Is The Backlash Legitimate About Urban Pastors Meeting With POTUS For Prison Reform?

by Raheem Karim
Urban Pastors Meeting

Urban Pastors Meeting

Is The Backlash Off Base Or Was It Legitimate About Urban Pastors Meeting With POTUS For Prison Reform?

Almost a week ago a group of black religious leaders from across the United States who met with the president for what the White House called Trump’s “Meeting with Urban Pastors.” The topic of discussion was prison reform and social injustice.

Let me be clear I am not a fan of Donald Trump or his administration. There have been black celebrities that visited him to get a photo-op or grandstand. I cannot vouch for every pastor in the room, but I can for Bishop Bronner. The motives and the commitment and investment that these pastors have in black communities has been questioned. Pastor Darrell Scott sad “this is probably going to be the most pro-black president that we’ve had in our lifetime.”

Therefore there was a clear objective and the purpose is to the First Step Act into law. It has already passed the House of Representatives. The bill earmarks $50 million a year over five years to expand these in-prison opportunities. It also expands the number of days in a halfway house or home confinement that inmates can earn for good behavior and self-improvement. It would expand the use of risk assessment tools—algorithms that try to predict future behavior. It bans the shackling of pregnant women; calls for placing prisoners in facilities that are within 500 driving miles of their families; and helps them get identification cards upon release.

Though African Americans and Hispanics make up approximately 32% of the US population, they comprised 56% of all incarcerated people in 2015. African Americans are incarcerated at more than 5 times the rate of whites. This is a serious racial disparity and you can point to past administrations “The War on Drugs” tactics. African Americans received more jail time for crack cocaine as for whites received less for powder cocaine.

The injustice does not end there by a long shot. When a inmate is release from prison, there reintroduction into society is the other difficulty. A criminal record can reduce the likelihood of a callback or job offer by nearly 50 percent. The negative impact of a criminal record is twice as large for African American applicants. If a person cannot get a job to support themselves they are going to back to crime.

Religious leaders have been the cornerstone of the black community for over a century. It is not on uncommon for religious to meet with POTUS to discuss the state of the black community regardless who is in office.

Friday morning a prominent Atlanta Radio host Frank Ski blast the pastors for meeting with Trump. The pastors have received black lash from the country. One of the pastors is Bishop Dale Bronner from Word of Faith located in metro Atlanta. Bishop Bronner has a track record of being actively involved in the communities especially with young people. He launched intiatives such as, IGNITE YOUTH MINISTRY, ELITE 31 MENTORING, WOF SCHOLARSHIP and many more. He has also been doing prison ministry since 1978.

Of course I don’t agree with the praising of Trump by some pastors calling him a pro black president.  If your objectives and intentions are clear to create change for the better and not about the spotlight I can understand why you met with him.  I advised everyone do your own research about the meeting and The First Act Bill for you rush to judgement.  For more information about The First Step Act visit www.themarshallproject.org/2018/05/22/is-the-first-step-act-real-reform

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