Ruby Sales, the nationally-known human rights advocate who participated in the three historic Selma-to-Montgomery Civil Rights marches, will deliver the Valerie Russell Lecture at 12 noon Saturday, June 22, during the UCC’s 32nd General Synod in Milwaukee, Wis.
Co-sponsored by CHHSM and the UCC’s Justice and Local Church Ministries, the lecture honors the leadership and legacy of UCC stalwart Valerie E. Russell, who worked with marginalized and oppressed persons throughout her life. She was executive director of the UCC’s former Office for Church in Society at the time of her death in 1997.
“So often in liberation work, we dismiss the deep spiritual wound caused by injustice in all of its forms,” the Rev. Traci D. Blackmon, the UCC’s associate general minister for Justice and Local Church Ministries, told United Church News. “Ruby Sales is a voice among us calling us to speak truth in the broken places of our society so that we might begin to heal the hurts our separation from truth has caused.”
Sales is founder and director of the New York City-based SpiritHouse Project, a nonprofit organization that works for racial, economic, and social justice through the arts, research, education, action, and spirituality. She is a much sought-after writer, lecturer, public theologian and social critic. Her early experiences helped her define her call to fight injustice. In August 1965, a 17-year-old Sales was jailed with fellow activists for picketing a whites-only store in Alabama. Following their release, they went to buy soft drinks at a nearby store. A county deputy aimed a shotgun at them. Fellow marcher Jonathan Daniels, an Episcopalian seminarian, pushed Sales out of the way and took the bullet intended for her. He died instantly.
“CHHSM is proud to once again help sponsor the Valerie Russell Lecture,” says Michael J. Readinger, CHHSM president and CEO. “Sales is an important voice in today’s world, where so many of God’s beloved people are in need of healing love, compassion, and support. As the UCC, we are called to love our neighbors. Sales not only speaks to us, but to all of humanity.”
Learn more about Ruby Sales.
Learn more about CHHSM activities as the Presenting Sponsor of General Synod.