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Rev. Adam Jefferson Richardson, Jr. selected to serve as Senior Bishop of the AME Church

NORTH DALLAS GAZETTE — Rev. Adam Jefferson Richardson, Jr. was installed as the Senior Bishop of the AME Church on June 26, during the AME Church’s Annual Council of Bishops and General Board Meeting Worship Service. The event was held at the Birmingham-Jefferson County Convention Center in Birmingham, Alabama.

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By The North Dallas Gazette

NASHVILLE — Rev. Adam Jefferson Richardson, Jr. was installed as the Senior Bishop of the AME Church on June 26, during the AME Church’s Annual Council of Bishops and General Board Meeting Worship Service. The event was held at the Birmingham-Jefferson County Convention Center in Birmingham, Alabama.

“I am honored for service at this time in the history of our church. I seek an interest in your prayers that I may rise to the occasion, that inadequacies may not be too glaring. Whatever successes, whatever achievements, the credit, the glory will belong to God in Christ,” Senior Bishop Richardson shared during the investiture service.

The Senior Bishop is the active Bishop with the longest tenure of service in the AME Church and is first in order of precedence among the Council of Bishops. The position occupies a key role in the polity and practice of the AME Church. While a Senior Bishop has existed since the incorporation of the church as a denomination in 1816, the first formal investiture ceremony occurred at the 2004 General Conference.

The ceremony includes the passage of the Senior Bishop’s regalia—a solid gold medallion with the logo of the denomination donated by the family of Claude Stephens.

Bishop Richardson succeeds the Right Reverend McKinley Young who died in January 2019. He was elected and consecrated the 115th Bishop at the 1996 General Conference. With service in pulpits throughout Georgia and Florida, the last church he pastored prior to his election was Bethel AME Church in Tallahassee, Florida where he served for 18 years.

He obtained the Bachelor of Arts degree from the Florida A&M University (where he was noted as the head drum major of the “Marching 100” Band). He received his Master of Divinity and Doctor of Sacred Theology degrees at the Interdenominational Theological Center in Atlanta, Georgia.

As a Bishop, he has served churches in Sierra Leone, Ghana Liberia, Cote D’Ivoire, Togo and Benin (14th District), the Republic of South Africa (19th District), Virginia, North Carolina, Maryland and Washington, DC (2nd District) and currently Florida and the Bahamas Islands (11th District). Within he has served as chair of the Health Commission, Lay, Commission on Seminaries, Colleges and Schools and as President of the Council of Bishops.

He has represented the AME Church in a number of Ecumenical bodies including the World Methodist Council and the National Congress of Black Churches. He is also a prolific author with articles or chapters in several books including the African-American Devotional Bible and Headlines to Homilies.

Bishop Richardson will serve as Senior Bishop until his retirement in 2024. Reflecting on his time as a FAMU drum major he said, “There are quite a few steps (literally and figuratively) between the Patch (the practice field) and Senior Bishop!”

He and his wife Dr. Connie Speights Richardson are the parents of two adult children Monique (a Leon County Judge) and Trey (a certified hospital radiographer and professional saxophone player).

This article originally appeared in the North Dallas Gazette.

Activism

Bay Area Officials and Leaders React to the George Floyd Verdict

Almost 11 months ago, the world watched as Officer Derek Chauvin kept his knee on the back of George Floyd’s neck. He kept it there for eight minutes and 46 seconds, but it felt like an eternity. The systemic injustice from hundreds of years of racism and mistreatment of Black Americans was put into plain view on video, and the country and the world erupted in protest.

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Photo Credit: Christy Price

San Francisco Mayor London Breed, the Oakland Police Department (OPD) and the Greenlining Institute President and CEO Debra Gore-Mann issued statements in reaction to Tuesday’s triple guilty verdict in the trial of Derek Chauvin, ex-Minneapolis police officer for killing George Floyd in May, 2020.

Mayor London Breed’s statement:

“This verdict does not bring back the life of George Floyd. It can’t replace the years of his life that were robbed from him, nor the life experiences and memories that would have been made with his friends and family. What this verdict does reflect is that the tide is turning in this country, although still too slowly, toward accountability and justice.

Almost 11 months ago, the world watched as Officer Derek Chauvin kept his knee on the back of George Floyd’s neck. He kept it there for eight minutes and 46 seconds, but it felt like an eternity. The systemic injustice from hundreds of years of racism and mistreatment of Black Americans was put into plain view on video, and the country and the world erupted in protest.

While we’re now months removed from the height of those protests, the need for action is as critical as ever. This is about more than prosecuting the officer who killed George Floyd, though that is an important step. It’s about fundamentally restructuring how policing is done to move away from the use of excessive force. It’s about shifting responses to non-violent calls away from an automatic police response to something better equipped to handle the situation. It’s about reinvesting in communities in which years of systematic disinvestment has made it nearly impossible for people to thrive. It’s about changing who we are as a country.

