Get Us Free!

Happy Pride!
In our shared quest for liberation, I pray your freedom to be fully you!!
But speaking of threats to freedom, did you see the news that broke yesterday? The NFL admitted that it assumed Black players’ brains functioned at a lower cognitive capacity than white players’ when evaluating whether they might have a concussion. It’s the kind of news that makes you do a double-take. Excuse me? In this day and time, a professional organization has been openly assuming Black people are all just a little brain-damaged to begin with. But as shocking as this is, it shouldn’t be surprising. The truth is that we are still living in systems that regularly use the same racist “science” used to uphold slavery—in ways that presently endanger our health and safety. The lie of race-based differences in innate biology won’t die easily.
But, against this bogus pseudoscience, God proclaims the truth: She created Black people with the same wondrous intellect, artistry and deep capacity for love as every other human. And God yearns for our liberation!
Freedom doesn’t just happen: it requires radical education, persistent activism and prophetic joy to sustain our work. That’s why I’m so excited to invite you to Juneteenth 2021: Get Us Free! This collaboration between Middle and the historic Riverside Church will embody the spirit of the holiday, and equip us all with better tools for liberation.
We’re thrilled to announce today that Grammy Award-winning vocalist Stephanie Mills will perform live on Saturday, premiere her new music video “Let’s Do the Right Thing.” She’ll be joined by a cavalcade of Black excellence—from Tituss Burgess (Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt) to indigenous blues singer Martha Redbone and dance from Adrienne Hurd (Alvin Ailey).
Then, on Sunday I’m speaking with Pulitzer Prize–winning historian, Professor Annette Gordon-Reed, the author of On Juneteenth, for a virtual teach-in. Together, we’ll examine the legacies of slavery and systemic racism, and chart a new course for collective freedom.
The ticket options are many: You can come to the Juneteenth evening event, the lab, or both. A limited number of you can attend the evening event LIVE on Saturday night with me at the historic Riverside Church, including a special cocktail hour before the show, if that is your preference. Get your tickets now, so you can choose the experience that suits you best. Both events may be watched virtually, so you can enjoy mind-stretching conversation and heart-melting art.
This Sunday, we have a fabulous worship celebration to kick off our Pride month festivities. I’ll be preaching on “Binding the Strong Man.” Expect music that will make you get out of your seat and dance! Join us at 11:45 a.m. ET on or our Facebook and YouTube channels.
Freedom is coming, and it’s the fierce love of people like you who will be midwives to its birth.
I love you so much,