City Of Bloomington? 100+ Faith Leaders Want A Word With You

Black Lives Matter Protest At Mall Of America

The City of Bloomington’s insistence on prosecuting organizers of a “Black Lives Matter” protest at the Mall of America is getting more pushback from Minnesota’s religious leaders.

A letter signed by more than 100 faith leaders asks City Attorney Sandra Johnson to have a community-wide dialog about race instead of prosecuting people.

“The energy you have put into this aggressive prosecution needs to be redirected to a community-wide effort toward open dialogue between our justice system and those who do not receive equal and fair treatment and protection from our current system,” says the letter. “We would like to meet with you at your earliest convenience to discuss these matters.”

Eleven people are charged with crimes ranging from trespassing to disorderly conduct for their attendance at the peaceful demonstration which included nearly 3,000 individuals on December 20, 2014 at the Mall of America. The protest was part of a larger nationwide demonstration reacting to police violence against African-Americans.

This is the second letter faith leaders have sent to the city. The previous letter was signed by 41 clergy and also asked for the city to stop its prosecutions and invited the city to charge them too.

Full text of the letter

Black Lives Matter Minneapolis Faith Leaders Letter of Support

Dear Sandra Johnson,

We, the undersigned, members of the clergy in the city of Bloomington, write to express our support of the Black Lives Matter movement. As a matter of background, on January 20, 2015, individuals working with the Black Lives Matter Minneapolis group were invited to present to the Bloomington Conference of Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and Minneapolis Area Synod at our monthly gathering, at which some of the undersigned were present. A representative from the synod office was also in attendance.

We did not know what to expect when we invited this group to meet with us. For most of us, the only exposure we had to Black Lives Matter was via the news media, as is the case for the majority of Bloomington residents. Whatever our expectations might have been prior to the meeting, we found that the time we spent together was fruitful and enlightening. We found that we were able to connect across lines of race and background because we share the common thread of humanity, faith, and a desire that all God’s children might live in a just and equitable society.

One might ask why we, a predominantly white group of clergy in Bloomington, would be sympathetic towards the concerns of the Black Lives Matter movement. The answer is the one given to us by Dr. King, “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” We are called as people of faith to walk in solidarity with those who are experiencing discrimination and prejudice.

As Bloomington clergy, we stand in solidarity with those who organize for racial justice, including the Black Lives Matter representatives. We request that the charges against them be dropped.

We agree with St. Thomas Professor Nekima Levy-Pounds, one of those charged, that “what started as a demonstration of Dr. King’s vision of the ‘beloved community,’ became a reminder of what Dr. King warned could destroy our nation: the triple giants of racism, militarism, and extreme materialism.”

The energy you have put into this aggressive prosecution needs to be redirected to a community-wide effort toward open dialogue between our justice system and those who do not receive equal and fair treatment and protection from our current system. We would like to meet with you at your earliest convenience to discuss these matters.

Thank you in advance for your consideration. We look forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely,
Bloomington Faith Leaders:
Rev. Myron Andes, Minnesota Valley Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, Bloomington
Rev. Kacey Hahn, Christ the King Lutheran Church, Bloomington
Rev. Hans Lee, Christ the King Lutheran Church, Bloomington
Arthur Murray, Transfiguration Lutheran Church, Bloomington
Rev. Dr. Ed Treat, Transfiguration Lutheran Church, Bloomington
Benjamin Gieseke, Transfiguration Lutheran Church, Bloomington
Rev. Thomas Olson, St. Stephen Lutheran Church, Bloomington
Rev. Mark Hallonquist, Transfiguration Lutheran Church, Bloomington
Laurie Beckman Yetzer, Diaconal Minister, ELCA, Bloomington
Rev. David Grant, Grace Lutheran Church, Bloomington

