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A Lesbian is Murdered and Nobody Cares...

"Lesbian Murdered."  What if that was all the news headlines said?  I have a feeling that most of the progressive community would be up in arms and ready to fight.  There would be petitions and rallies demanding action.  We would invoke the name of God and whatever else we could get a hold of to demand justice.  Many would sacrifice our time in front of our favorite television shows and movies to push for accountability.  Tonight, a lesbian will be murdered and nobody cares.

The conversation about justice begins to change when the word "Black" is placed in front of "Lesbian Murdered."  From domestic violence to demise at the hands of the police, black lesbians in this country have to worry about a frequent and large variety of murder possibilities.  The progressive community cares very little about this situation.  For whatever reason, we have a fundamental inability to acknowledge and deal with the racism in our own hearts.  We believe that we are not like that.  Let me assure you, we are like that and the road to true racial healing is paved with acknowledgement.

The conversation changes even further when "Convicted Killer" is placed between "Black Lesbian" and "Murdered."  All bets are off when you talk about killing convicted killers.  We assume that blood is required of those that kill.  I think we get this from flawed atonement theories that hold that Jesus died on the cross as a substitutionary atonement for our sins.  We often assume that God requires blood for sin.  I think God is more interested in love and we fail to show it every time we execute someone.

Lisa Coleman is the black lesbian who will be murdered and we are the ones who do not care.  We point to the murder of 9-year-old Davontae Williams and say that Coleman deserves to die.  We might be right.  The death of young Williams was particularly heinous.  But the bigger question is: Who deserves to kill her?  The convicting words of Jesus in John 8:7 come to mind, "Let the one who is without sin cast the first stone..."

One week ago, a young woman approached me outside the Polunsky Unit.  Each month, I visit death row inmate Will Speer.  The woman quietly asked, "Will you stop by the window where Willie Trottie is meeting with family and offer him a blessing before he is executed?"  I told her I would.  After my visit with Will, I stopped by the window and made the sign of the cross on Trottie.  I also offered a fist of resistance.  With a deep confident smile, Trottie thanked me and assured me that he was ok.  I knew that was going to be the last time I saw him.  I will never forget interacting with a child of God that I knew was going to be murdered.  Less than seven hours later, Trottie was dead.

In Texas, a similar scene will play out again today.  We will murder Lisa Coleman.  We will kill her because she is black and we are racist.  We will kill her because we perceive her to be a woman and we are sexist.  We will kill her because she is transgender and we are transphobic.  We will kill her because she is poor and we are classist.  We will kill her because she is a lesbian and we are homophobic.  We will kill her because we think we have the right to murder a child of God once again. 

We will be wrong.

H4PJ Board member and Minister of Social Justice Jeff Hood blogs at www.revjeffhood.com.

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Update on Cleburne Detention Center
H4PJ is part of a group of several North Texas organizations who are organizing and coordinating a group visit to the Johnson County Detention Center in Cleburne, Texas in the near future. While they work out requirements for participants as well as logistics, we ask for your prayerful consideration on behalf of these detainees and how you can be a part of this effort.

We will publish details as soon as we are aware of the effort moving forward. For more information on a similar visitation program already functioning at the T. Don Hutto Detention Center in Taylor, Texas, click here.

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Register to Vote!
The last date to register to vote for the November 4 election is Monday, October 6.  You can register to vote after each service through Sunday, October 5. Remember, your vote is your voice.
Early voting begins October 20.

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Upcoming Events

Friday, September 19: Longtime Companion
Join CinéWilde — the Texas Theatre’s monthly LGBT film series — on Friday, Sept. 19th at 8pm for a screening of the 1990 HIV/AIDS drama Longtime Companion. At 8:30pm, CinéWilde will host a pre-show discussion with members of the local non-profit AIDS Arms of Dallas. After the film, there will be a “Life, Laughter and Love” open-mic fundraising event hosted by local drag talent Raquel Blake — with local comedy performers and raffle prizes benefitting AIDS Arms of Dallas.

Texas Theatre - 231 W Jefferson Blvd, Dallas, TX 75208 - Tickets $10 (or free to anyone who cannot afford them. Contact cinewildedallas@gmail.com for more info).

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Longtime Companion

September 20: Tejano Pride Summit
H4PJ is proud to provide support and partner with LULAC 4871 the Dallas Rainbow Council’s Tejano Pride Summit. The event will feature interactive workshops led by experts on spirituality, health and wellness, art and culture, LGBTQ financial planning and legal issues, and civic engagement. There will also be FREE health and wellness screenings provided. For more information on how to register for this free event click here.

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Tejano Pride Summit

March with Cathedral of Hope and H4PJ in Dallas Pride
H4PJ is proud to march with Cathedral of Hope in this year’s Dallas Pride Parade with a message of Working for Compassion, Inclusion, Liberation, and of course Hope. To walk with us, register here.

September 23: Prisoner’s Civil Rights Clinic
Do you have a relative or friend in prison? Are they getting the medical care they need? Have they been physically abused? Are they allowed to practice their religion?

