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Interfaith Center for Racial Justice (ICRJ)
ICRJ Justice Journal
Winter 2011
2011 Listen, Learn, & Live Programming
Offers New Opportunities
This past February (Black History
Month) the Interfaith Center for Racial Justice (ICRJ) kicked off their 5th
season of Listen, Learn, & Live (LLL)
programming by encouraging pulpit
swaps between three Black and three
White Macomb County congregations.
Special points of
 Spring LLL Modules, Pulpit Swaps
and Upcoming Sundays in June at
African American congregations
 2012 MLK Celebration Silver
Anniversary Planning Committee
 Warren TV Program on ICRJ
 2011 MLK Holiday Celebration
In this Issue:
2011 LLL Programming
(LLL Schedule on Page 3)
Silver Anniversary MLK
Celebration Planning
ICRJ Letter in Support of
Collective Bargaining
Recent Media Coverage and
the ICRJ on Facebook
Bingo Workers Needed
2011 MLK Holiday Celebration of Macomb County
ICRJ Membership-Join Now
something new and a reminder that
while worship styles may differ
culturally the two congregations
have more in common than they do
The basic idea behind the pulpit swaps
is to encourage interaction and conversation between Black and White
congregations in hopes of potentially
building relationships and bridges of
Rev. John Mack (Greater New Hope
Missionary Baptist Church) began this
new venture by preaching at Christ
Lutheran Church in Sterling Heights
on Sunday morning, February 6. In
addition, members of Greater New
Hope’s choir joined him at Christ
Lutheran’s early service, providing a
musical treat for those who attended 8
a.m. worship.
The following Sunday, February 13,
Rev. Bill Davis (First Presbyterian
Inside this issue:
Church of Mt. Clemens) and Rev.
Tyrone Martin (Greater Morning Star
Missionary Baptist Church) literally
traded pulpits with Rev. Martin
preaching and leading worship services
at First Presbyterian and Rev. Davis
doing the same at Greater Morning
Star. Both congregations experienced
Imam Steve Elturk, ICRJ Board President, will lead April LLL Module on
Islam at American Lutheran Church
On March 13, Rev. Beebe (Christ
Lutheran) took his turn in Rev.
Mack’s pulpit at Greater New
Hope. He, too, brought along a
choir group (guitar trio) and several
members from his congregation.
Once more the experience was very
positive for both the host congregation and the visiting members as
real sharing and fellowship took
The next pastors to swap pulpits
are Rev. Rob Ellis (Living Faith
Church, Warren) and Rev. Roger
Facione (Mt. Calvary Lutheran
Church, Warren). Their swap has
been delayed unfortunately by
health problems in both of their
Again the purpose of the swaps is
to foster more sharing between
Blacks and Whites in the county.
In addition, the pulpit swaps have
offered an introduction to the
ICRJ’s upcoming June module:
An Experience with the Black
Church/Discussion(s) on Race.
Here LLL participants will have an
opportunity to experience worship
and fellowship with one or several
African American congregations as
Greater Morning Star, Living
Faith, Greater New Hope, and
North Broadway Church of Christ
will welcome LLL students on
consecutive Sundays.
Unlike a traditional LLL module
with five sessions, participants in
this module can opt to engage with
the program and discussion for just
one Sunday or all four. With this
new format the ICRJ hopes that
more people will invest the time
to experience the Black Church
and build relationships with African Americans. (continued on p 4)
MLK Cmte. Already Planning for Silver Anniversary
Hoping to make the ICRJ’s upcoming
25th (Silver Anniversary) MLK Holiday Celebration both a special event
and anniversary, the 2012 MLK Celebration Committee kicked off their
planning on March 16.
At this first planning meeting the
group decided that in addition to securing a national speaker for the event
they’d also like to mark the ICRJ’s
Silver Anniversary by engaging
county youth in a contest to create a
traveling MLK exhibit that would
go to area high schools. In addition,
the committee will be asking attendees at next January’s MLK Celebration to bring items to the event
to support those in need. Further
ideas mentioned were seeking a
media sponsor to help educate folks
about Dr. King, and commissioning an art piece.
Finally the 2012 MLK Committee
selected Lynette Holmes as their
chair and set some monthly meeting dates.
