In light of the ongoing realities of racial injustice in the world, the BWA launched a special Racial Justice Action Group in October 2020 with unanimous affirmation from the BWA Executive Committee.
Given a two-year mandate, one of the primary objectives of the group was to focus the 2022 BWA Annual Gathering around the theme of racial justice – including keynote speakers, the work of all 14 BWA Commissions, pilgrimages, and other points of prayer and action. This objective will come to fruition when hundreds of global Baptist leaders gather on the campus of Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama, USA, from July 10-15.
Among the racial justice initiatives offered at the hybrid event, the Annual Gathering will feature special guest and racial justice visionary Allan Boesak. Dr. Boesak’s involvement in public life and South Africa’s freedom struggle began in 1976 when he began to play a leading role in resistance politics in South Africa. In 1983, he called for the formation of the United Democratic Front which would grow into the largest, nonviolent, non-racial anti-apartheid formation in the history of the struggle.
A fervent believer in direct, militant, nonviolent action, he became its most visible leader at home and abroad. He worked with President Nelson Mandela, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, and an array of African and world leaders to end apartheid.
The event will also include a Racial Justice Journey to nearby Montgomery, Alabama, during which we will visit several historic sites that document sins of racial injustice as well as efforts to pursue sustained change and justice.
On the final day together, there will be a tour organized by members of the BWA Commission on Baptist Heritage and Identity. This tour will include a visit to the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute and the historic Sixteenth Street Baptist Church that was bombed during the civil rights struggle in Birmingham.
We look forward to this meaningful time of listening, learning, praying, and leaving better equipped to follow the path of transformative racial justice in our communities.