An eerie yet deafening silence illuminates from the steeples of the Pittsburgh Black Church; Particularly the East End churches.
It’s been 494 days and counting since the brutal beating of a college-bound high school senior, occurring just footsteps from a number of these churches, yet not one noticeable peep from any of them.
Where are you Homewood Church of Christ, First Baptist, Good Hope Baptist, Ethan Temple, Baptist Temple, Bethany, Bethesda Church of God, Bethlehem Temple, Carrone Baptist, Petra Ministries, Mount Ararat Baptist, Hosanna, Pentecostal, Covenant, etc.? There have been protest marches, rallys, fundraisers and sit-ins, yet silence on your end.
Again, I ask, where are you?
Reverends King, Abernathy, Young, Hooks, Jackson, Lee, Davis, as well as Rabbis took to the streets to to fight injustice. It unnerves me to think how they would feel about today’s pastor and his/her unwillingness to do the same especially since those same injustices not only still exist some 50 years later, but have risen to new heights.
Malcolm X once said: “If you are afraid to fight for it, take the word FREEDOM out of your vocabulary.” Some people are comfortable with the thought of freedom because life appears, well, good.
That is until death and destruction lands at their front doors. Why wait until then when it is easier to fight towards prevention?
Everything about the Black Church is different. What was once a pillar of the community now appears to be nothing more than an anomaly. Megachurches are replacing the neighborhood church now. Pastors are unapproachable and so far removed from the community that you would have a better chance of having a sit down dinner with the Obamas, than having a conversation with your pastor.
It’s a sad day in ministry when we see pastors’ concerns geared more towards what will become of the civic arena rather than how to address the violence that plagues the community that sits behind it.
Through out it all, Jordan Miles stands tall. He stands tall even though the brutality continues to slap him in the face as he has seen the three officers who tried to kill him; Richard Ewing, Michael Saldutte, and David Sisek exonerated and subsequently put back into our neighborhoods. Whose child is next? When will we eradicate “Blue on Black” crime as well as “Black on Black crime?”
We need the presence of the Black church, the numbers and voices and that fight power rekindled. We need it now if the Black community is to rise once again out of the ashes and become the village it once was. With the help of the Black church we can bring this into existence “By any means necessary!”
Tracey M. Jennings