Recent focus has been brought to the issue of minority hiring and workplace diversity on public sector projects in and around Rochester by the local paper. Progress in that direction is an important step in the right direction. That being said, I remind this community that equal if not more attention must be given to the hiring of minority workers on private sector projects as well. Whether one looks at construction for grocery stores, hospitals, universities, business parks, or corporate offices, there is an obvious absence of diversity on those sites. This is 2013, and the absence of women and ethnic minorities on so many conspicuous construction sites is an affront to the history of Rochester as a progressive community. We should and we must do better!
The acquittal of George Zimmerman on all charges in the death of Trayvon Martin set off debate and protest across the nation. President McMickle lent his unique perspective and wisdom to the discussion through local and national media outlets.
"There is no faith that does not demand forgiveness." — Howard Thurman
The front lines of the longest war in American history — the war against racism — is riddled with the bodies and sacrifices of the young soldiers who fought in the Civil War, Emmett Till, Rodney King, young African-American males who populate America's jails, and now Trayvon Martin. Whether one believes George Zimmerman is innocent or guilty of murdering Trayvon (and despite his acquittal of all charges by a jury, this decision in the court of public opinion will still be in play), no one can dispute that the profiling of Trayvon was racially motivated. After all, Zimmerman openly admitted that he, a neighborhood watch volunteer, was suspicious and fearful of a young African-American male wearing a hoodie.
"Need to Know" – Rochester-focused TV News Show
Pres. McMickle discussed the impact of and response to the outcome of the trial against George Zimmerman for the fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Florida, on Rochester, New York's regional PBS station (WXXI).
Letter to the Editor
Immediately following the announcement of the verdict, Pres. McMickle sent the following letter to The Democrat and Chronicle, a local paper in Rochester, New York.
My heart is deeply conflicted as I think about the outcome of the George Zimmerman trial.
A young man lies dead, the shooter is acquitted, and for many in America a large piece of our confidence in the criminal justice system has died as well. On the other hand, black men die every day at the hands of other black men and it barely makes the local news, much less a matter of national attention. There is enough sin and blame to go around.
Perhaps, in the aftermath of this court case, we in Rochester and across the country can renew our commitment to the value of every human life, no matter by whose hands that life has been taken!
Gun control. Racial profiling. Perhaps this time we can make some real progress.
(Originally published here on July 14, 2013.)
On July 18, 2013, President Marvin A. McMickle, Ph.D., co-signed an op-ed addressing the ongoing immigration reform debate and the recent Supreme Court decision to strike down Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act in June. It was published in The Huffington Post on behalf of African-American and Latino faith leaders from across the United States.
As Christian faith leaders, two of our deepest values are love and justice. Informed by our Christian heritage and legacy of our shared histories in pursuit of a more perfect union, we know our nation is deeply enriched by the inclusion of a great mosaic of people in our democracy. Our eyes are on the prize of a democracy that reflects the universal principles of love and justice. However, two recent developments in our national landscape have called us to speak-up about the direction of our shared democracy.
Just weeks ago, the Supreme Court struck down Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act. Since 1965, the Voting Rights Act has been the shield that has protected the rights of racial-ethnic minorities to vote against state efforts to discriminatorily limit their voting strength. Several of the nine states that were previously covered by the requirement have begun to implement changes in voting procedures, such as restrictive voter ID laws, that will negatively impact, and potentially disenfranchise, Americans in the communities we serve. We should build bridges, not hurdles to the voting process. As we approach the 50th year of the March on Washington and Dr. King's "I Have a Dream" speech in Washington D.C., the present initiatives around the country to restrict voting rights are a retreat from the promise of that dream.
The visit was a research opportunity for a project at the paper she leads, Unite Rochester. Pres. McMickle has worked closely with Ms. Sutter on the feature, which seeks to address ongoing issues of race, identity and injustice here in Rochester.
Learn more about Unite Rochester at their website.