That’s what we’re trying to do in San Francisco. Our Street Crisis Response Teams, consisting of paramedics and behavioral health specialists, are now often the first responders to non-violent 911 calls relating to mental health and substance use. 

Our Dream Keeper Initiative is redirecting $120 million to improve the lives of Black youth and their families through investments in everything from housing, to healthcare, to workforce training and guaranteed income. And our sustained, multi-year efforts to reform our police department has resulted in a 57% reduction in instances of use of force and a 45% decrease in officer-involved shootings since 2016.

While this tragedy can never be undone, what we can do is finally make real change in the name of George Floyd. Nothing we can do will bring him back, but we can do the work to prevent others from facing his fate in the future. That is the work we need to do. It’s ongoing, it’s challenging, but if we are committed, we can make a real and lasting difference in this country.”

OPD Statement 

We all must recognize that this moment is about accountability, justice, and reform. We must be compassionate, empathic, and forgiving, the Oakland Police Department declared in a statement released on Tuesday. 

All sides must unite as one community to effectively communicate. Together we will work towards rethinking policing in America. 

In unity, we will move towards finding solutions for the safety of all people, notwithstanding your age, race, religion, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or disability. 

We stand as one community grieving and healing as we move towards finding real solutions to effect change as we seek to strengthen police and community relations. 

We extend our deepest condolences to George Floyd’s family and all communities. 

Greenlining Institute President and CEO Debra Gore-Mann:

“Today, we experienced a small measure of justice as Derek Chauvin was convicted and the killing of George Floyd was recognized as the criminal act it was. But we shouldn’t fool ourselves into thinking that one conviction of one cop for a killing the whole world witnessed on video will change a fundamentally racist and dysfunctional system. The whole law enforcement system must be rethought and rebuilt from the ground up so that there are no more George Floyds, Daunte Wrights and Adam Toledos. But even that is just a start.

“Policing doesn’t operate in a vacuum. Systemic racism exists in policing because systemic racism exists in America. We must fundamentally uproot the disease of racism in our society and create a transformative path forward.” 

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Featured

Ex-Minneapolis Officer Derek Chauvin, 45, Found Guilty on All 3 Counts of Murder in George Floyd’s Death

Post News Group Publisher Paul Cobb said of the verdict: “Darnella Frazier’s video action should be imitated and celebrated by all youth and adults nationwide.  We should defend (Oakland Police Chief) LeRonne Armstrong’s new policies to stop minor traffic stops around licenses, lights and so-called suspicious appearances. (I) hope this justice action causes a national voting movement of every Black, Brown and Asian citizen.  Demand our (future) Attorney General Bonta to take the same action that Minnesota Attorney General Ellison did. 

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George Floyd

Former policeman Derek Chauvin was found guilty Tuesday of all three counts of murder brought against him in the death of George Floyd, whose cruel death was caught on video in Minneapolis, Minn., on Memorial Day weekend last year.

Floyd, 46, was killed May 25, 2020, in front of Cup Foods, a neighborhood grocery store where the police had been called because Floyd had allegedly used a counterfeit bill to make a purchase.

After deliberating for about 10 hours over two days, the jury returned a verdict of guilty for second-degree involuntary murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. Chauvin faces a maximum of 40 years in prison.

Floyd’s 41-year-old brother Philonise was in the Minneapolis courthouse at the time of the verdict, brought by six white, four Black and two multiracial jurors.

Post News Group Publisher Paul Cobb said of the verdict: “Darnella Frazier’s video action should be imitated and celebrated by all youth and adults nationwide.  We should defend (Oakland Police Chief) LeRonne Armstrong’s new policies to stop minor traffic stops around licenses, lights and so-called suspicious appearances. (I) hope this justice action causes a national voting movement of every Black, Brown and Asian citizen.  Demand our (future) Attorney General Bonta to take the same action that Minnesota Attorney General Ellison did.

It is time for President Biden and Vice-President Harris to push through the George Floyd Justice bill.  We, as bystanders, should also bear witness.”

Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf told the Post: “today’s verdict is a just one, and it’s also an indictment.  The deep structural racism that pervades our country—and leads to the state-sponsored murder of Black men like George Floyd and too many others—must end.  Juries shouldn’t have to tell us this.”

Oakland Vice Mayor Rebecca Kaplan quoted Martin Luther King, Jr., when she talked to the Post about the verdict.  “’Let justice roll on like a river, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream,” she said.

“Though we understand that this is a victory for the people, we also understand that this system of policing will continue to cause violence and death until it is dismantled” said James Burch, policy director for the Anti-Police Terror Project.

The Oakland Police Department issued this statement:

We all must recognize that this moment is about accountability, justice, and reform. We must be compassionate, empathic, and forgiving.

