Group names clergy who signed Wake schools petition

Posted March 21, 2010

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— A group on Sunday released the names of 33 religious leaders who have signed a statement asking the Wake County Board of Education to keep its student-assignment policies based on socioeconomic diversity.

The Wake County Clergy Coalition issued the statement Friday calling for further study and public input before the school board votes on a resolution implementing community assignment zones, in which students go to schools closer to their homes.

Twenty-one clergy members, including ministers, priests, rabbis, imams and deacons, had signed the statement Friday. Twelve more had added their signatures by Sunday. Among the signatories is Rev. William Barber, pastor of Greenleaf Christian Church in Goldsboro and president of the state chapter of the NAACP.

The school board is expected to take a final vote Tuesday on the resolution, which would direct a student assignment committee to take input and create a plan for community assignment zones over nine to 15 months.

Critics argue, in part, that the change would segregate poor students and keep them from receiving the same quality of education as more economically advantaged students. School board members have insisted that they have no plans to segregate students and that student achievement is their top priority.

The clergy coalition has planned a candlelight vigil in protest of the vote. The Little Light of Mine Candlelight Vigil for Diversity in Our Schools is scheduled for Monday at 7 p.m. at Martin Street Baptist Church, 1001 E. Martin St., Raleigh.

The coalition listed the following clergy as signatories:

  • Rev, David Amidon, St. Philip Lutheran Church
  • Rev. Dr. Earl Johnson, Martin Street Baptist Church
  • Rev. Douglas Long, Umstead Park United Church of Christ
  • Rev. Duane Beck, Raleigh Mennonite Church
  • Rabbi Lucy Dinner, Temple Beth Or, Raleigh
  • Rev. Paul Anderson, The Fountain of Raleigh
  • Rev. Tom Rhodes, Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Raleigh
  • Rev. Frank White, Antioch Bible Fellowship
  • Rev. Dr. William Barber, Greenleaf Christian Church
  • Rev. Lillie Jones, Fountain of Living Waters Church
  • Rev. Lorraine Ljunggren, St. Marks Episcopal Church
  • Father David McBriar, St. Francis of Assisi, Raleigh
  • Sr. Pastor Philip Walker, Mt. Pleasant Worship and Outreach Center
  • Rev. Chris Chapman, First Baptist Church, Raleigh
  • Rev. David Dolby, Greater Christian Chapel
  • Rev. Fred M. Williams. Mount Peace Baptist Church
  • Rev. Cathy Tamsberg, Pullen Memorial Baptist Church
  • Rev. Steve Hickle, Fairmont United Methodist Church
  • Pastors J. and M. Lewis, Awesome Word Ministries
  • Rev. Portia Rochelle, Word For Transformation Church
  • Rabbi Eric Solomon, Beth Meyer Synagogue
  • Rev. Ron Poythress, Triangle Baptist Church, Raleigh
  • Rev. Heidi Cleveland, Minister at Large, Presbyterian Church USA
  • Imam Oliver Mohammad, As Salaam Islamic Center of Raleigh
  • Rabbi Jennifer Solomon, Beth Meyer Synagogue
  • Rev. Kate Dennis, affiliate/member, UU Fellowship of Raleigh
  • Rev. Joanne Verberg, Covenant Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
  • Rev. Willem Bodisco Massink, Kirk of Kildare (PCUSA), Cary
  • Rev. Dr. Nathaniel Wood, New Providence Missionary Baptist Church, Fuquay-Varina
  • Rev. Jim Hodge, St. Giles Presbyterian Church, Raleigh
  • Rev. Aleta Ash, Milner Memorial Presbyterian Church
  • Rev. Robert Kennel, Covenant Christian Church, Cary
  • Deacon Al Moore, Christ Episcopal Church

This story is closed for comments.

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  • fishon Mar 22, 2010

    What, no Catholics on the list?

  • AWakeMom Mar 22, 2010

    Isr -- and just how do you suggest the school system hold a parent accountable for their role in their childs education??? If a parent was doing what they needed to to begin with, then your comment wouldn't have even needed to be said.

  • lsr67 Mar 22, 2010

    Maybe Dr. Barber and his followers should spend more time volunteering in his "community" schools and holding the teachers and administration in those schools to the same high standards that he imagines are in the Wake County Schools. In addition, how about holding the parents just as accountable for their role in their child's education.

  • absolutecaniac69 Mar 22, 2010

    >This petition is irrelevant to democracy. On Tuesday, the forced busing policy ends for good.

    So all busing in the future is voluntary, right?

  • lauraleigh Mar 22, 2010

    I see by the names and the locations that all these ministers are a bit left of orthodox. No surprise there. Of course - let's forget about making community schools something to be proud of for everyone, or encouraging families to emotionally "own" their local schools - let's just waste lots of money every year on transportation costs so that everyone can "look" equal.

  • injameswetrust2003 Mar 22, 2010

    With all due respect to everyone except Reverend Barber,

    This petition is irrelevant to democracy. On Tuesday, the forced busing policy ends for good.

  • cartman Mar 22, 2010

    This petition holds as much weight as a petition from the leaders of local knitting clubs.

  • lyteoflife Mar 22, 2010

    what is so creepy about that? I don't make my daughter wear her Christian based t-shirts, she has them (which is better than wearing clothes with vulgur images and language on them like I see some of the young people wearing these days). Myself as well as my family have served this country and represented every branch except the Coast Guard....I didnt fight for this country to have punk kids terrorize our own communities. I pray for them. now, onto letting those speak of the issue of this article

  • time4real Mar 22, 2010

    alright, everybody say it with me, WHO CARES. None of these names will have anything to do with how and what the school system does going forward. Not even Barber. Their opinions, sermons and candle light gatherings, when discussing a school board or system from their pulpit, don't mean a thing to 90+% of the population.

    Next item up for bids pleaseeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

  • lyteoflife Mar 22, 2010

    NC Reader...Thank you. It is just very frustrating. My daughter is very active in the school and makes great grades. She has taken her Rosary to school many times so to her it is a slap in the face. The officer on campus called me and told me he was Catholic and understood where we were coming from however there are others, ie different gang members, that will not look at her having them as a sign of her faith, but that of being associated with a gand which in turn could harm her. I say the schools should just have uniforms. Every time you turn around, there is a color, scarf, necklace that you cant wear because it has been associated with a gang etc. child was not using them as a gang symbol. There were a few reasons she had them one which was very personal and comforting to her in which she should not have to explain. I don't 'have my child wear religious symbols'...she does so because she has them. I have several necklaces with crosses on them and I wear them....what is