Gospel Roundup

From Left to Right: Martin Luther King Jr., Maya Angelou, Kierra Sheard-Kelly

25 Faith Leaders Organize Hunger Strike for Voting Rights

In a concerted effort and show of solidarity, Rev. Stephen A. Green, Chair of Faith for Black Lives in New York, Pastor Jamal Bryant of Georgia and other church leaders have united to organize a hunger strike to give voice to the recent fight over voting rights. The national coalition of faith leaders launched Hunger Strike for Voting Rights on January 6, 2022, the anniversary of the violent insurrection against the U.S. Capitol.  The hunger strike was inspired by voter suppression attempts in 19 states that have resulted in 14 changes to laws that impact voter’s rights. These recent changes were the catalyst for their need to mobilize to protect the laws that allow all U.S. citizens to have the opportunity to receive fair and uninhibited access to the polls to vote for their political candidates of choice. The representatives in this collective are from various churches through the states across the U.S. The goal is to urge Congress to protect democracy by enacting voting laws by January 17, 2022, Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

Kierra Sheard-Kelly Heads Tuscaloosa MLK Concert

Gospel singer Kierra Sheard-Kelly will be in Tuscaloosa, AL for “Realizing the Dream,” a series of events that will be held to honor the life and legacy of the late Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The events were organized by a combined planning committee from the Tuscaloosa chapter of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, the University of Alabama and representatives from Shelton State Community College and Stillman College. Kierra will be the featured performer for the 2022 Realizing the Dream Concert, that will be held on Sunday, January 16th at the University of Alabama’s Moody Concert Hall at 7:30pm.  Due to the rise of COVID-19 omicron variant cases, all indoor events scheduled will be at 50 percent capacity. The weekend’s theme for 2022 is “Realizing the Dream Through Kindness and Respect for Others.”

Maya Angelou Continues to Make History Posthumously

Maya Angelou, award-winning author, renowned poet, and civil rights activist was honored nearly eight years following her passing by the U.S. Treasury Department. The U.S. Mint recently released a series of quarters honoring women trailblazers. Angelou’s image now displayed on the quarter makes her the first Black woman to ever appear on a U.S. coin. Angelou’s likeness was created by illustrator/designer Emily Damstra, and medallic artist Craig Campbell. Angelou is depicted with uplifted arms, in front of a bird in flight with rays of sunlight streaking out from behind her. The Mint said in a statement, that the images were “inspired by her poetry and symbolic of the way she lived.” Angelou, whose career spanned over 50 years received numerous awards including three Grammys, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, a Pulitzer prize nomination, the National Medal of Arts, and the Lincoln Medal. She wrote seven autobiographical books, countless other books of poetry and received over 50 honorary degrees despite having never formally attended college. She will also be remembered for her works during the Civil Rights Movement with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X. In 1960, she was named the Northern Coordinator for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and was once quoted in an interview saying, “I believe Jesus Christ was the most courageous of persons because He dared to love.”

Philadelphia Motorists and Pedestrians Witness Helicopter Miracle

A medical helicopter carrying a two-month-old to a hospital in Philadelphia crashed and miraculously there were no fatalities.  The pilot, crewman, a nurse, and the infant girl who was being airlifted for medical care survived what many are calling a “miracle landing.” The crash occurred on Monday, January 11th as the LifeNet chopper was en route to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia from Hagerstown, MD. The pilot initially landed the helicopter in Chambersburg, PA just 10 minutes after taking off and 47 minutes later, the chopper quickly lost altitude and crashed just outside of the Drexel Hill United Methodist Church in Upper Darby. The church was incredibly spared any damage. All four victims, said to be in good health with non-life-threatening injuries exited the aircraft prior to emergency rescue crews arriving on the scene. Aerial view pictures taken of crash show just how close the aircraft came to impacting the front of the 95-year-old church. The pilot has been commended for his role in a safe landing, avoiding trees, wires, and those on the ground at the time of the crash.

MLK Artifacts Exhibit Tour Opens in Louisiana

The “Carrying on the Dream” traveling exhibit honoring the life of the slain civil rights leader Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, will be making four stops in the state of Louisiana.  The exhibit preserved by Todd Graves, founder and CEO of Raisin’ Canes includes the funeral hearse that carried Dr. King’s remains and other historical items that serve as a reminder for those who had never had the opportunity to see or hear MLK speak during his lifetime. The first stop on the exhibit will be in Lafayette, LA where the artifacts will be on public display at Louisiana Tech Student Center on January 16th – 18th.  The tour which kicks-off on Martin Luther King Jr. weekend will then move on to the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame and Northwest Louisiana History Museum before making its final stop in February with a three-day showing at the Lake Charles Civic Center.