“Repentance before reconciliation,” says the Rev. Keith Caldwell, director of the Urban Epicenter on Nolensville Road.
Rev. Caldwell spoke at the rally on the front lawn of Nashville’s courthouse “as a member of the clergy and the Biblical imperative that requires that believers provide a prophetic witness in the public square speaking about the injustices of our nation,” he said.
People hear the words white supremacy and know the brutal legacy of white supremacy.
“We don’t have to be identified by that legacy” which can be traced back to the 1500s, Caldwell said.
Black Lives Matter “is not a membership-based group,” said Caldwell, who helped organize the vigil Friday evening. “It’s a collective. I’m a participant and a supporter of the critical important work that they do.”
Born in poverty, Caldwell grew up in John Henry Hale and Preston Taylor public housing, and earned his divinity degree at Vanderbilt University. He’s now an ordained minister in the United Methodist Church, pastoring at Key Memorial United Methodist Church in Murfreesboro.
As a veteran community organizer, he teaches other organizers the seven principals of non-violence as taught by the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. They are a valid way to redress injustice, Caldwell said.
Caldwell is a “proud father of four, now-adult children,” he said. His youngest is studying at the University of Tennessee on a scholarship.”
The Urban EpiCenter was founded in August 2007 with support from Caldwell and Sekou Franklin, Ph.D. It’s a multi-racial, grassroots organization in Nashville-Davidson County. The term, EpiCenter, describes the focal point of a disturbance or activity. The Urban EpiCenter leaders believe community organizing and direct action for racial and economic justice should be focal points of social and political activity in the underserved, underrepresented and/or under-empowered communities. The Urban EpiCenter is deeply rooted in the belief of a radical vision of democracy, which situates indigenous activists, the poor and working-class people at the center, or EpiCenter, of critical, vital and necessary grassroots initiatives.