Pleasantville Church hosts Black History Month event with March on Washington organizer | Local News

“I’m talking about the indispensable role the black church has in America today,” Wood said. “If it wakes up, that’s Joseph’s job.”

Several prominent figures from across the region attended the virtual event, including State Senator Vince Polistina, R-Atlantic and Atlantic City Councilman Kaleem Shabazz. François noted that the event even had an international scope, with someone from the Bahamas.

Francis called on the laity and clergy present to become more involved in politics to advance the missions of justice. He encouraged them to follow the example of civil rights activists like Wood and make their faith communities agents of change.

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“One thing I notice is that so many churches do social service, community service very well,” Francis said. “We do social service very well, but we don’t always understand how to actually do social justice.”

Wood also emphasized the importance of interfaith cooperation in social justice movements. He recalled his own experiences and the experiences of other civil rights activists working with different religious leaders, including those who were Catholic, Jewish and Muslim, who were united in their commitment to fight injustice.

“It doesn’t matter your faith as long as it’s love,” Wood said. “Our challenge is to recognize the difficult situation in which we all find ourselves.

Jerry B. Hatch