Twin Cities Faith Leaders (in solidarity):
Rev. Justin Schroeder, First Universalist Church, Minneapolis
Rabbi Michael Adam Latz, Shir Tikvah Congregation, Minneapolis
Rev. Meg A. Riley, Church of the Larger Fellowship
Rev. Dr. David Breeden, First Unitarian Society, Minneapolis
Rev. Ruth MacKenzie, First Universalist Church, Minneapolis
Rev. Victoria Safford, White Bear Unitarian Universalist Church, Mahtomedi
Rev. Jen Crow, First Universalist Church, Minneapolis
Rev. Kate Tucker, Associate Minister Emerita, First Universalist Church, Minneapolis
Rev. Karen Hutt, University of Minnesota Medical Center
Rev. Elaine Aron Tenbrink, First Universalist Church, Minneapolis
Rev. Karen Hering, consulting literary minister, Unity Church-Unitarian, St. Paul
Rev. Karen Johnson Gustafson, Michael Servetus Unitarian Society
Mary E. Hess, PhD, Professor of Educational Leadership, Luther Seminary
Rev. Luke Stevens-Royer, White Bear Unitarian Universalist Church, Mahtomedi
Jim Foti, Assistant Minister, First Unitarian Society of Minneapolis
Rev. Peter Weston Miller, Atonement Lutheran Church, New Brighton
Lena K. Gardner, Church of the Larger Fellowship and United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities
Laura Smidzik, M.Div. White Bear Unitarian Universalist Church, Mahtomedi
Rev. Donna J. Olsen, Volunteer Clergy, All God’s Children MCC
Pastor Marea Perry, Above Every Name Ministries St. Paul
Joy Marsh Stephens, New Creation Church (Minneapolis) and ISAIAH
Rev. DeWayne L. Davis, Senior Pastor, All God’s Children Metropolitan Community Church, Minneapolis
Martha Schwehn Bardwell, Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church, Minneapolis
Terri Burnor, Candidate for Unitarian Universalist Ministry, St. Paul
Ashley Horan, M.Div.; Executive Director, The MN Unitarian Universalist Social Justice Alliance
Rev. Anita L. Bradshaw, Ph.D., Interim Senior Pastor, Lynnhurst Congregational United Church of Christ
Denise Butler, Community Organizer
Rev. Anita C. Hill, Deputy Director, ReconcilingWorks
Manu Lewis
Rev. Sarah Campbell, Team Lead Minister Mayflower Congregational Church, UCC, Mpls. MN
Dr. Timothy M. Johnson, Cherokee Park United Church, St. Paul
Stephanie McCullough-Cain, Seminary Student and Ministerial Intern at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Minnetonka.
Ariella Tilsen, Shir Tikvah Congregation and Tergar Meditation Center
Hortense MacLeod, Seminarian
Sarah Schaleger, United Seminary; Mount Zion Temple Member
Rev. Jane McBride, Principal Minister, First Congregational Church of MN, UCC, Minneapolis
Rev. Lisa Friedman Minister of Congregational and Community Engagement Unity Church- Unitarian St. Paul
Rev. Jen Nagel, Salem English Lutheran Church, Minneapolis
Rev. Laurie A. Eaton, Our Saviour’s Lutheran church, Minneapolis and ISAIAH
Rev. James Erlandson, Pastor, Lutheran Church of the Redeemer, St. Paul
Eliot N. Howard , Pastor, Linden Hills Unites Church of Christ. Minneapolis
Ann Mongoven, Saint Joan of Arc Catholic Community and ISAIAH
Kelley Hughes, Minnesota Valley Unitarian Universalist Fellowship member and Memorial Coordinator; Sholom Home West Volunteer Chaplain
Baya Clare CSJ, Sisters of St Joseph
Jack Gaede – Aspiring Candidate for Unitarian Universalist Ministry, Minneapolis, MN
Colleen Cook, United Theological Seminary, Reclaiming Witch
Rev. Julie Ebbesen, St Peder’s Lutheran Church, Minneapolis
David Scherer, director of Hip Hop Outreach
Pamela Y. Cook, Esq, Chaplain Intern, Redeemer Lutheran Church
Grant Spencer, Certified Candidate, United Methodist Church, Burnsville
Linda McCollough, Community Outreach Coordinator, Candidate for Ministry UMC, United Theological Seminary Student
Rev. Gina B. Varner, Pastor, El Bethel Community Christian Ctr., United Theological Seminary
Rev. Kent Hemmen Saleska, Unitarian Universalist Church of Minnetonka, Wayzata
Rev. Don Portwood, Lyndale United Church of Christ
