Pastor Michael McBride (affectionately known by his congregants and the larger community as Pastor Mike) is the spiritual leader of The Way Christian Center in Berkeley, California, an important and inspiring social justice activist in the San Francisco Bay Area and nationally, and a close friend and collaborative partner of the USF Institute for Nonviolence and Social Justice. Yesterday afternoon, Pastor Mike hung a Black Lives Matter banner above the entry to his church; sometime after midnight, an arsonist set fire to a trash bin at the back of the church, charring the building before the fire was discovered and, thankfully, extinguished.
“For decades church fires were used as a means of terrorizing Black clergy and the Black community,” McBride reflected. “Regardless of the intentions of the suspect, we will not be silenced or intimidated.”
Alongside his religious service, Pastor Mike is a Co-Founder of the Black Church PAC and the National Black Brown Gun Violence Prevention Consortium, and he directs Faith in Action’s LIVE FREE gun violence prevention campaign. He is a national leader in the struggle to address gun violence as a public health emergency, especially in Black and other communities of color; an important advocate for the promotion, expansion and exercise of Constitutionally-protected voting rights; and a leading voice in the nationwide movement to reduce and eliminate police brutality and mass incarceration. Hundreds of Bay Area people of all faiths turn to Pastor Mike and The Way Christian Center for spiritual uplift and to further racial justice and nonviolence in our community and nation, and we are proud to be among them.
The USF Institute for Nonviolence and Social Justice stands with Pastor Mike and The Way congregation, and the entire community they serve in love, support, and solidarity at this time and always.
Jonathan D. Greenberg and Clarence B. Jones