SOUTHERN BLACK MINISTERS FROM BURNED CHURCHES RECEIVE
CHECK FROM ADL/NATIONAL URBAN LEAGUE 'REBUILD THE CHURCHES FUND';
ADL PAYS TRIBUTE TO THOSE WHO RALLIED FOR VICTIMS AND FOCUSES ON STRENGTHENING RACE
New York, NY, November 13, 1996...The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) and
its partner in the ADL/National Urban League "Rebuild the Churches
Fund" presented a check for $225,000 to Black Baptist ministers to
help restore burned houses of worship in the South. ADL paid tribute to
others who rallied in support of the churches, including a Colorado newspaper
which mobilized the Denver community to raise money for the victims, and
a music company donating profits from a gospel CD to the Fund. As part
of an entire afternoon dedicated to strengthening race relations, Hugh Price,
head of the National Urban League, told the ADL leaders at the 83rd Annual
National Commission Meeting "these are troubled times," and improved
race relations in this country are imperative. ADL and the National Urban
League have been actively involved in working together on various projects
to combat racism and anti-Semitism.
Mr. Price commended ADL for its "swift and humane response to the
church burnings, at a time when people were drifting apart." Citing
the ADL A WORLD OF DIFFERENCE Institute program which fights prejudice in
the classroom, workplace, the community and on college campuses, he said,
"Race relations in this country are at a worrisome crossroads...we
have got to work on bridging the gulfs between people." Concluded Mr.
Price, "The future of the United States is at stake. If we cannot be
inclusive and compassionate, we cannot be competitive and cohesive."
Donations For Rebuilding Burned Black Churches
"I feel proud and privileged to preside over this session," said
David H. Strassler, ADL National Chairman, after Howard P. Berkowitz, ADL
National Executive Committee Chair, presented the ADL/National Urban League
"Rebuild the Churches Fund" check to Rev. Henry Lyons, President
of the National Baptist Convention, USA, which represents 33,000 churches
with 8.5 million members. This check followed one for $100,000 ADL already
gave to the head of the Congress of National Black Churches for distribution.
The donations to the Fund were an outpouring from ordinary Americans as
a result of full-page ads in The New York Times and other papers asking
for financial and emotional support for the victims.
Joining Rev. Lyons in accepting the check were three African-American pastors
who had traveled long hours from their isolated, rural Alabama towns to
describe their losses and express their appreciation. "What determination
to carry this banner," said Rev. Lyons of Rev. W.D. Lewis, the 93-
yr.-old pastor of Little Zion Missionary Baptist Church in Boliggee, Rev.
Arthur Coleman, Mt. Zoar Missionary Baptist Church in Boliggee, and Rev.
Levi Pickens, Mt. Zion Missionary Baptist Church in Eutaw. Rev. Pickens,
leaning on crutches because of an amputated leg, recalled the December night
when he arrived to see his church burned to the ground. It is a "sad
situation," he said quietly, "when you see all that God has given
you destroyed....We are just asking for your prayers, and ask God to bless
you all, one by one."
Newhouse Award Established for Media Initiative in Promoting Tolerance
Paying further tribute to those who fight intolerance and bigotry, Abraham
H. Foxman, ADL National Director, announced the ADL Norman Newhouse Human
Relations Communications Award in honor of excellence in promoting better
human relations through a mass communications medium. Established in memory
of Norman Newhouse, one of the patriarchs of the Newhouse publishing empire,
the award was presented by his daughter, Robyn Newhouse, to Larry Strutton,
Publisher, President and CEO of the Rocky Mountain News for its crusading
efforts in inspiring the Denver community to raise thousands of dollars
for the churches. "There could be no better first-time recipient than
the News," Ms. Newhouse said, noting how it inspired support by running
full-page ads for weeks, recruiting the mayor and governor, organizing a
press conference and distributing 500,000 donation envelopes at its own
expense. The effort raised approximately $90,000.
Music Company Recognized for Helping Churches
Hiriam Hicks, Senior Vice President/General Manager of Island Black Music,
was recognized for his promise to contribute the net profits from "Don't
Give Up," Island Inspirational All-Stars CD featuring Karen Clark,
to the "Rebuild the Churches Fund."
"When we saw the ad," said Mr. Hicks, "and what ADL and
the Urban League were doing, we said we got to do something. The church
is the root of all music -- the blues, jazz -- and we decided we had to
do something for the children." He pledged $10,000 to the Fund.
ADL Passes Resolution to Support the Black Revolutionary War Patriots Memorial
"We are there for you," Mr. Foxman told Mr. Price and the Southern
pastors, as he introduced a resolution to support the Black Revolutionary
War Patriots Memorial on the National Mall in Washington, DC. The League
leaders passed it unanimously. "ADL goes on record in the hopes this
will serve as a source of racial healing in America," said Mr. Foxman.
"If one church burned because of bias, bigotry and hate," he continued,
"then we should stand up. Had the world responded when one synagogue
was burned on Kristallnacht in Germany almost sixty years ago, maybe what
followed would not have happened."
The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world's leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.