The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) is taking specific action to confront the societal and racial issues facing black communities in the U.S. by living into a new church initiative to address the plight of African American males in our country. The initiative followed an action approved by the PC(USA) 222nd General Assembly which calls for the church to support programs to assist African American males in five cities: Baltimore, Charlotte, Cleveland, New York and Pittsburgh.
Freedom Rising was created to tackle high unemployment, mass incarceration, substance abuse and other problems that disproportionately affect African-American males.
“One of the things that became very clear to us is that African American men feel very unsafe on our streets regardless of whether they are in a black or white community,” says Pittsburgh Presbytery’s General Minister Sheldon Sorge. “This has been a high-profile news story in this country for the past couple of years and for the church to remain inert and not respond is unconscionable.”
The initiative is named “Freedom Rising in honor of the late Rev. Eugene “Freedom” Blackwell founder of The House of Manna Faith Community, in partnership with the Pittsburgh Presbytery NCD and other church communities to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ to everyday people in Homewood. Rev. Blackwell. He worked to bridge racial, economic, and educational gaps in his surrounding community. He was also co-author of the 222nd General Assembly overture “On Taking Specific Action to Address the Worsening Plight of the African American Male.”