CRCDS alumnus Rev. Rodney E. Williams (CRCDS '12) elected to lead Kansas City branch of NAACP

Rev. Rodney E. Williams (CRCDS '12), has been elected as president of the Kansas City branch of the National Association of the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). Rev. Williams, a member of the NAACP since he was eight years old, is a longtime civil rights activist and the pastor of Swope Parkway United Christian Church in Kansas City, Missouri. Rev. Williams previously served as vice president of the local branch of the NAACP, which hosted the 2010 national convention featuring Michelle Obama as a keynote speaker. Organized in 1913, the Kansas City chapter has the largest membership in the surrounding10-state area, including Missouri.

Rev. Williams lives in Kansas City, MO with his wife Lorianne and their three children, Danielle, Rodney and Courtney.


CRCDS President Dr. Marvin A. McMickle on Hate Crimes, Race in America

CRCDS President Dr. Marvin A. McMickle expressed his opinion about hate crimes and race in America, as we approach Martin Luther King Day. The editorial piece, submitted to the (Rochester, NY) Democrat and Chronicle on January 7, 2017, reads:

"I read with horror the assault by four African Americans on a mentally disabled white teen in my hometown of Chicago. I agree with President Obama who called the action "despicable." All lives matter, and that assault was an attack on that principle. As I saw the faces of the defendants in Chicago plastered across the front page of every newspaper I encountered, it occurred to me that I had to do a Google search to find the name of John R. K. Howard of Dietrich, Idaho. He is a white high school student who, along with three other white students sodomized a black student with mental disabilities by shoving a coat hanger up his rectum and ramming it in and out six times causing severe physical damage. All of this was done while racial taunts were hurled at the helpless victim. This was all observed by at least a dozen white adult employees of that school who said and did nothing to stop this assault. The event that occurred in 2015 was resolved in December of 2016 when John R. K. Howard was released without any charges sustained against him. Instead of jail time, he will serve 300 hours of community service. I wonder if the African Americans involved in Chicago will be given 300 hours of community service for engaging in exactly the same kind of behavior as the white students in Idaho? If not, if they are held to a different standard of justice, then the whole issue of equal justice under the law becomes a joke. To be clear, I am not condoning or seeking mercy or showing any sympathy for the culprits in Chicago. I am just pointing out that exactly the same set of circumstances occurred in Idaho Iast year and it was resolved just last month. The only difference was that the attackers in Idaho were all white, and the victim was a mentally disabled black person. Those white attackers were never the lead story on the national news. Their pictures were not on the front page of local and national newspapers. The President of the United States was not asked to comment on that attack. When the trial is held and the verdict is announced in Chicago we will find out if there is any such thing as equal justice under the law. I do not want the attackers in Chicago to be let off the hook. I just want to know why the white teens in Idaho have been treated so differently? That is a question I hope everyone will ponder as this nation approaches Martin Luther King, Jr. Day."

Marvin A. McMickle, Ph.D.

President, Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School

CRCDS President Dr. Marvin A. McMickle on WXXI's "Connections" 12.14.16

CRCDS President Dr. Marvin A. McMickle appeared on (Rochester, NY) WXXI "Connections" live radio show on Wednesday, December 14, 2016 to discuss "America during the Trump Administration." The animated, one-hour long broadcast covered many issues, including taking advantage of the right to vote, and how to make one's voice heard in a disparate but democratic society.

To listen to the podcast, please click here:

7th Annual "Bells on the Hill" a spirited success

CRCDS hosted its 7th annual "Bells on the Hill" event on Sunday, December 11, 2016. More than a hundred people visited the Samuel Colgate Memorial Chapel to sing holiday carols, share refreshments and hear the playing of the Andrews-Hale chimes.

Thank you to everyone who came out on a chilly, but beautiful winter evening to share in fellowship and song. A special thanks to Wegmans and to Mrs. Libby Clay for providing holiday treats.

A highlight of the event was children participating in the singing of the carols. Many remarked they were one of the best parts of the event. Click here to see an enthusiastic group of children singing "Jingle Bells":


A "Unite Rochester" blog by CRCDS President Dr. Marvin A. McMickle: "Two Steps Forward, One Step Back"

CRCDS President Dr. Marvin A. McMickle reflects on the current challenges of our nation, offering words of hope in his latest "Unite Rochester" blog, recently published online:

"There is little doubt that for most African Americans, and for most persons committed to a progressive agenda for American society that the election of Donald Trump as President of the United States is proving to be a major step backward.

It is hard enough to accept the fact that the successor to our nation's first African American president was the one person who went out of his way to question the legitimacy of Obama's election, his American citizenship, and even his intelligence. However, the election of Donald Trump is bringing with it the appointment of Jeff Sessions of Alabama as the Attorney General of the United States. Sessions' opposition to expanded voting rights makes it unlikely that any attempt to end voter suppression practices across the country beginning in Alabama will be ignored or rejected.

Given the likelihood that the next four years may see two or three vacancies on the U.S. Supreme Court means that policies ranging from reproductive choice, to gun control, voting rights, affirmative action, worker's rights, and immigration policy could be established that will remain in effect decades after Trump has left office. I would never have imagined that eight years after enough white Americans cast their votes to elect Barack Obama that a rally could be held in Washington, DC, a few blocks from the White House where an Alt Right group would be celebrating the election of Donald Trump with talk of white nationalism and displays of the Nazi salute. We have gone from two steps forward to at least one step back so far as this being a country that has embraced racial and religious diversity is concerned.

I have seen these shifts in progress and suppression before. In 1967 there was elation that came with the confirmation of Thurgood Marshall as the first black Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. That appointment came after a long career as the nation's leading civil rights attorney responsible for the 1954 Brown vs. Board of Education decision that ended segregation in public schools. That was two giant steps forward. Upon his retirement Marshall was replaced by Clarence Thomas who first benefited greatly from affirmative action and then spent the next twenty years doing everything in his power to repeal the very policies that positioned him for his appointment. That was an enormous step backward.

Despite these backward steps, I remain convinced that the words so often quoted by Martin Luther King, Jr. remain true today: "The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward Justice." Despite the election of Donald Trump and all the disappointment that has come with it for more than half of the U.S. population who did not vote for him, social progress will continue in this country. In fact, after four years of a Trump administration, people may realize that our society did take a step back in more areas than they could ever have imagined. There will be two steps forward once again in the United States of America, and the journey toward a more perfect union will be resumed!"

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