PSR to host community dialogue on Grant/Mehserle

July 26, 2010

Pacific School of Religion will host a community dialogue on the just and appropriate responses of people of faith to the death of Oscar Grant and the conviction of Johannes Mehserle. "A Time to Mourn and a Time to Speak: Grant/Mehserle, Faith, and Justice," will take place on Thursday, July 29, 2010 from 7 to 9 pm, in the Chapel at Pacific School of Religion, 1798 Scenic Avenue, in Berkeley. The forum is free and open to the public.

The forum is co-sponsored by City of Refuge United Church of Christ, San Francisco; First Congregational Church of Berkeley; Seminary of the Street, Oakland; Tapestry Ministries, Berkeley; and New Spirit Community Church, Berkeley.

This event arises from the deep sorrow expressed by many people of faith and good will regarding Oscar Grant’s death and Johannes Mehserle’s conviction. It explores what the appropriate and just responses of people of faith might be from this point forward to the circumstances surrounding and contributing to the death and the conviction. The forum will confront theological, political, racial, and generational issues. It is intended to be a catalyst for community building and for action concerning the conditions that led to and resulted from this tragedy.

"A Time to Mourn and a Time to Speak: Grant/Mehserle, Faith, and Justice" will begin at 7 pm with a Service of Lament and Holy Communion. A dialogue will then take place among featured speakers and diverse members of faith and activist, student, professional, and concerned communities in the Bay Area.

Invited guests include neo-soul artist and songwriter Valerie Troutt; Morgan Bassichis of Community United Against Violence; Nichola Torbett, founder of Seminary of the Street; Leo Moore, community activist from the Pittsburg-based Souljah Movement; pastor, writer, and social critic Rev. Byron Williams; Phil Porter and WING IT!; liturgical dancer Michaela Rhone; Rev. Dr. Toni Dunbar, associate pastor of City of Refuge United Church of Christ; and others.