All sides must unite as one community to effectively communicate. Together we will work towards rethinking policing in America.

In unity, we will move towards finding solutions for the safety of all people, notwithstanding your age, race, religion, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or disability.

We stand as one community grieving and healing as we move towards finding real solutions to effect change as we seek to strengthen police and community relations.

We extend our deepest condolences to George Floyd’s family and all communities.

Sentencing is scheduled in eight weeks.  His bail revoked, Chauvin was handcuffed and remanded into custody immediately.

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Community

Is America Failing Millennials and Generation Z’s?

Out of the 20 mass shootings and violent attacks since March 1st, one very distressing element stands out—a number of the attacks were carried out by GenZ’s (14-24 years) and Millennials (25-38 years), from diverse racial groups, and regions of the United States.

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During the last two weeks of March and first week of April 2021, Americans were shocked with alarming news of mass shootings and violent attacks in Atlanta, Georgia, Boulder Colorado, Washington, D.C. and York County, South Carolina. Out of the 20 mass shootings and violent attacks since March 1st, one very distressing element stands out—a number of the attacks were carried out by GenZ’s (14-24 years) and Millennials (25-38 years), from diverse racial groups, and regions of the United States.
For example, on April 7, 2021 in York County, South Carolina, 32 year old Millennial and former NFL Player Philip Adams committed a mass shooting of a renowned local Doctor, his wife, grandchildren and two workers. Early reports say Adams, who later committed suicide, suffered from football related brain concussions. On April 2nd in Washington, D.C. 25 year old Millennial Noah Green rammed his car into two Capitol Hill Officers and killed one of the Officers, and injured the other.
Reports from his family indicate Noah was suffering from prescription drug use, paranoia and depression. He was killed at the scene of the violence. On March 18th, 21 year old GenZ Robert Aaron Long, killed eight (8) Asian spa workers and their customers, at massage parlors in Georgia. He claimed sex addiction as a reason for his behavior. And on March 22nd in Boulder, Colorado, 21 year old Ahmad Al Aliwi Alissa, and killed ten people at a grocery store. His relatives and schoolmates say Aliwi was bullied in school for being Muslim and retaliated with anger.
These four young men who perpetrated violence were from diverse racial groups, and in different regions of the country. But, what they had in common was they were either Millennials or GenZ’s who were obviously suffering from serious mental health issues. What was being done to help them? Where were their parents, mentors, faith leaders, aunts, uncles, social workers, colleagues, etc.? Did they have trained support or, were they dealing with their crisis mostly alone?
Generation X and Baby Boomers in America have to stop being self-absorbed and start paying attention to depressed GenZ and Millennial individuals. According to the 2019 US Census reports, these groups now make up the largest age-based demographic groups in the United States. These young people know how and where to purchase guns, how to make guns using 3D technology—known as Ghost Guns and they are strongly influenced by video games, violent movies, aggressive sports and even aggressive relatives who commit domestic violence.
Research by the Anne Casey Foundation finds that GenZ’s are suffering from high levels of depression, and this must be taken seriously. Plus, they are impacted by the killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Armaud Arbery, many more Black men and women…
But, how can Generation X and Baby Boomers help Millennials and GenZ’s who are suffering from anxiety, Covid-Lockdowns, student debt, job loss and other societal factors? Since taking office, President Joe Biden is starting to focus on these issues. On April 8, 2021, the President and Attorney General Merrick Garland, announced a series of Executive Orders designed to stop violence and promote violence prevention. Their plan will target grants for communities, to mobilize violence prevention programs. These actions are to be applauded but, it is important that the programs be implemented effectively, with feedback from affected communities of color.
Black Women for Positive Change, a national multi-cultural, intergenerational network of women and Good Brothers, has sponsored ten (10) years of Annual Weeks of Non-Violence. During those years, we have heard a multitude of stories from participants about causes of violence, depression and anxiety. We have found that many GenZ’s and Millennials suffer from lack of parenting, mentorship and productive, engaging activities. We have also found stigmatization of mental health and fear of families of color to seek help for disturbed youth. In addition, our outreach informs us that Millennials and GenZ’s complain about lack of opportunities and dreams for their futures.
Therefore, it is important for the Biden Administration to factor in the need for “Opportunities” in violence prevention programs to assist youth with overcoming the obstacles of the Covid-19 pandemic, job loss, single headed households under pressures, and other issues. New approaches are needed to provide GenZ’s and Millennials with opportunities to move forward, overcome obstacles and have productive, positive lives.
Dr. Stephanie Myers/Washington, DC, is National Co-Chair, Black Women for Positive Change, and Jan Perry/Los Angeles, CA., is Chair, Social Action Committee, Black Women for Positive Change. www.blackwomenforpositivechange.org

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