June 05, 2020

Manchin Hosts First Virtual Listening Session With Reverend English

Charleston, WV – On Friday evening, U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) hosted a virtual listening session with Reverend Ronald English and other leaders in the faith community via Facebook Live. The listening session was the first of the From Hurt to Healing series that aimed to amplify African American voices and encouraged every West Virginian and American to think about how we can move forward toward an equal and more just society.

“I am grateful to have had Reverend Ronald English join me tonight for a productive conversation about how we can move forward from this painful time toward a more just society. Like many West Virginians, I have been heartbroken by the death of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and many other African American men and women. The organized demonstrations in communities across the country make it clear: what we have been doing to address the systemic racism in our country is not enough. In the last few weeks, I’ve thought a great deal about what I can do to promote positive change. One important thing I can do is to listen to our African American neighbors and do my part to amplify their voices. I will continue to do just that,” Senator Manchin said. 

“The question that Dr. King raised in his last book challenges us with fresh vigor: Where do we go from here - chaos or community? Turning points in the context of crises become dangerous opportunities for charting paths from hurt to healing aided by authentic awareness of past perils and positive appraisal of present possibilities,” Reverend English said. 

Reverend English was mentored by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., served as Dr. King’s assistant at Ebenezer Baptist Church, was present at the historic “I Have a Dream” speech, and also delivered prayers at Dr. King’s funeral. Reverend English was the Pastor of the First Baptist Church in Charleston from 1972 to 1993 during which he worked to establish low-income housing and founded the Black Heritage Cultural Series. Reverend English also served in leadership roles in many other churches.