July 15th, 2022 marked the first Faith Leaders of Color Coalition (FLOCC) Brunch held in Missouri with leaders of color from across the state hosted by Missourians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty, FLOCC Missouri, and Missouri Faith Voices.
Pastor Richard Jackson, Founder of Manasseh Ministry gave the Welcome Invocation, with
Opening Remarks from Reverend Darryl G. Gray, Executive Director and Senior Pastor of Missouri Faith Voices, Inc. & Greater Fairfax MB Church.
Mother Beatrice Parwatikar, Social Justice Activist and Lay Minister blessed the meal with profound words of love and hope.
We then heard an overview of the current status of the death penalty in Missouri from Michelle Smith, Director of Community Engagement and Outreach at Missourians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty. Dawn Oliver-Dysart, Co-Founder and Executive Leader of Operation Liberation in Kansas City, then brought us back to the need to focus on Black Liberation work within communities. Joia Erin Thornton, National Policy Strategist for the Southern Center for Human Rights encouraged those in attendance to further partner and join the work of Faith Leaders of Color from across the country to uplift the movement to abolish the death penalty.
We were blessed to be joined by several impacted families and community members including Yvette Allen, Activist and sister of Billie Allen, who is an innocent man on federal death row.
Michelle Smith then gave several examples what Faith Leaders of Color can do to uplift and support the efforts of MADP, the families of those living under death sentences, and those facing execution including:
Attend rallies, Capitol Lobby Days, execution vigils & watches
Author and Submit Op-Eds to media outlets
Communicate with elected officials (Governor, Atty General, etc)
Speak to congregation & host/sponsor community discussions
Support clemency campaigns & organization by sharing & signing
Participate in National FLOCC meetings & conferences
We are so grateful to all in attendance and to the amazing caterers, videographers, and photographers who joined in capturing this incredible event to further the movement to abolish the death penalty in Missouri.