Issued By CHN, 2008


“Lift ev’ry voice and sing, Till earth and heaven ring, Ring with the harmonies of liberty.”

We lift our voices as proud descendants of the extraordinary people who made a way out of no way. We lift our voices as people of strength and courage. We lift our voices as heirs to the triumphs, pains, and promise of the Black experience.

We stand with our feet firmly planted in the 21st century. We have made great strides. Members of our community have done–and are doing–extraordinary things.

A Black man is the President of the United States. The world’s most influential media personality is a Black woman.

Yet, notwithstanding countless successes, the worst and longest-lasting consequence of the enslavement of African people, the lie of Black inferiority, is still at work in our lives today. That awful lie, introduced four centuries ago to justify the dehumanizing institution of slavery, says that Black people are not beautiful, not lovable, not intelligent, not capable, not worthy. That lie is still undermining our abilities to love ourselves and each other fully. It is at the root of many of the challenges facing the Black community. It is preventing too many Black men, women, and children from reaching their full, God-given potential.

Martin Luther King, Jr. said that “as long as the mind is enslaved, the body can never be free.” We acknowledge that the amazing achievements of our people have been made “over a way that with tears has been watered.” We acknowledge that we have come this far still burdened with the heavy weight of the lie of Black inferiority.

We raise our voices to declare that the lie is untrue, and emotionally, spiritually, and morally intolerable. We raise our voices to declare that the time has come to unburden ourselves—once and for all— and to replace the lie of Black inferiority with the truth of black people’s beauty, worth, value, and dignity. The time has come for complete freedom for Black people—freedom not only in body, but also in mind and in spirit.

We believe firmly that the healing love of God, a deepened understanding of our history, and a renewed commitment to wellness will empower us to love ourselves and each other fully—and to transform our community. We call on our brothers and sisters to join with us in building a movement for Black self-love rooted in God’s love for us. Toward that end, we commit, as a beginning step, to the annual observance of “Community Healing Days,” with appropriate activities, programs, and ceremonies on the third weekend of every October.

Together, we will work toward that marvelous day when all Black people see themselves as God sees them— as fully lovable, beautiful, intelligent, capable, and worthy. This is our pledge: to build a lasting movement for the emotional emancipation of Black people.

Facing the rising sun of our new day begun, Let us march on ‘til victory is won.

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