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#7LastWords Examines State Sanctioned Killings Through the Lens of Religion

7 Last Words: Strange Fruit Speaks

The Center of Black Church Studies at Princeton Theological Seminary, Black Lives Matter, Urban Mission Cabinet, Inc., and Shiloh Baptist Church are hosting a powerful day of discourse on the crisis of extrajudicial killings of Black men, women and children.

At 1pm EST, Black Lives Matter will host this week’s #FergusonFridays Twitter chat with Min. Taylor Nichole Johnson and Min. Teddy R. Reeves.

“7 Last Words: Strange Fruit Speaks” will take place tonight at 6:30pm at Shiloh, located at 340 Rev. S. Howard Woodson Jr. Way in Trenton, New Jersey.

From the official press release:

Every 28 hours in America, a Black person is shot and killed by police, security personnel, or vigilantes. This epidemic of racialized state violence has a long history in this country, from slavery and lynchings, to Jim Crow and mass incarceration. As theologian James Cone writes in his book The Cross and the Lynching Tree: “Every time a White mob lynched a Black person, they lynched Jesus.” The state-sponsored execution of Jesus can be directly linked, both theologically and politically, to the execution of Black bodies in America. What is our response to the deaths of Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Tarika Wilson, Oscar Grant, Renisha McBride, and Trayvon Martin…just to name a few? Silence is not an option because silence in the face of suffering and injustice is sin.

Similar to the “7 Last Words of Jesus” traditionally preached on Good Friday, we will convene a “7 Last Sayings” service with a focus on the final words uttered by seven African Americans slain by police, security personnel, or vigilantes. These sayings will be the preaching “texts” used and include sermons on Eric Garner (“I Can’t Breathe); Renisha McBride (“I Want to Go Home”); and Mike Brown (“Don’t Shoot!”). We hope you will be able to join us!

A post service conversation, featuring: Dr. Yolanda PierceDr. Brittany Cooper, and Dr. Vernon C. Mitchell, Jr, will raise the question: “Who’s side is God on?”

Follow the event hashtag: #7LastWords and check out the live stream via Shiloh Baptist Church’s website. For more information, email BlackChurchStudies@ptsem.edu and follow us on Twitter: @PTSBCS. 

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