Peace on Earth Takes Many Forms: Dr. Marvin A. McMickle comments on the re-opening of U.S.-Cuba relations

Dr. McMickle recently wrote about the developments with Cuba in the Rochester, NY Democrat and Chronicle's Unite Rochester blog:

This morning I received a letter co-written by the National Council of Churches and the Cuban Council of Churches which began with a reference to a biblical verse that says: “Behold, I make all things new.” The letter was celebrating the new era of relationships between the United States of America and Cuba. For the last fifty-three years there has been an economic embargo and a break in diplomatic relations between our two countries. Much has happened during those 53 years. First of all, the other nations of the world ignored our embargo and continued to engage with Cuba. Next, the United States reopened diplomatic relations and trade relations with China when President Nixon traveled to Beijing. It must also be noted, for those who object to these changes on the grounds that Cuba is a communist nation ruled by a dictator, that we never broke off diplomatic relations with Russia even during the height of the Cold War. This was done under the assumption that you gain greater leverage through engagement than you do through estrangement. If we were to end diplomatic and trade relations with every nation governed by a dictator that denied democratic rights to their citizens, we would not be on speaking terms with half the nations in the world. Most of the people in Cuba and most Cuban-Americans want to see this “new thing” between our two countries, because they understand that more exposure to the freedoms enjoyed in other countries will result in those freedoms coming more quickly to their country as well. The embargo certainly did not work. If the chief objective of the embargo was to drive the Castro regime from power, then the embargo can only be deemed an absolute failure. It is time to try a “new thing.” This change in relations between our two countries did not occur without some effort on the part of many people. Negotiations involved the Canadian government, the Vatican and Pope Francis, and various members of the United States Senate, the State Department, and direct conversations between President Barack Obama and President Raoul Castro. That level of direct communication had not occurred since President Kennedy was in the White House. Their efforts have resulted in changes that greatly contribute to peace in our region of the world. Will Cuba be transformed over night into a beacon of liberty and freedom? Probably not! Will democratic principles and free trade agreements begin to take root almost immediately? Absolutely! There will undoubtedly be some grinches that would like to rob the world of this small bit of Christmas joy. The usual cast of characters, most of them in Florida are still viewing the world through the lens of the Cold War; a time in our nation’s history that most Americans including Cuban-Americans under 50, do not even remember. Let me see, we were bombed by the Japanese in 1941, but they are one of our closest allies today. We went to war with Germany in 1941, but they are our major European trading partner today. We fought a war in Viet Nam and lost 58,000 soldiers in the process, but today we have an embassy in Hanoi. Surely, in light of these precedents it is time to enter a new phase of diplomatic and trade relations with Cuba. Maybe the former Beatle, John Lennon said it best: “All we are saying is give peace a chance.”

To view the blog online or to share your comments, click here:

http://blogs.democratandchronicle.com/unite/2014/12/19/peace-on-earth-takes-many-forms/

CRCDS Board of Trustees Chair Bishop Jack M. McKelvey and CRCDS President Dr. Marvin A. McMickle on the decision not to indict in the death of Eric Garner

In the wake of the grand jury decision to not indict the police officer responsible for the death of Eric Garner in New York City, Chair of the CRCDS Board of Trustees Bishop Jack M. McKelvey and CRCDS President Dr. Marvin A. McMickle shared their thoughts with the Rochester, NY Democrat and Chronicle.

Bishop McKelvey’s letter to the editor is available online through the link provided below. For your convenience, the actual text is provided as well.

Dr. McMickle’s editorial was taken from his most recent Unite Rochester blog posting. The link to Dr. McMickle’s piece is available below along with the complete text.
FROM BISHOP JACK M. MCKELVEY

http://www.democratandchronicle.com/story/opinion/letters/2014/12/06/letter-garner-case-shows-video-evidence-issue/19967697/
In the wake of the grand jury decision regarding the Eric Garner case in New York City, one could raise the question as to why we need expensive police cameras in order to get justice. What more do we need than a video of action taken by police, a medical examiner's report and the verbal sounds of the victim saying "I can't breathe" to have the situation taken before a jury of the perpetrators peers? Does it not seem obvious that the issue is not video evidence, but rather how we come to decisions which allow the courts of law to act and justice to be done?
JACK M. McKELVEY
ROCHESTER
The writer is a retired Episcopal Bishop of the Diocese of Rochester.

