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Standing together, acknowledging wrongs

The Rev. Rev. Marchelle Hallman preaches at a Martin Luther King, Jr. ecumentical worshop service on Sunday, Jan. 17. (Photo by Naomi Yaeger)1 / 2
An event is planned March 12-13 for conversations for between whites and people of color for reparations. It will be facilitated by author Jennifer Harvey and Melanie Harris, an African-American scholar at Texas Christian University.2 / 2

A community worship service was held on the Sunday evening before the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday at St. Mark African Methodist Episcopal Church. Rev. Marchelle Hallman, a former St. Mark pastor now living in north Minneapolis, delivered the sermon to a full house.

"We must stand together," she told those in the pews. The audience was a mix of both white and black. "We have to acknowledge the wrongs done to people of African descent: all those years of slavery, Jim Crow and segregation."

She reminded all to keep their focus. "Keep the main issue, the main issue," she said citing an instance when some marchers with Martin Luther King, Jr. brought rocks and broke window. "It caused them (the media) to only write about that. They didn't write about the 1,200 on strike."

She said, "Many have struggled with the Black Lives Matter movement. We would never argue that all live matter." The focus needs to be kept on inappropriate policing, she said.

After the service, the Rev. Kathy Nelson of Peace United Church of Christ stood up and said she was very moved by Hallman's words.

"I want to move the conversation forward," Nelson said. She spoke about an event planned in March to bring author Jennifer Harvey to Duluth. Harvey wrote a book called "Dear White Christians."

Nelson told the worshippers that Harvey contends that white Christians should not be like Zacchaeus hiding in the tree and need to move beyond reconciliation to reparations.

"She uses the parables," Nelson said of the author. "We've been hiding in that tree and benefiting from systems of economic injustice and we have been part of it. And we (whites) are going to listen to you all (people of color) and say, "What needs to be done? ... instead of hiding in that tree and reaping benefits."

Watch the Budgeteer for more details on Jennifer Harvey's visit, scheduled for March 12-13.

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Naomi Yaeger

Naomi Yaeger is a freelance writer and the former editor of the Budgeteer. See her blog at