10am-I Want To See-Rev. Kenneth King
Plymouth UCC Inspirational Teachings - The teaching message at Plymouth Congregational United Church of Christ in Washington, DC.
Reverend Graylan Hagler has a great love for Washington, DC; its people and culture. He believes that we must continue to organize for justice.
C/o Plymouth UCC, 5301 N. Capitol St. NE
Washington D.C., DC
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I am currently the Senior Minister of Plymouth Congregational United Church of Christ where I have served since 1992. I have served as National President of Ministers for Racial, Social and Economic Justice of the United Church of Christ. I have also served on the national board of Witness for Peace and on the administrative board of United For Peace and Justice. I helped to found the Neighborhood Assistance Corporation (NACA) that is the largest non-profit mortgage and neighborhood stabilization organization in the nation. Hundreds of thousands of families have been able to purchase a home and have been saved from foreclosure by this organization. My work in Washington, DC is characterized by fighting to rid the city of payday lenders, keeping congress from imposing the death penalty on the city, working to keep school vouchers out of our city, raising the minimum wage, and seeking to make our neighborhoods a safe place to live. I stood up against the EXXON Corporation after they acquired property at North Capitol and Riggs Road, NE. EXXON wanted to build a super gas station but the community rallied seeking to build housing. After ten years we were successful in acquiring the property and built subsidized senior housing on the land. Today North Capitol at Plymouth offers a home to sixty-nine residents at affordable rents. The property has a waiting list however that could fill the building five times over which illustrates the need for more affordable housing and opportunities of this kind. I will fight for more affordable housing and employ strategies to keep residents in the city. I was born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland and attended public schools in Baltimore. In 1968 the riots broke out and many corner store owners fled the city. Through great efforts my parents put together money to buy the store where "the book" was kept on us. "The Book" was a form of grass-roots credit that was extended to working people by many corner stores. Buying the store meant that I worked 12 hour days on the weekends and during school breaks. This is where I learned to work hard and developed a deep appreciation for education because school breaks and vacations meant that I would work in the store for 12-13 hours until school resumed. School was my break! Therefore after high school I studied for one semester at Hampton Institute (University) and from there went to Oberlin College, Oberlin, Ohio. I was a religion major in college and graduated in 1976. After Oberlin I attended The Chicago Theological Seminary and earned my Masters of Divinity degree. I have pastored in Chicago, Boston, and now Washington, DC. My ministry has always been a ministry of justice, community organizing, focusing on government to do the right thing for people, demanding honesty and integrity from elected leadership, and fighting and working for the least in our society. I need your help to bring to a halt the "pay to play" culture that continues to grip the Wilson Building. It was during my organizing and work around ridding the city of payday lender and the Large Retailer Accountability Act that I witnessed that lobbyists had greater access to elected officials than the people who elected them. I want to work to restore citizen access, to help create a city of opportunity and justice, where all are welcomed and NONE are neglected. Will you join with me in fighting for what is right? Together we can make the difference. Together we can bring about the change we need and want to see.