“If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”– 2 Chronicles 7:14 (NKJV)
On May 25, 2020, an African-American man named George Floyd died in Powderhorn, a neighborhood south of downtown Minneapolis, Minnesota. While Floyd was handcuffed and lying face down on a city street during an arrest, Derek Chauvin, a white Minneapolis police officer, kept his knee on the right side of Floyd’s neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds. According to the criminal complaint against Chauvin, this is what led to Floyd’s death. The arrest was made after Floyd was accused of using a counterfeit $20 bill at a deli and according to police, Floyd physically resisted arrest.
Though the officer was charged with third-degree murder, the incident sparked a series of protests from the east to the west coast of the United States. Riots and looting have since broken out in cities and of businesses like we have not seen since the Rodney King incident on March 3rd, 1991. Rodney King was wrongfully and violently beaten in Los Angeles by Los Angeles Police Department officers during his arrest on I-210. The officers who beat him were later acquitted.
As my family and I talked about this incident around our dinner table, we were saddened by the fact that one man died over $20 at the hand of an irresponsible and possibly racially motivated police officer. We were even more saddened over how the incident is dividing the nation, giving way for opportunists to push their political agendas, irresponsible individuals to spark riots, and some to loot businesses further damaging an already hurting economy. This incident led George Floyd’s brother to make a public statement denouncing the riots and looting. He said, “I know my brother would not want violence. Let’s do this peacefully please.”
This has led us at Nehemiah Project to develop a response. Our goal is to provide direction to the entrepreneurs that we serve, provide biblically sustainable solutions to urban communities that can help prevent these situations in the future, and provide hope and support to entrepreneurs in urban communities.
We believe Nehemiah represents the progress of America. We are an organization founded in the African-American Community by African-Americans that served only African-American Americans for 10 years. Then through a vision from God, we expanded internationally and nationally in the US, serving predominantly white communities. Our staff and leadership team is now made up of a diverse group of African-Americans, Latinos, Whites, and Internationals. We represent the best and the greatest of the American DNA. The diversity, generosity, faith, entrepreneurship, and community that makes up what is good about America.
Due to the generosity of our donors, we provide thousands of dollars in scholarships a year to entrepreneurs throughout the US; many from urban communities. We also have programs in five regions of the world supported primarily by the US. What we are currently seeing in the media is not the America that we know. The America we know is what we experience at Nehemiah each day: the best of America.
As a part of our response to this social crisis we are doing the following;
- Providing an education series called: “The Journey “From Trial to Triumph.” This series is a redemptive look at the African-American experience based on the life of Joseph. It is to serve as a guide to handling past hurts and current injustices.
- Conducting a series of podcasts to provide education and inspiration. These podcasts will reflect cross-racial and cross-cultural partnerships and investments in making a difference in urban communities through Biblical Entrepreneurship.
- Partnering with Charles Kearse to relaunch the Nehemiah Urban Initiatives. Through this, our goal is to transform the urban marketplace with the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, one entrepreneur at a time. Charles will serve as the new director of the Nehemiah Project Urban Initiative.
- Joining other urban leaders and entrepreneurs to bring biblical business solutions to urban communities in anticipation of creating sustainable jobs.
Whether you have been directly affected by the current social crisis or not, we all must be concerned by the injustice in our system, economic inequalities, and the need to provide proactive sustainable solutions that are rooted in the redemptive truth of the Word of God. The end goal should not just be to reconcile races but to reconcile humanity to God. We can and must help. Please pray and determine how God can use you during this time to make a difference. Be careful not to fuel the negative energy, but rather fan the positive and participate in that which is constructive.
If you feel called to impact the urban community in America and work with us to build kingdom companies that create sustainable jobs, email Wendie Klem our US and North America Director at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can also partner with us financially by sponsoring a job or a business. Click here to sponsor a job or a business.