Vermont Press Releases

Vermont faith leaders to discuss resisting racism at Prophetic Resistance Summit

News Release — PICO National Network
October 11, 2017

Erin Willians, 202.748.0699
[email protected]

Summit to discuss combating White Supremacy from the pulpit with more than 300 faith leaders from across the country

WASHINGTON – More than 300 clergy and lay leaders are coming from across the country to create an agenda to fight white supremacy from one of places where people listen the most – the pulpit. The Prophetic Resistance Summit is being held October 23-25 at the J.W. Marriott Hotel in downtown Indianapolis. The event is an ongoing effort to address a panoply of politically progressive issues, from white supremacy to environmental degradation, among other challenges the Resistance Movement is targeting.

“We’re choosing to be prophets of the resistance,” says Rev. Michael-Ray Mathews, director of clergy organizing for PICO National Network, the largest faith-based grassroots organizing network in the United States. “We’re a grassroots movement fighting against ideas and policy proposals touted by President Donald Trump and ‘the radical right.’ We’re exploring what it means to embody love in the face of fear, and what it means to use resistance as a tactic to create meaningful change for our communities – communities most impacted by oppressive policies.”

Created in 2014 as the Prophetic Resistance Project, this PICO initiative is a multi-faith discourse that creates conversation and ideas for faith and lay leaders to be active changemakers by bringing life to the stories, values, and teachings that inspire our resistance. Among those attending are representatives from PICO affiliate Vermont Interfaith Action.

“We will not be silent in the face of racist, anti-Semitic, Islamophobic, misogynist, homophobic, anti-immigrant or any other form of hate filled speech or actions directed against the people of Vermont,” says Rev. Earl Kooperkamp of Good Shepherd Episcopal Church in Barre. “We stand for the safety and full participation of all Vermonters, regardless of ethnicity, creed, gender orientation or social status. We remain committed to the goal of an inclusive and open society for all Vermonters.”

The faith leaders scheduled to attend are:

Brother Thomas Berube, Society of Saint Edmund, Colchester
Rev. Kim Kie, Hedding United Methodist Church, Barre
Rev. Earl Kooperkamp, Church of the Good Shepherd, Barre
Rev. Beth Ann Maier, Christ Episcopal Church, Montpelier
Rev. Leon Dunkley, North Universalist Chapel Society, Woodstock

PICO has been deeply focused on leading grassroots resistance movements on gun violence, voting rights, and immigration in recent months. These efforts include helping to create sanctuary cities for immigrants in the Washington D.C. area through its Sanctuary DMV Congregations Network; working with The New Georgia Project to bring attention to unfair prosecution over voting registration; and tireless marching and advocacy work in St. Louis, California, Chicago, and other locations that are battling with injustice over police brutality.

The leaders will discuss civil disobedience and disruption as possible strategies to urge policymakers to create legislation that benefits the whole. “Prophetic resistance is standing up and speaking out even when every instinct tells you to be quiet,” says Rabbi Sharon Brous, a faith leader with LA Voice, a PICO federation. “In the end, faith leaders know it is important our voices are heard, calling for justice, calling for dignity and for equality for all people. It’s most important when hardest to do.”

Brous is one of three faith leaders who will be a keynote speaker at the Summit; she will be joined by Rev. Traci Blackmon, executive minister of Justice & Witness Ministries of The United Church of Christ and senior pastor of Christ The King United Church of Christ in Florissant, MO; and Rev. Alvin Herring, director of racial equity and community engagement for the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and former deputy director and senior leader of PICO. The summit is organized by PICO, and its state-based federations, IndyCAN and the AMOS Project. For more information, visit

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