and Members of the LGBT Community Amid “Black Lives Matter” Tension

JERRY HOLT • JERRY.HOLT@STARTRIBUNE.COM
JERRY HOLT • JERRY.HOLT@STARTRIBUNE.COM

A new local black clergy organization apologized Thursday to the “marginalized members of the black community” in response to tensions between some ministers and Black Lives Matter members in the Twin Cities.

Black Clergy United for Change offered an apology to millennials and members of the gay and transgender communities, especially black youths, for what they said is the disparaging attitude of some of the established leaders in the black church.

Intergenerational tensions erupted in the wake of the fatal shooting of Jamar Clark in north Minneapolis in November, which prompted an encampment at the Fourth Precinct station by Black Lives Matter supporters.

“It earmarked our coming together,” Elle Babington Steele, founder and lead pastor at REACH, said at a news conference. “It was time to get on the ground, get out there. And as we did, we recognized immediately that it was a call to join together and then to stand.”

The new group says that some longtime leaders have made unjustified remarks about members of Black Lives Matter, including women and members of the gay and transgender communities.

At the news conference, Black Clergy United for Change described itself as “a collective of black clergy committed to the work of racial justice and social transformation in urban communities and abroad.” The group was founded in December, Steele said.

Pastor Danny Givens Jr., founder and senior pastor of Above Every Name Ministries, said some black clergy have been dismissive and preached a “gospel of intolerance,” criticizing gay and transgender people and women in leadership roles within Black Lives Matter.

Some of the local clergy leaders “want to co-opt the [Black Lives Matter] movement by presenting an olive branch and unity in order to promote their own agenda,” Givens said. “These are preachers who have been doing this for 30 years or more and they don’t want to make room for the next generation of faith leaders.”

He said those clergy “have a problem with the young folk in the queer and trans community who have been leading this movement towards justice for blacks and people of color.” Givens is the clergy liaison to Black Lives Matter Minneapolis.

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SOURCE: StarTribune – Zoe Peterson and Randy Furst

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