I will open this week’s column with a note of congratulations to Connie Parker, president of the Pittsburgh chapter of the NAACP and Dianne Powell, the event chairperson, for a job well done on Aug. 31.
These two had recognized for some time that a disconnect existed between the religious institutions and the NAACP, and the time was long overdue for this overwhelmingly important issue to be addressed. They recognized that the history of growth for Black Americans began in the religious institutions. They also understood that it would be virtually impossible to contact every religious institution in Allegheny County, because the numbers are staggering. So with the understanding that Rome was not built in a day it was decided to invite a limited number of institutions for the first meeting that will eventually lead to addressing all of them about the lack of involvement with the NAACP.
On Aug. 31 the first meeting was convened at The Pittsburgh Theological Seminary on Highland Avenue with 13 faith leaders from Mosques, Churches and Synagogues and every chair in the room was occupied. The program was titled FAITH IN ACTION and Connie reminded the institutions of their history of involvement in improving a way of life when there were no civil rights organizations. She also reminded them that they had begun to back slide when it came to improving the quality of life for the overall Black community and that God mandates that they leave the confines of four walls and improve the conditions of those on the outside. Connie was not overly critical of the lack of their involvement but she was more challenging.