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Faith leaders plan Indianapolis summit against white supremacy

October 19, 2017 | IndyStar| Link to Article

White nationalist Matt Heimbach had, "no particular sympathy," for Heather Heyer's death after the 'Unite the Right' rally in Charlottesville. Anti-defamation League's Center on Extremism's Marilyn Mayo says his view is, "very anti-American." Mykal McEldowney/IndyStar

As white nationalist Richard Spencer traverses the nation on a speaking tour of U.S. colleges, U.S. faith leaders plan a trek of their own. 

Specifically, a group of 300 multifaith clergy and lay leaders plan to focus their efforts on fighting racial divisions and the growing rise in white supremacy. 

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A conference called the "Prophetic Resistance Summit" will run Monday through Wednesday at the J.W. Marriott Hotel in Downtown Indianapolis.

“We’re choosing to be prophets of the resistance,” the Rev. Michael-Ray Mathews, director of clergy organizing for PICO National Network, said in a news release.

PICO National Network, which has organized the event along with IndyCAN and the AMOS Project, is a faith-based grassroots group that focuses on gun violence, voting rights and immigration. 

The conference comes on the heels of Spencer's Thursday talk at the University of Florida, where protesters drowned out Spencer's speech with calls for him to go home. 

More: University president: Richard Spencer hoping for violence to build movement

“We’re freedom fighters, justice seekers and faith leaders. We’re exploring what it means to embody love in the face of fear and what it means to use resistance as a tactic to create meaningful change for our communities, communities most impacted by oppressive policies," Mathews said.

Attendees will map out their efforts in advance of the 2018 midterm elections.

They will discuss civil disobedience and disruption as possible strategies to urge policymakers to create legislation that benefits the whole, according to the news release.

"The goal is to in insert a moral core in local, state, and national elections."

“President Trump’s rhetoric has created an environment where those who spread hate are validated, coddled and protected,” said the Rev. Traci Blackmon, senior pastor of Christ the King United Church of Christ in Florissant, Missouri.

“Our role as faith leaders is to denounce the sins of our nations, sins that push our Black and Brown brothers and sisters to the margins, leaving them in fear for their lives.”