Hispanic Evangelicals Commemorate Martin Luther King's Legacy with Justice Rally in Birmingham, Alabama
BIRMINGHAM, Ala., Jan. 17, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- The National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, also known as the Hispanic Evangelical Association, the nation's largest Christian Hispanic organization, held a justice rally in Birmingham, Alabama in commemoration and celebration of Martin Luther King Jr.'s legacy.
Unidos Por Alabama was held at the Metro Church of God where over 800 people, including the NHCLC Executive Board, gathered in solidarity with the immigrant community of Alabama, exemplifying the NHCLC's Justice Directive platform (http://www.nhclc.org/justice).
The NHCLC's January 16-17, 2012 board meeting was slated to take place in Orlando, Fla., a very Latino friendly city--but was purposely moved to Birmingham, Ala. in order to combine it with an NHCLC justice rally on Martin Luther King day with the intention of making a statement about righteousness and justice, in light of Alabama's recent ruling and enforcement of Immigration Law, H.B. 56--at the same time helping the local and state economy.
Dr. Jim Tolle, Sr. Pastor of The Church on The Way, which presumably has the largest Hispanic congregation in America, said, "Representing a vast spectrum from across the nation, Christian Evangelical leaders travelled to Alabama to show their support and respect for the Hispanic workers in that state. With the passage of laws that target the immigration status of the workers, many legal workers have also fled the state to escape undue scrutiny. The resulting economic, educational, and underlying social issues have negatively affected the state at large, as well as the small peaceful Hispanic community. National leaders joined ranks with a multitude of local leaders and workers on Monday evening in a large Birmingham church seeking solutions to a pressing spiritual and moral situation reminiscent of bygone years."
Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, President of the NHCLC, said, "We saw an opportunity to utilize our board meeting as a means to bless a community that is hurting—bringing money into a hurting economy effected by a harsh immigration law and supporting the local church by bringing the Hispanic community together in prayer and worship on a day where our nation celebrated the life of one of our greatest leaders who fought fiercly for righteousness and justice in America—we celebrated the life of a Godly man who used his last breath to fight racial discrimination in America--which we continue to fight today."
Rev. Rodriguez opened the justice rally with an introduction followed by a word from Jeovany Camo, a student at Hispanic Bible Institute in Hoover, Ala. Jeovany shared his personal testimony and illustration of present-day racism that included the story of his arrest and $7000.00 fine for not carrying "documentation".
Other participants and speakers included Dr. Jesse Miranda, Rev. Israel Bermudez, Bishop Samuel Santana, Rev. Eve Nunez, Dr. M. Daniel Carroll, Bishop Jeremiah Torres, Rev. Chris Richardson, Rev. Eliezer Bonilla, Rev. Carlos Moran, Dr. Jim Tolle and Dr. Alberto Delgado.
Dr. Jesse Miranda, President of The Miranda Center and CEO of the NHCLC, said, "The prayer was very inspirational and upbeat but sobering. A large crowd gathered with faith and hope in the heart that God is in control. Clergy and leaders from across the country spoke encouraging words. Aleluya, Alleluya Alabama, God is with us!!"
The National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference is the Hispanic Evangelical Association unifying, serving and representing the Hispanic Born Again Community via 34,200 member churches and 16 million constituents by reconciling the vertical and horizontal of the Christian message through the 7 Directives of Life, Family, Great Commission, Stewardship, Justice, Education and Youth.