Sarah Gleason, St. Joan of Arc Catholic Church (Minneapolis) and ISAIAH
Rich Nymoen, St. Joan of Arc and ISAIAH
Rev. Sarah Campbell, Team Lead Minister, Mayflower Community Congregational, UCC
Meagan McLaughlin, Vicar, Mount Olive Lutheran Church
Elizabeth A. Oppenheimer, Quaker
Rev. Emily P.L. Meyer; Linden Hills United Church of Christ, Minneapolis, MN; Trinity Lutheran Church, Laporte, MN
Rev. Emily Goldthwaite Fries, Mayflower United Church of Christ
Rev. Joanne Sylvander, Retired UCC Clergy, Member of Cherokee Park United Church in St Paul, MN
Rev. Ingrid Arneson Rasmussen, Trinity Lutheran Church, Minneapolis
Amy Marga, PhD, Professor of Systematic Theology, Luther Seminary
Gretchen Vanderlinden-Wang, Lutheran Church of the Redeemer-St Paul, ISAIAH
Robin Mavis, WIPA MN
Sharon Goens-Bradley, American Friends Service Committee
Matthew Paul Schroeder, Luther Seminary Master of Divinity Student
Rev. Jay Carlson, Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, Minneapolis
Rev. Stephanie Coltvet Erdmann, Edina Community Lutheran Church, Edina
Chaplain Laura Thompson, United Hospital, Saint Paul
Rev. G. Travis Norvell, Pastor, Judson Memorial Baptist Church
Rev. Thomas J. Daniels
WJ Moussa Foster, Seminarian, United Theological Seminary and Congregational Intern at Robbinsdale United Church of Christ
Philip J. Steger, Catholic Community of St Thomas More, Justice and Service Commission, St Paul, MN
Arline Datu, St. Thomas More Catholic Church (St. Paul) and ISAIAH
Rev. Dr. Rebecca Voelkel, Lyndale United Church of Christ, Minneapolis
Rev. Doug Mork, Cross of Glory Lutheran Church, Brooklyn Center, MN
Ryan Pusch, Luther Seminary Master of Divinity Student
Grant Stevensen, Lutheran Pastor of the St. Paul Area Synod, ISAIAH
Greg King, St. Joan of Arc Catholic Community, ISAIAH
Sue Budd, St. Joan of Arc, ISAIAH
Mercy Monroe, Seminarian and Member in Discernment in the UCC, Minneapolis, MN
Arif Mamdani, Kaleo Center for Faith, Justice & Social Transformation
The Rev. Javen Swanson, Associate Pastor, Gloria Dei Lutheran Church, St. Paul, MN
Lisa Fulton, St. Thomas More Catholic Church, St. Paul
Peggy Ludlow, United Theological Seminary Student
Sarah Mullins, St Thomas Catholic Church, St Paul
Rev. Todd Bratulich, Pastor of Community and Mission Engagement, First Covenant Church Minneapolis
Rev. Laura J. Thelander, Ph.D., Seminary Pastor, Luther Seminary, Saint Paul, MN
Andy Jolivette, Luther Seminary, St Paul, MN
Katherine M. Parent, Luther Seminary PhD Student, Minneapolis, MN
Rev. Kathryn Schifferdecker, Th.D., Luther Seminary, St. Paul, MN
Rev. Karl L. Jones, Chaplain ordained by the United Church of Christ
Rev. Dr. Susan Allers-Hatlie, Clinical Pastoral Education Supervisor
Rev. Rachael Warner, Pastor, Christ United Methodist Church, Maplewood
Pastor Danny Givens, Above Every Name Ministries, Unity Church Unitarian

Faith Leaders beyond the Twin Cities (in solidarity):
Pastor Bob Bledsoe, Unitarian Universalist chaplain, Sheboygan, Wisconsin
Rev. Salim Kaderbhai, Faith and Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church parish, Madelia, MN and Butternut, MN
Shawna Foster, Ministerial Candidate for Unitarian Universalism in Denver, CO
Jameson Baxter, United Theological Seminary Student, Member in Discernment of the United Church of Christ, Intern at Grace UCC Northampton, PA
Rev. Dr. Beth Donaldson, Lead Minister, United Church of Christ, New Brighton, MN
Rev. Amy Wick Moore, United Church of Christ, New Brighton, MN
***organizations listed for identification purposes only

Michael McIntee

Michael McIntee is a former network TV news executive with more than 30 years of broadcasting experience. He began his broadcasting career at the University of Minnesota's student radio station. He is an expert producer, writer, video editor who has a fondness for new technology but denies that he is a geek. More about Michael McIntee »

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