Reverend Everett Mitchell on LGBT liberation and its connections to Black liberation.
Powerfully inspiring oratory: Rev. Everett Mitchell's OutReach Ally Award speech
The Rev. Everett Mitchell gave four hundred of us the extraordinary gift of this inspiring and uplifting speech as he accepted OutReach's Ally of the Year award for his outstanding work in support of LGBT people of color in the black church. Recently, he married two lesbian parishioners (partners of 43 years) in a beautiful wedding at his church. Here's a new and much-improved video version of Everett's inspiring speech that's much easier to hear and understand than the raw version I first posted, now with enhanced audio and captions.Like so much of Everett does to advance justice in this community (including his role as a mentor of members of Young, Gifted and Black) and in the wider world, it can be lonely work, and his misguided critics have often been merciless. But the presentation of this award represented an opportunity when four hundred of us gathered in that room could lift him up and affirm him as he shared deep moral and spiritual truths drawn out of his life's journey in his inspiring speech, delivered resonant with the powerful faith-and-justice-grounded oratorical traditions of the Black Church. I've been blessed to have been in conversation with movement leaders and King colleagues like Joseph Lowery, James Lawson, and Andrew Young, pastor-advocates who share Everett's powerful Christ-resonant vision of LGBT inclusion within their respective church communities. And yet, as Everett points out, too many church leaders of all races and faiths are still preaching messages of judgement and hate. More significantly, many are shortsightedly risk averse and therefore critical of the stands that Everett has been taking, in staking out a place of integrity and moral consistency. It's one that resonates with the stands of conscience and interconnectedness epitomized by Dr. King, in his Riverside Church speech (which Everett quotes from here), in answering critics who felt that his work on behalf of peace or economic justice were somehow distractions. As Dr. King noted, those critics did not know him or understand the moral imperatives that drove him. So it has been with Everett, and his willingness to embrace an issue in ways that are creating dialogue, and moving us to a place of greater understanding.Martin and Coretta King--and so many courageous souls who've worked to advance civil rights for all and build a Beloved Community--are no doubt smiling down from heaven today. The arc of the moral universe still bends toward justice, and it's inspiring and dedicated truthspeaking leaders like Everett who make it happen.If you were there in that room on Friday night, you experienced the powerful spiritually-grounded truths he shared in a speech that one local civil rights leader described as inspiring as any she'd heard since those of Dr. Martin Luther King. If you couldn't be there, please take a few moments to hear his powerfully-delivered words offered in the spirit of Beloved Community, and please consider sharing this video's powerful messages more widely.Posted by John Quinlan on Sunday, October 4, 2015