By Derick D. Dailey
The Pan-African Young Adult Network (“PAYAN”), of Bread for the World, recently gathered in Washington, D.C. on the 150th birthday of W.E.B. DuBois. They engaged in prayer, worship, and critical reflection to advocate for a hunger-free world.
The weekend brought together over two dozen young adults representing a diverse cross-section of the African diaspora, both ethnically and theologically. They affirmed the importance of grounding anti-hunger policy and advocacy in Pan-African experiences, theology, strategies, and history. On Friday, PAYAN gathered at the historic Ebenezer United Methodist Church on Capitol Hill for dinner, fellowship, and worship. The group was joined by Ebenezer’s pastor and members, the church historian (who is also a local Washington television personality), local non-profit leaders, senior leadership of Bread for the World, and members of a local theatrical ministry called “Breathe.” After a refreshing time of praise and worship, members of Bread’s leadership team affirmed the work of PAYAN with thoughtful remarks.
On Saturday the group convened at Howard University School of Divinity. The group engaged in asset-mapping, capacity building, and short and long-term planning, along with a healthy dose of organizational and institutional development. PAYAN agreed to a number of goals, a few being:
- Participating in the June 11-12, 2018 Pre-Lobby Day and Lobby Day activities
- Developing a Policy Position Statement to be shared with coalition partners
- Developing a covenantal commitment of advocacy engagement with the Offering of Letters and Bread for the World Sunday in the home communities of PAYAN participants
- Consideration of traveling to Africa on a learning and service mission – the group termed this goal (“Wakanda”)
PAYAN believes that we are living in a kairos moment and at its core is a global resistance movement for justice and equity; a movement firmly rooted in the African principles of togetherness, community, and shared interdependence. These principles are evidenced in the Black struggle for justice and liberation lived out in Ethiopia, South Africa, and in what Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. termed the “Beloved community” in the Civil Rights era in the United States.
Confident in the hope found in the resurrection of Christ, anchored in the faithfulness of African indigenous commitment, and moved to act by current black fervor and Pan-African collaboration, PAYAN believes that God is calling all of creation to partake in his liberation and abundance.
Join us by urging your federal legislators to support comprehensive immigration reform, real sentencing reform within the criminal justice system, and any and all efforts to protect programs for those who are hungry and poor in the United States and around the globe.
Dailey is a lawyer and currently resides in St. Louis, Missouri. He is a former Bread for the World Board Member and Hunger Justice Leader. Dailey is a graduate of Westminster College, Yale University, and Fordham University School of Law. He is a member of the African Methodist Episcopal Church and is the convener of the PAYAN.