TD Jakes works on racial reconciliation amid tensions in the US
Religious leaders from different parts of the country have gathered together in one venue this week to discuss the issue that's dividing the American people: racial tensions.
The controversial deaths of African-Americans Eric Garner and Michael Brown have sparked outrage among black communities across the US and triggered civil disorder, protests, and even violence against law enforcers.
The racial tensions pushed Bishop TD Jakes to spearhead a summit on racial reconciliation on January 15, which was also the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
The event was held at the Potter's House, his church in Dallas, Texas and was attended by various Christian leaders as they sought to discuss practical initiatives to solve racial divisions and find solutions that are rooted from the Bible's lessons on equality.
Initially, Bishop Jakes expected to see around 75 leaders at the summit but the outcome was huge, with around 200 people present at the event.
Among those present were Leith Anderson, president of the National Association of Evangelicals, Alveda King, minister, civil rights activist and niece of MLK, Andrew Young, former congressman and U.N. ambassador, Bernice King, CEO of The King Center in Atlanta and daughter of MLK, and Samuel Rodriguez, president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference.
During the meeting, the leaders focused on the seven "Bridges to Peace" community initiatives. These are education policy reform, reconciliation and prayer forums, community service and compassion outreaches, community engagement forums, engagement with the criminal justice system, economic development strategies, and personal, marriage, and family development.
"We must begin the conversation in the church where every significant movement impacting the lives of African-Americans has begun. But this is not our fight alone. This is America's burden as well as her opportunity to rightfully tilt the scales toward justice for all. This is also a tremendous opportunity for the church to be the light in what have been very dark days for our country," said Bishop Jakes.