Monday, August 2, 2010

Betray the Age...Week 3

Betraying the Age his own words

(w/ special appeal)
Dear NY Faith & Justice Friends and Family,

Meet Derrick...In His Own Words

Minister Derrick L. Boykin is a member of the board of New York Faith and Justice, Pastor of Memorial Community Church of West Harrison, New York, Associate Minister of Walker Memorial Baptist Church in the South Bronx, and the Northeast Regional Organizer for Bread for the World.

With a beautiful wife and three kids ranging in age from 10 months to 9 years old, Derrick took a moment out of his full life to grant me a phone interview as he walked down a siren-filled Harlem street.

Any of the positions mentioned above hold a world of wonder and drama in themselves, but those positions are not what led me to Derrick today.Derrick is a co-founder of the Conversations for Change initiative between the police and the community in the Bronx.

Lisa: Derrick, your life is focused on food and hunger and you're a pastor. Why do you give extra time for the issue of police/community relations?

Derrick: It's a vital necessity. There are so many young men and women, particularly in low income urban neighborhoods, who really struggle with so many odds against them. Being a young pastor and a black male, I have lived in similar conditions. I know the pain associated with being in a neighborhood where there's tremendous distrust of the authorities. The issue for me is not at all about "spending extra time". I've never even thought about it in those terms. i see it as a calling on my life.

Lisa: Remember the lies of our age that we identified? What do you think of them?
  1. The ideology of individualism (i.e. "I am an island unto myself." "What I do only matters to me." "I gotta get mine.")
  2. Money = God. It demands the sacrifice of certain human beings on its altar.

They ARE lies! But in our society, they've become cultural norms. As it relates to capitalism: the notion that self-interest reigns and some people are "sacrificed" on behalf of the interests of one or a group of people--that notion is a complete contradiction to the message of scripture. One of the central themes of the Gospel is denial of self; picking up your cross and following Christ. Christ said for a man or woman to gain their life, they have to lose it. [chuckles] I interpret that as sacrificing oneself for a greater cause.

Lisa: How did your understanding of spiritual lies inform the creation of Conversations for Change?

Derrick: One lie that's perpetrated is the lie that there is a dichotomy between the police and the community. That's not real. It creates the dynamic of "otherness" and objectifies the "other" group. People lose their humanity. When we take away the others' humanity, we can treat them as less than human. When you question that lie and begin to realize we are all created in the image of God and each of us has something special to bring to the table, then you stop seeing the other as an object. Instead, you see them as brother--as sister.

For example, during one session of Conversations for Change, a young Latino man shared that he got off work and got into his car, which has tinted windows. If you didn't know the man, you wouldn't know he was a police officer. The officer explained that while driving home he was pulled over. He was just as frightened about what the police might do as anyone else in our dialogue circle would be. That really touched me. And all of us realized how much work is needed to be done to transform the interactions between the police and the community.

I want to encourage people who see what's going on in our communities; some have become angry, others have become desensitized, still others sit back and complain about what they see and know. I want to encourage us all to engage in the process of transformation. One small act by a lot of people turns into a big movement.

SpecialAppealJoin us. There are lots of ways you can do one small act today:

  • Do you have experience leading small group discussions? We are currently recruiting facilitators for the next round of Bronx Conversations for Change (Sat, Nov 13). Contact Saralyn and sign up for the Sat, Nov 6 Facilitator Training today!
  • To learn more about the relationship between the police and low-income urban communities, check out this EXCELLENT NY Times video!

Finally, there's one more important way you can do one small act to build a movement. Become a member, renew your membership, or a become a financial partner with NY Faith & Justice.

Right now NY Faith & Justice is working to raise $25,000 in new and renewed individual financial partnerships to help fund the November '10 Conversations for Change and other programs like it. Contributions from people like you make our work possible. Anyone who gives $50 or more in the course of a year is a member. If you haven't renewed your membership, now is the time. If you've been waiting to give, today is the day!

Betray the age and contribute just $5/mth, $10/mth, $25/mth, $50/mth, $100/mth or more to the work of NY Faith & Justice.

Click here to contribute now.

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NOTE: If you prefer not to give online you can send checks made payable to "FCNY/NY Faith & Justice" to:

NY Faith & Justice
c/o Partnership
475 Riverside Drive, Suite 500
New York, NY 10115

Thank you for your contin
ued prayers and partnership and don't forget to follow us on Follow us on Twitter , Find us on Facebook, the nyfj blog or the nyfj calendar for up to the minute action alerts, program changes, and details.



Lisa Sharon Harper
Co-founder and Executive Director
New York Faith & Justice

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