Hope Is A Verb

This week, someone asked me where I’m finding hope right now. It’s a crucial question: The President is openly organizing voter intimidation; the Senate is confirming a Supreme Court Justice in a naked power grab; COVID continues to spread, aided by this administration—there are so many threats that lure us toward hopelessness. But our despair doesn’t help kids at the border sleeping beneath foil blankets. Despair won’t provide economic aid to families who desperately need it. And despair doesn’t prevent Black people from being shot by the police. God tells us, “Do not be afraid”—not because there is nothing to fear but because fear extinguishes our power. And the stakes are too damn high for that.
Want to know my secret reservoir of hope? It’s you. The fierce love you bring to organizing for this election ignites the love in my own heart, and reminds me that death will not have the final word. And this congregation is living into radiant hope every day through November 3rd. Voting is an act of faith—in our democracy and in one another—and this church’s faith is overflowing.
On October 17th at 2:00 p.m., we’re joining a State of Emergency rally with Eleanor Bumpers, Breonna Taylor’s mother. We’ll gather at 62nd St. & Central Park West, across from the Trump International Hotel, and make it abundantly clear: Our voices will not be suppressed. Then, on Sunday, October 25th at 3:00 p.m. we’re hosting a group discussion “Organizing White Voters for Collective Liberation,” to help our white siblings have hard, necessary conversations with friends and family. And, on Monday, October 26th at 7:00 p.m., we’re partnering with the New Georgia Project to host a Poll Chaplain Training, so you can learn how to support voters as they wait in line, and ensure polling places do not suffer election violence. Hope isn’t a feeling that magically stirs within us, it’s something we cultivate—with God and in community.
And this congregation’s generosity is birthing so much hope into the world, far beyond our doors. This week, we donated $5,000 to LaTosha Brown’s Black Voters Matter, Stacey Abrams’ Fair Fight, Aimee Allison’s She the People, Sherrilyn Iffil’s Legal Defense Fund and Tamika Mallory’s Until Freedom. This $25,000 from our Black Lives Matter fund will support the efforts of fierce Black women who are fighting to save our democracy from the white supremacy threatening to consume it. This is HUGE. And it’s only possible because of this congregation’s willingness to open our hearts and pocketbooks—putting our money where our values are. So please, make a donation today and support this work.
And we are just as committed to giving you what you need to live into your own fiercest love! Yesterday, I read that 1 in 3 families with kids don’t have enough to eat right now. If you are struggling financially: It is not your fault and you are not alone. Please, apply to our Deacon’s grant. And if you need help paying your housing bills, apply for one of our Cancel Mortgage/Cancel Rent grants. Our hope is only as strong as our community.
And we want to care for your spirit as well. Head to our prayer portal and let us know what you’re carrying so you don’t have to shoulder it alone. And anytime you want, call 212-477-0666 to hear a calming prayer and scripture (ex. 4 for English, ex. 5 for Spanish, thanks to ¡Hablamos!)
On Sunday, come celebrate our 15th annual Children’s Sabbath, where we focus on the particular needs of our community’s youngest members. Rev. Amanda Hambrick Ashcraft will preach, “Called for More,” and I pray we listen hard. Let’s carry all our children into the voting booth with us—casting ballots for love and justice on their behalf. I’m voting for Ophelia and Octavius, and I know we will not let them down.
In love and hope,
P.S. If you haven’t already, MAKE YOUR VOTING PLAN. Locate your polling place. Bring a friend. Know what time you plan to go. Carve out time in your schedule. Kindle hope by doing everything you can to embody the love we yearn to see.