Charlottesville Response

by | Aug 17, 2017 | Not In USe

Billie Fidlin

“Are we as a people committed to an America that extends her doctrine of freedom and equality to all – domestically and internationally? What are we willing to do to see that our freedoms continue, without violence and hatred? That is the question… what are we, what are you, willing to do to ensure a peaceful America thrives for the benefit of all?”

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United Methodist Communications shares:

Jesus called his followers to “love your neighbor.” However, history is witness that this simple commandment has not always been the easiest to follow for humankind. This week has brought it to the fore again. “By contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control” (Galatians 5:19-23). And this is exactly where we have spent a good deal of our time this week — in creating a multifaceted campaign we are calling “Embrace Love,” in response to the events in Charlottesville, Virginia, and the conversation that has gripped the nation since. Below are more details on the exact things that have been done:

1. We placed a full page ad in The New York Times and USA Today yesterday on Aug. 16. Together, these two papers reach about 2 million people.

2. We developed several articles, listed below, which cover the incident but also provide help and guidance on various fronts.

Regarding Charlottesville
Five tips for addressing racism with children
Ways United Methodists can take a stand against racism
At Sunday worship, pastors decry racism
Church shelters protesters amid deadly turmoil

3. We created video ad spots on denouncing racism. View the :60 video and :30 video.

4. We launched a comprehensive landing page at UMC.org/EmbraceLove that provides up-to-date content on the response from across the church, including resources and helpful tips.

5. We reached out to the Virginia Annual Conference to offer help on the media front and other resources.

6. We distributed Bishop Ough’s statement and press releasewidely within the church. We shared UMW’s statement on PR Web.

7. We created/posted a “Love one another” meme at The United Methodist Church Facebook page Sunday night, which had reached nearly 1.4 million people by Thursday and garnered more than 167,000 engagements. We followed it up with a Facebook video campaign that launched yesterday. So far, it has reached more than half a million people and the video has been viewed 241,000 times.

8. We created emails for our three key audiences:

Our external/seeker audience received a beautiful piece of content on how the rising tensions draw attention to the brokenness of our world, and how our baptismal vows compel us to act in the face of evil.
For the member audience, we shared Bishop Ough’s statement and helpful articles such as “Ways to take a stand” and “Talking to young people about racism.”
With the leader/pastor audience, we shared many resources produced not only by UMCom but also many other agencies. We consolidated them on this web pageand shared it through one comprehensive email.

9. We created a frame for Facebook that people can use on their profile pictures. We think this can be a very organic way for people to adopt the campaign and message of embracing love. The frame is still under review by Facebook. We hope to release this #EmbraceLove frame in the next day or so.

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Author: Billie K. Fidlin

Billie K. Fidlin is the Director of Outreach & Justice for the Desert Southwest Conference. She is a graduate of Western Michigan University and attended Claremont School of Theology for religious studies. Ms. Fidlin currently serves as the President of the Arizona Faith Network in her second term. She is President & Founder of Whisper n Thunder Inc., and sits on various boards including the Justa Center and the Phoenix Police Department's Faith Advisory Council. Her awards include the UM Foundation for Evangelism 2004 Distinguished Evangelist; 2016 Church Women United / United Nations Human Rights Award; 2018 Servant Leader Award AZ Faith Network; 2022 Southern Poverty Law Center Certificate of Recognition; and 2022-23 Class of Who's Who in America.
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