On Tuesday, September 23 from 5:30 p.m.-7:30 p.m., lawyers experienced in prisoner civil rights issues will be available for a no-cost, one-on-one consultation at the MLK Center Library at 2922 Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, Dallas, TX 75215. Further, if you don't know whether your friend or relative has a civil rights problem, a civil rights lawyer will help educate you about the matter. Also, written materials published by the Texas Civil Rights Project explaining the grievance procedures required to be followed by prisoners will be available. The event is co-sponsored by H4PJ, Friends of the MLK Library, Dallas Peace Center, Embrey Human Rights Program—SMU, and the Council of American Islamic Relations--CAIR-DFW.

September 25: A Faithful Conversation on Disability with Rev. Justin Hancock
On Thursday, September 25 at 7:00 p.m., H4PJ is pleased to partner with the Center for Theological Activism to present A Faithful Conversation on Disability with UMC Rev. Justin Hancock. Justin is a graduate of Southern Methodist University's Perkins School of Theology and an ordained deacon in the Northwest Texas Conference of the United Methodist Church.  In the past, Hancock has served as a college pastor in multiple environments.

Presently in Dallas, Hancock lives with his wife in an intentional community inclusive of persons with disabilities and together they serve as advocates and activists for persons with disabilities.  Born with cerebral palsy, Hancock has much to say to the church about how we can advocate for the civil rights of persons with disabilities in our churches and in our wider society.  Join us as we join Hancock for a two hour conversation about disability and the church.

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Faithful Conversation on Disability

September 27—Evangelicals for Marriage Equality Symposium
Last week, Time magazine profiled Evangelicals for Marriage Equality (EME) and its new initiative to support civil marriage equality. EME is the first organization of its kind that is specifically focused on creating conversations within evangelical churches, colleges, and institutions to help dispel myths about marriage equality and stake out a middle ground for young evangelicals in this contentious debate. It was founded by two young, straight evangelicals –Josh Dickson and Michael Saltsman—who grew up in the church and have an appreciation for both its strengths and its weaknesses.

On Saturday, September 27, from Noon to 2:00 p.m., we will hold a Q&A with Brandan Robertson, a spokesperson for EME. Pizza will be served. The location—off the CoH campus—will be announced soon.

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Evangelicals for Marriage Equality Symposium

September 28—Documentary: Lewd and Lascivious
Join Rev. Jim Mitulski and CinéWilde at the Texas Theatre on Sunday, September 28 at 4:30 for the documentary Lewd and Lascivious. In 1965, the San Francisco clergy threw a dance to let LGBT people socialize without police harassment — what happened next will surprise and delight you. Jim will speak before the film in a lively historical panel, Hope for Peace and Justice will be accepting donations for its upcoming H4PJ Sunday focused on lesbian and women’s, and afterward, there will be a dance with special guests and a DJ spinning great tunes from the 60s and 70s. H4PJ is CinéWilde’s featured community partner for this event.

Texas Theatre, 231 W Jefferson Blvd, Dallas, TX 75208
Tickets $10 (or free to anyone who cannot afford them)
Contact cinewildedallas@gmail.com for more info.

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Lewd and Lascivious

Sunday, September 28, 1 p.m.
An Unforgettable Multicultural Service!
La Catedral de la Esperanza will celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15 - October 15) with a multicultural service on September 28th at 1 p.m. followed by a fantastic Latin American Pot Luck with music and dances from different countries. Please put it on your calendar now!

September 29: Witness to Innocence
For 17 years, 8 months, and one day, Juan Roberto Melendez-Colon sat on Florida’s Death Row for a crime he did not commit.

On Monday, September 29 at 7:00 p.m., as a part of its Fall Speaker's Tour, the Texas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty (TCADP) is pleased to welcome Juan, an exoneree released from Death Row on January 3, 2002, for a screening of a documentary that has been made about his life and case.

The film will be in Spanish with English subtitles and lasts about 45 minutes. Following the film, Juan will speak briefly about his experience and answer any questions that are raised. You can find out more about Juan and his story here. This event is co-sponsored by H4PJ and Congregaciòn Latina.

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Witness to Innocence

Voter Registration Drive
In conjunction the Dallas County Elections Department, CoH and H4PJ will be registering voters and helping registered voters update their contact information after each morning service and prior to the afternoon service at Cathedral of Hope.

If you are not registered to vote, your registration has expired, or you’ve moved, had a name change, or the address on your card isn’t an exact match to your ID, you will need to get registered or update your voter registration before October 5 to vote on Election Day.
We are in need of volunteers each week to help with this vital effort. Contact us or stop by the voter registration desk to volunteer.

Facing Race 2014
Facing Race: A National Conference is presented by Race Forward: The Center for Racial Justice Innovation. A unique collaborative space for racial justice movement making, Facing Race is the largest multiracial, inter-generational gathering for organizers, educators, creatives and other leaders.
Facing Race 2014 will be held in Dallas, Texas on November 13-15, 2014. In addition to highlighting a Southern perspective for Facing Race attendees, the 2014 conference will offer the local community unprecedented access to information and resources on racial equity. Previous Facing Race National Conferences have been held in Baltimore, Berkeley, Chicago, Oakland and New York.


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