Much more planning and hard
work is to come by the committee
(continued on page 3)
ICRJ Issues Letter in Support of Collective Bargaining
Note: As the protests at the State Capitol in Madison,
WIgrew and gained national attention, the ICRJ
issued a letter in support of collective bargaining for
public and private workers. This letter was mailed
directly to Macomb legislators, Governor Snyder, and
County Executives Mark Hackel, Robert Ficano, and
L. Brooks Patterson. It was also sent to the media as
a media release. Below is the full letter from the
Six weeks ago almost 1,200 business, community,
education, government, political, religious, and
union leaders packed into The Royalty House in Warren for our annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Holiday Celebration of Macomb County.
Our theme for this year’s event (our 24th Annual)
was “Carrying the Torch of MLK’s Legacy Forward.” Throughout the program we repeatedly
stressed that Dr. King’s vision for America, his
spirituality and nonviolent approach, and his lessons
are as relevant today as they were forty and fifty
years ago. We encouraged our guests to carry the
torch of MLK’s legacy forward by educating youth
and re-educating ourselves about the totality of Dr.
King, not just snippets of his “I Have a Dream”
speech, but also his action grounded in faith and
nonviolence, his condemnation of war, and his
advocacy for workers and the poor.
As we currently witness an assault on workers’
rights—particularly in Wisconsin, Ohio, Indiana,
and New Jersey—and the right of public employees
to collectively bargain we once again are reminded
of the need to deepen and broaden people’s understanding of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and our
commitment to stand in support of workers (public
and private) to collectively bargain.
When MLK was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee on April 4, 1968, he was there fighting for
the collective bargaining rights of municipal workers, specifically sanitation workers who were striking in response to unsafe working conditions, a subminimum wage, non-existent benefits, and no
bargaining rights.
The Interfaith Center for Racial Justice has
worked tirelessly for over forty years (since 1971 in
Macomb County) to build unity and bridges of
ICRJ is now hiring workers for their Saturday
evening Bingo at the North Gratiot Bingo Hall
(47650 Gratiot)--a non-smoking facility
Hrs: 5 to 9:15 p.m.
Pay for Evening: $30
For more information
or to apply please call:
Debbie Holmes
(586) 219-4663
understanding among people of different cultures
and faith traditions while trying to lessen bigotry,
prejudice, racism, and intolerance. Ultimately
we stand for justice, and we see these efforts to
take away collective bargaining as both unjust
and an infringement on freedom and democracy.
The right to bargain collectively with an employer
enhances the human dignity, liberty, and autonomy of workers by giving them the opportunity to
influence the establishment of workplace rules and
thereby gain some control over a major aspect of
their lives, namely their work. . . . Collective
bargaining is not simply an instrument for pursuing
external ends. . . rather [it] is intrinsically valuable as an experience in self-government. . .
Collective bargaining permits workers to achieve a
form of workplace democracy and to ensure the rule
of law in the workplace. Workers gain a voice to
influence the establishment of rules that control a
major aspect of their lives.”
Further we highlight that collective bargaining
is guaranteed as an essential human right in Article 23of the Universal Declaration of Human
Rights, and has continually been recognized as so
in international human rights conventions.
Photo of ICRJ Letter Sent to Governor Snyder
Collective bargaining rights stem from the rights
of assembly and free speech given in Article I of
the Bill of Rights in the US Constitution. Workers ability to organize and collectively bargain
gives them some ability to have a say in how they
are treated and compensated in their jobs. The
current efforts are couched in rhetoric about
cutting costs and budget deficits. Yet, workers
in Wisconsin have already said that they’d assume greater portions of their benefits to reduce
The real issue is collective bargaining and the
ability for workers to organize.
We affirm the 2007 Supreme Court of Canada
ruling on the rationale for regarding collective
bargaining as a human right. For “in the case of
Facilities Subsector Bargaining Association v.
British Columbia, the Court made the following
Amidst this economic recession we understand
people’s frustration and pain, but we cannot sit
back and not speak out against these efforts to
scapegoat the working class and demonize unions,
while trying to deny workers a fundamental human right.
Therefore we call on our elected officials to protect collective bargaining and workers rights for
public and private employees, and ask the media
to make known our position. ICRJ’s executive
director, board members, members, and donors
may not be in a union, but those of us fighting for
social and economic justice support the union
movement which was central to the Civil Rights
Movement led by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and
his challenge “to make America a better nation.”
