Group names clergy who signed Wake schools petition

Posted March 21, 2010 11:02 a.m. EDT

— 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