Heritage: Embracing Hope For the Future
By Megan Davis
The Truth Contributor
lived long enough to experience the Civil Rights Movement,
life in America today may feel awfully familiar. While the
Civil Rights Act of 1964 was enacted to outlaw
discrimination based on
race, color, religion, sex, or national origin, we are
witnessing increasing instances of discrimination, not just
in the U.S., but in our own backyard here in Toledo.
Rights Act, which also prohibits racial segregation in
schools, employment, voter applications and public
accommodations, looks great on paper, yet today, the
practices of many schools and employers directly violate the
rights of African Americans on a regular basis to the point
where it is the new normal.
have to rewind our clocks or review history books to
understand the experience of racial discrimination, since
the culture of hate and inequity has been revived in our
Obama’s blemish-free presidency was replaced with a
tarnished soul whose ideals are an interpretation of what
many national leaders live by and practice. The
dehumanization of Black Folks has resurfaced.
seen far too many cases like the deaths Tamir Rice, Sandra
Bland and Mike Brown. We have lamented over wrongful youth
incarcerations like Kalief Browder and Cyntoia Brown. We
know that students of color like those at The Toledo School
for the Arts have been disproportionately disciplined and
that the pipeline to prison exists in our schools.
Toledoans have witnessed, first-hand, the racist culture in
the workplace such as Marcus Boyd and Derrick Brooks,
supervisors at the local General Motors plant who now have
lawsuits against the company for fostering hate.
cringed at the site of New Jersey wrestler Andrew Johnson,
whose dreadlocks were cut off right before a match. We
remember when Malachi Wattley was forced out of Central
Catholic High School because they didn’t respect his
Rastafarian culture wherein his beloved dreadlocks were
birthed. This type of institutionalized discrimination is
overt and exhausting.
one have hope when all around they see the adversity people
of color are enduring on every side? Where are the people
who have overcome and how did they manage to be true to
themselves while building successful careers and businesses?
How is the African-American community addressing these
issues and encouraging people through them?
church has traditionally been the place of refuge and a
beacon of light in times like these. Braden United Methodist
Church, a landmark in the community for 110 years, is
continuing the tradition of activism and outreach by hosting
Black History Month events that will focus on preserving
African-American heritage while demonstrating ways to
embrace the great hope for change in the community for the
with the First Sunday, February 3rd at 10:30 AM, the morning
worship will feature African-American hymns and spirituals.
In addition, Holy Communion will take place where all are
welcomed to the table.
second Sunday, February 10, the church will be honoring
Braden members who are pioneers in the local community,
having served in multiple capacities, from starting and
supporting educational programs to serving in the political
arena and more. Following service, there will be a Teen
Summit ( ages 13-18) with a discussion on being true to
yourself while facing bullying from peers and being targeted
in school by teachers.
third Sunday, February 17, there will be a Baptism service
by immersion, representing the death, burial and
resurrection of Christ, a tradition of renewal and
rebirthing that was the foundation of faith for our
ancestors. On the fourth Sunday, February 24, all are
welcomed to worship with us in African attire as we close
Black History Month with praise for perseverance!
Sunday morning at 9:30 AM, the Christian Education
department will have a round table on African-American
devotions designed to dig deeper into the history, the
challenges of slaves and civil rights leaders and the hope
found in scripture that speaks to adversities we face.
During morning worship, younger children ages five-12 years
of age will be learning about being created in God’s image
and learning how to refute the negative ideals others may
have of them.
Friday, February 22 at 6:00 PM, the Annual Soul Food Potluck
will focus on Preserving our HAIRitage, addressing
discrimination policies in the workplace, schools and other
organizations. There will be a panel with local guests that
have experienced this type of discrimination and will share
their stories. To learn more about the Black History Month
programs at Braden visit
or call (419) 386-2700. The church is located at 4725 Dorr
St. Toledo, OH 43615. Rev. Cecil J. Fitzgerald Thompson,