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    Change society through justice, speaker urges

    The Rev. Jim Wallis, a Christian writer and political activist, called for “justice and righteousness ” to transform American society during his “Brain Food” lecture Oct. 17 in Georges Auditorium.

    The founder and editor of “Sojourners” magazine and the Christian community with the same name based in Washington, D.C., addressed about 100 people as the second lecturer in the series. He also is the author of several books, the most recent being “On God’s Side.”

    Wallis told of giving a commencement speech at Sing-Sing Prison to seminary graduates, and one inmate said he wanted to go back to his New York neighborhood and “stop the train” of violence. Throughout his speech, he repeatedly asked the audience, “What train will you stop?”

    Wallis suggested that Americans today are tolerating too much violence, racism, mass incarceration of men of color and “spiritual degradation.”

    “Violence is the result of our forgetting about the common good,” he said. “They don’t see that in Washington,” referring to Congress and other government officials. He added the common good is loving our neighbors as ourselves.

    “Change comes when a new generation decides we’re not going to tolerate this anymore,” he said.

    Born in Detroit, Wallis graduated from Michigan State University and attended Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Illinois. He was active in Students for a Democratic Society. He supported President Obama’s health-care legislation and wrote a column after the George Zimmerman acquittal that said if Trayvon Martin had been Wallis’ white son, he would have come home alive. He mentioned that at the speech.

    Wallis has proposed such change would be assisted when churches desegregate – “intrinsically a multiracial community of faith.”

    “Most white parents – or white churches – have no idea” how black parents have to train their sons to be safe, Wallis said.

     (Cameron Tyler contributed to this report.)

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    Change society through justice, speaker urges