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Bishop Vashti Murphy McKenzie among National Faith Leaders Speaking

The National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA (NCC) is thrilled to announce that Bishop Vashti Murphy McKenzie, President/General Secretary of the ecumenical body, will be speaking at the upcoming 60th Commemoration of the March on Washington this Saturday, August 26, 2023, between 9-9:15 a.m. The program is from 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. at the Lincoln Memorial and the March to the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial begins at 1:00 p.m.

“NCC’s presence and participation in this momentous occasion reflects our unwavering commitment to the pursuit of equality, justice, and dignity for all,” said Bishop Teresa Snorton, Chair of NCC’s Governing Board. “For the past 73 years NCC communions have played a vital role in advancing the cause of civil rights and promoting healing, reconciliation, and unity among diverse communities.”

NCC played a major role in organizing and participating in the original historic march on August 28, 1963. Many of NCC’s communion leaders marched that day with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. including Jon Regier, head of the Division of Christian Life and Mission.

Anna Arnold Hedgeman, a civil rights leader and NCC commission member, was the only woman on the original organizing committee for the March. She strategized to get at least one woman speaking on the podium that day and it turned out to be the NAACP’s Daisy Bates. 

The 60th Commemoration of the march holds great significance for Bishop McKenzie as she marched in the historic 1963 march as a teenager. “My parents retrieved me from summer camp in southern Maryland to attend the march with other cousins and family members,” said Bishop McKenzie. “The significance of the long hot day of speeches wasn’t fully realized until later in life as a student activist in college.”

In 2013, along with former Chairman of NCC’s Governing Board, Bishop W. Darin Moore, Bishop McKenzie prayed one of the opening prayers of the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington.

“At the heart of our Christian faith and the mission of the NCC is a love-compelling commitment to justice that won’t allow us to be silent in the face of poverty, inequality, oppression, and systems that devalue our divine image. Ours is a legacy of prophetic witness that continues to cry out for liberation, reparation, and equality,” said Bishop W. Darin Moore, the Presiding Prelate for the Mid-Atlantic Episcopal District of the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, and a member of NCC’s Governing Board.

NCC calls upon it’s constituency of 100,000 congregations and the nation to come together, united in purpose, to honor the past, engage with the present challenges, and actively work towards a future where justice and equality prevail. Register! March! Move forward!

For more information about the 60th anniversary of the March on Washington, “Not a Commemoration, A Continuation,” and how to register, click here.