An award-winning documentary and a panel of Baptists of color will headline the Baptist Center for Ethics’ annual luncheon at this year’s General Assembly of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship scheduled for July 2 in Houston, Texas.


BCE will offer a partial screening of its DVD “Beneath the Skin: Baptists and Racism.”


After the screening, we will hear from Baptists of color. These leaders will reflect on the documentary and dialogue with attendees about what we can do together constructively to address entrenched racism.


Confirmed Baptist leaders of color include:

  • Javier Elizondo, executive vice president at the Baptist University of the Americas and a documentary interviewee;
  • John Ogletree, pastor of First Metropolitan Church of Houston and former chair of the executive board of the Baptist General Convention of Texas; and
  • Chester Thompson, pastor of Zion Hill Baptist Church in Camden, Ark., and the first African American to serve as moderator-elect for CBF of Arkansas.


“Beneath the Skin” won the best documentary award at the International Black Film Festival of Nashville in October 2008 and a similar award at the Cine-Fest Motion Picture Expo in Louisville in December. It was accepted for screening at the San Diego Black Film Festival in January and was nominated for the best documentary award at the Texas Black Film Festival in February.


Make no mistake, however. This documentary examines more than the history of slavery, segregation and separation between black and white Americans. It also delves into the historical and current racism against brown Americans.


One documentary interviewee reminds us that Texas restaurant signs once said, “No Mexicans or dogs allowed.”


Several interviewees note how sophisticated we’ve gotten with our racism, allowing our institutions to be racist for us.


This widely acclaimed film is being used in churches and communities to bring together goodwill Baptists, creating new partnerships committed to addressing an entrenched problem.


Tickets for the luncheon are $35 and can be ordered online. Individuals or organizations may reserve an entire table, which seats 10 people and costs $350. For more information and to order tickets, click here.

Table-sponsoring organizations at press time are the Alabama Cooperative Baptist Fellowship; Broadway Baptist Church, Fort Worth, Texas; Buckner International; Christian Life Commission of the Baptist General Convention of Texas; Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of Arkansas; Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of Georgia; Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of South Carolina; Jersey Village Baptist Church, Houston, Texas; and Mainstream Oklahoma Baptists.


If you’ve already seen the documentary, be an evangelist for racial justice—encourage others to attend. In fact, you ought to attend, sharing the good news about what you’ve already experienced and accomplished through this resource for the common good.


I can promise you that this luncheon will touch your heart, capture your moral imagination and fire you up to do justice.


Robert Parham is executive editor of and executive director of its parent organization, the Baptist Center for Ethics.

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