Imam Steve Elturk
Rev. Michail T. Curro
Executive Director
ICRJ Board of Directors ICRJ
Recent Media: ICRJ on Warren Cable and soon . . . Facebook
Recently Warren Cable TV’s new program hosts
Kelly Colegio and Brian Louwers interviewed
ICRJ’s Michail Curro, Imam Steve Elturk, and
Eric Jackson about the ICRJ’s history, current
programming, and future focus for the second
segment of their show “Community Matters.”
The show is to begin showing on Warren Cable
TV during the week of March 27. In addition, an
article on the ICRJ by Brian Louwers will be
featured in the Warren Weekly and (hopefully)
other C & G Newspapers. To have the ICRJ
program aired on your local TV station
please call and ask your cable station to
run the program.
Soon the Interfaith Center for Racial Justice
(ICRJ) will also be on Facebook in hopes of better
connecting with you and reaching folks through
social media. Please be patient with us as we
update our web page and move slowly into the
21st century. If you can help please let us
know how and call us on (586) 463-3675.
20ll MLK Holiday Celebration of Macomb County: ICRJ’s Largest Keeps MLK’s Legacy Alive
ICRJ’s annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Holiday Celebration of Macomb County this
past January 17th was once again sold out—
with ~ 1200 business, community, education, government, political, religious, and
union leaders squeezing into The Royalty
House in Warren.
Executive Director Michail Curro, introduction of the 2011 MLK theme by MLK
Celebration Committee chair Willie
Dechavez, entertainment during dinner
from Chinese Dancers, awarding of the Mel
Miller Rise Beyond the Horizon Award to
Regina H.S. Teacher Virginia Brinker, a
short video produced from interviews the
ICRJ held with area leaders, a powerful
poetry reading from City Wide Poets, an
inspiring reflection and challenge by Glenn
McIntosh (Dean and Assistant V.P. for Student Affairs at Oakland University), and
closing remarks by host Warren Mayor Jim
Fouts who along with emcee Don Torline
(Baker College President) also called and
picked door prize winners—something
offered to MLK guests for the first time.
2011 MLK guests watch video on influence of MLK and
impact of annual MLK Holiday Celebration .
The 2011 MLK Holiday Celebration emphasized carrying the torch of Dr. King’s legacy
forward by educating youth about MLK and
re-educating or deepening one’s understanding of all that Dr. King stood for—not just
that gleamed from the snippets of his “I Have
a Dream” speech, but his full life, work, and
message. Including his spiritual grounding,
faith based movement, nonviolent approach,
emphasis on racial pride and self-reliance,
opposition to war and greed, and moral imperative to stand with workers and the poor.
Elements from this year’s celebration were a
welcome from U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow, brief overview of and invitation to participate in Listen, Learn, & Live by ICRJ
Also making the 2011 MLK Holiday Celebration another successful and festive time were
the 2011 MLK Choir from North Broadway
Church of Christ and a Jazz Combo from
Warren Mott H.S.
Chinese Cultural Dancers perform during
dinner at 2011 MLK Holiday Celebration
(continued from page 1)
over the next 10 months, but those volunteering to serve on the 2012 Silver Anniversary
MLK Celebration Committee are excited.
While some new faces have joined several committee members who returned from last year’s
MLK committee, there is room for more volunteers wishing to help both plan the 2012
MLK Holiday Celebration and the ICRJ’s 25th
Anniversary of this important annual event.
Glenn McIntosh, Dean and Asst. VP for
Student Affairs challenges MLK attendees to
Carry the torch of MLK’s Legacy Forward
If you wish to join the 2012 Silver Anniversary MLK Celebration Committee, please contact Lynette Holmes or
Rev. Michail Curro on (586) 463-3675
or at [email protected]
2011 Listen, Learn, & Live Schedule
Dates: 3/6; 3/13; 3/20; and, 4/3
6:30 P.M.
Host: St. Mark Catholic Church
(4401 Bart Avenue, Warren)
Site Visit: Saturday morning, April 2 to
Temple Emanu-El, Oak Park
Dates: 5/4; 5/11; 5/18; and 5/25
6:30 P.M.
