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About ACCT

Who We Are

With the erratic backlash to the outcome of the 2020 Federal Election in state legislatures that has resulted in voter suppression laws, prohibitions on teaching a complete picture of history, and a permit-less gun carries law; the need is more evident that the hands of time and progress are being turned back. It is now apparent that the Black Church must rise to the occasion and heed the words of Proverbs 31:8-9, “Speak out for those who cannot speak, for the rights of all the destitute. Speak out, judge righteously, defend the rights of the poor and needy.”

The Drum Major of Justice, The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., is noted to have said, “Those who love peace must learn to organize as effectively as those who love war.” As faith leaders, we recognize the wars on several fronts – some physical and others more subversive. We also realize the difference between peace and silence. We refuse to remain silent.

Therefore, it is the resolve of the Steering Committee of the African American Clergy Collective of Tennessee (ACCT) to organize African American Clergy and clergy organizations across the state of Tennessee to advocate in the interest of four issues directly impacting the communities we serve: Criminal Justice Reform/ Policing, Education, Healthcare, and Civic Engagement.

We seek to mobilize clergy and the congregations we serve to be the moral voice in the public life of our state. Our advocacy, prophetic witness, partnership with historic civil rights organizations, collaboration with elected officials, and even direct action is necessary to help shape the public discourse and policy that will continue the creation of a more just and equitable Tennessee.

Black Church Agenda

In collaboration with Black faith leaders and congregations across Tennessee, ACCT seeks to advance a Black Church Agenda focused on four key areas, criminal justice reform/policing, education, healthcare, and civic engagement. Conversations with faith leaders inform these key areas and have a foundation in justice and equity. ACCT will engage with congregations to drill down into each focus area and prioritize.

Priority Detail

Criminal Justice Reform – End harsh policies and racial inequities at every point in the criminal justice system that intervenes in the lives of Tennesseans. The following matters are specific

  • Recognizing gun violence as a public health crisis and employing a data-driven approach to address the problem, including understanding the impact of permitless carry on gun violence.
  • Restoring trust in the courts and democracy and advancing racial justice and equity with improved court processes that reduce incarceration and recidivism rates, including pretrial reforms that honor the presumption of innocence, ending cash bail and unreasonable pretrial detention, judicial review of incarcerated persons on death row, and life sentences.
  • Improve jail and prison conditions and inspire alternatives to incarceration.
  • Efforts to successfully reintegrate the formerly incarcerated into the community, including record expungement, education, training, and work programs.

Policing – Focus on improving public safety by ensuring historically marginalized communities have the resources to address critical social problems, such as access to housing, food security, transportation, and physical and mental healthcare, while minimizing reliance on enforcement and reducing the harms that often accompany policing—such as uses of force and arrests.

Education – Providing equal access to high-quality education focuses on providing public education, including adequate funding, well-qualified teachers, modern buildings, effective leadership, and comprehensive curriculums.
-Healthcare – Recognize that healthcare is a human right. Advance legislation that funds healthcare for all.

Civic Engagement – Expanding voting rights, increasing the opportunity to vote, and promoting timely and meaningful citizen and stakeholder involvement in civic priority setting, decision-making, program development, and service delivery, decriminalizing protesting and protecting constitutional rights, and supporting local control.

ACCT Steering Committee

Rev. Dr. J. Lawrence Turner
President, Black Clergy Collaborative of Memphis
Rev. Dr. Daryll Coleman
Code Red, Jackson
Rev. Dr. Judy Cummings
Interdenominational Ministers Fellowship, Nashville
Rev. Dr. Earle Fisher
UpTheVote901, Memphis
Rev. Cherisna Jean-Marie
M.Div., Nashville
Rev. Dr. William T. Ladd
Rev. Brandon Malone
Rev. Dr. Aaron Marble
Interdenominational Ministers Fellowship, Nashville
Rev. Dr. Michael McNair
Knoxville Interdenominational Christian Ministerial Alliance (KICMA)
Rev. Dr. Calvin Taylor Skinner
Rev. Kelli X
M.Div., Nashville

Connect With Us

Join Us

The Black Clergy Collaborative of Memphis (BCCM) comprises members who work together to address systemic issues affecting Black communities in the United States. To become a member of the Black Clergy Collaborative, please fill out the form below. A member of our team will contact you within seven business days to discuss your committee interests and answer any questions you may have.