FROM PRESIDENT MARVIN A. MCMICKLE
http://www.democratandchronicle.com/story/unite/2014/12/03/here-we-go-again/19862537/
Here We Go Again

In his book, The Souls of Black Folk, written in 1903, W.E.B. Du Bois said "The problem of the twentieth century will be the problem of the color line." As it happens, the problem of the color line has followed us into the 21st century with a pattern of white police officers using deadly force against unarmed black males in cities across the United States.
While the nation is still reeling from the decision in Ferguson, Missouri not to indict officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of Michael Brown, we have now heard that another white police officer in New York City will not be indicted in the death of Eric Garner.
The New York City Medical Examiner did an autopsy on his body and concluded that his death was "a homicide" caused by the use of an illegal choke hold that was banned by the New York City Police Department in 1993! This death played out on national TV for all the world to see. Eric Garner was unarmed. Eric Garner was suspected of selling loose cigarettes. Six police officers were involved in his take-down, and all six police officers doubtlessly heard Eric Garner say 11 times "I can't breathe."
No doubt some people will blame Eric Garner for this death, because they will say he was resisting arrest. Others will say he was guilty of selling loose cigarettes and not paying taxes. All of these issues could have been resolved if there had been an indictment that would have been followed by a trial where guilt or innocence could have been determined. Instead, the pattern continues of the death of unarmed black males being killed as a result of excessive force being used by white police officers.
For many black people, the words of Du Bois still seem relevant: The American problem is the problem of the color line. In the same book, Du Bois talked about his own feeling of "double consciousness" in which he felt the conflicts and limitations of being "an American and a Negro." That is the feeling that is spreading across black communities in this country with this string of deaths that are not even resulting in an indictment, much less a conviction.

We are, as always, grateful for the efforts of Bishop McKelvey and Dr. McMickle to elevate and inform public discourse, particularly on such a vitally important justice issue.

WHEC NEWS10-NBC Rochester interviews CRCDS President Dr. Marvin A. McMickle tonight

MCMICKLE-e1356183697810Widely circulated but unconfirmed media reports say the grand jury in the Ferguson, MO shooting death of Michael Brown has reached a decision. At issue is whether Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson should be charged in Michael Brown's death.

WHEC News10 NBC in Rochester, New York will interview Colgate Rochester Crozer  Divinity School President Dr. Marvin A. McMickle during the 5:30 p.m. and the 6:15 p.m. evening news segments regarding the death of Michael Brown and the events in Ferguson.

To view Dr. McMickle's interview online, see:

http://www.whec.com/news/

Dr. McMickle has published an essay on the Ferguson case on the Democrat and  Chronicle's Unite Rochester blog page, which can be read http://www.democratandchronicle.com/story/news/local/blogs/unite/2014/08/20/reflections-on-ferguson/14343551/

 

Can We Learn a Lesson From Ottawa? Dr. McMickle weighs in

Dr. McMickle recently wrote about the killing of the Canadian soldier in his Unite Rochester blog. He invites us to think about the differences between our two countries when he says, "I was in Toronto, Ontario on the day the funeral was held for the Canadian soldier who was shot and killed while on duty in front of that nation’s War Memorial. It was as if an entire nation was joined together in a combination of grief and shock. That was because homicides due to the use of guns is so rare in Canada. It is strange that our two nations can be so close in so many ways, but so far apart when it comes to tolerance of guns in the hands of civilians. Today there are more guns in the United States than there are people. It has been that way for the last fifty years, and during all of that time this country has led the entire world in homicides due to the use of guns. This is not to suggest that the rights of hunters and shooting enthusiasts should be curtailed. However, I do wonder why any civilian needs a weapon that can carry 100 rounds of ammunition before one has to reload, much less the need for bullets that can pierce the body armor warn by police officers? As I observed Canadians demonstrating how much value they placed on the loss of that one life, it quickly became apparent how little value we place on human life in this country since we continue to be known as “the murder Capitol of the world.” Perhaps we can add on to the Depression-era slogan that promised “A chicken in every pot, a car in every garage, and a gun in the hand of every citizen!”

To read this article online or to visit the Unite Rochester blog, please visit: http://blogs.democratandchronicle.com/unite/2014/10/31/can-we-learn-a-lesson-from-ottawa/

Did you get your copy of Dr. McMickle's newest book?

pulpit and politicsOn Tuesday, October 7th, Dr. McMickle hosted a special "Soup and Signing" event celebrating the release of his newest book, "Pulpit & Politics: Separation of Church & State in the Black Church." If you were not able to attend the signing, the CRCDS bookstore has additional copies on hand and Dr. McMickle would be happy to autograph yours. Dr. McMickle's book explores a new generation of black preacher-politicians who move beyond spiritual leadership into advocacy and social justice. This important work highlights past and present examples of African American leaders in ministry and politics, from Hiram Revels to Martin Luther King, Jr. to Al Sharpton.

A must-read for anyone concerned with faith-based political activism, Pulpit & Politics is based on Dr. McMickle's lifelong dedication to serving the community and bringing to light the challenges facing black preachers.

Read more about Dr. McMickle's book here:

http://www.judsonpress.com/product.cfm?product_id=18283