Host: Islamic Association of Greater Detroit
(879 W. Auburn Road, Rochester Hills)
Site Visit: Sunday morning, May 22 to
St. Francis-St. Maximilian Parish, Ray Twp.
Dates: 4/12, 4/26; 5/3; and 5/9*
6:30 P.M.
Host: American Lutheran Church
(38795 Mulberry St., Clinton Twp.)
Site Visit: Friday afternoon, May 6 to
Islamic Organization of North America (IONA)
June 2011
June 19: Greater New Hope, New Haven
(*Closing Session is on a Monday)
—To Be Determined*—
(*Dates and Location for this Module have not been
finalized yet.)
Sunday mornings
June 5: Greater Morning Star, Mt. Clemens
Topic: Are We in a Post-Racial Society?
June 12: Living Faith Church, Warren
Topic: Race in Metro Detroit—Any Improvement?
Topic: What Keeps Us Divided?
June 26: North Broadway, Mt. Clemens
Topic: Where Do We Go From Here?
Call (586) 463-3675
Email: [email protected]
“. . . I n v o k i n g a C om m u n i t y o f Re s p e ct a n d J u s t i ce ”
The Interfaith Center for Racial Justice (ICRJ) has been working for four decades to build bridges of understanding among
people of different cultures and faith traditions. Join us in this
important venture whether through attendance at our annual
Tyson House
84 Beyne Street
Mount Clemens, MI 48043
Phone: 586-463-3675
Fax: 586-469-0549
E-mail: [email protected]
MLK Holiday Celebration of Macomb County, participation in
our unique “Listen, Learn, & Live” programming, support of
our “Forums on Diversity” segments, involvement in our
Macomb/Detroit Multicultural Youth Project, and/or through a
donation to or an ICRJ membership. Together we can build a
better community, a stronger region, a better world for all.
To contact ICRJ please call Rev. Michail T. Curro, Executive
We’re on the Web!
Director on (586) 463-3675 or email him at [email protected]
2011 LLL Programming
Continued from p. 1
Become an ICRJ Member Today
An important source of funding for the
Interfaith Center for Racial Justice (ICRJ)
are individual, congregational, and organizational memberships.
Join us in our efforts to build bridges of
understanding, to invoke a community of
respect and justice for all.
Individual, family, and youth members
will receive:
 ICRJ’s newsletter(s), email updates and
email notifications of ICRJ programming
and events.
Organizational members will receive:
 ICRJ newsletter(s), email notifications of
ICRJ programming and events, and discounts for their members participating in
“Listen, Learn, & Live” modules.
Please complete the membership form
and return to ICRJ today!!!
(for example, the Smith Family) is pleased
to support the work of the Interfaith Center for Racial Justice (ICRJ) in invoking a
community of respect and justice.
_____ Youth (< 18) Membership-$15
_____ Youth (< 18) Membership and
Friend of Martin*-$20
_____ Individual Membership-$25
_____ Individual Membership and
Friend of Martin*-$35
_____ Family Membership-$45
_____ Family Membership and
Friend of Martin*-$60
_____ Organizational Membership-$250
*Friend of Martin members are listed in
ICRJ’s MLK Publication distributed to 10,000
people thru-out the county prior to and during
the annual MLK Holiday Celebration of
Macomb County.
Another new twist to LLL this spring is the
location of the ICRJ’s May module on Christianity. It is taking place at a mosque
(Islamic Association of Greater Detroit,
IAGD) in Oakland County. This will mark
the first time LLL has been hosted by a
mosque and a congregation outside of
Macomb County.
Over the years the ICRJ has offered several
modules on Islam—largely for Christians to
learn from and with Muslims. The May 2011
LLL module will give Muslims and nonChristians an opportunity to gain a deeper
understanding about the differences between
Catholics and Protestants, Evangelical and
Mainline churches, and the different ways
that Christian groups are organized and worship.
While attempting these new ventures with
LLL, the ICRJ will also provide their standard introductory modules on Jews and Judaism (March), Islam and Muslims (April); the
Chaldean Community (tentatively in June),
and 2nd LLL Summer Camp for Teenagers
(August). *
For more information or to
register for 2011 LLL programming, please contact the ICRJ
on (586) 463-3675 or via email
at [email protected]
*The complete 2011 LLL Schedule
is included on page 3.

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