Pastor Gee: A rabble rousing mediator
By Mario Koran | Wed, 12/05/2012 - 7:56am
Pastor Alexander Gee says he's happy to be a community point-person, but he'll never agree to be the voice of black Madison.
"I know sometimes the broader community wants a black leader. They want a Martin Luther King Jr. They want one spokesperson," he said. "That voice doesn't exist. There is no one voice, and if there is, I don't want it to be mine. I don't want to make people that comfortable."
But whether he accepts the label is secondary to that fact that when he calls for social equity, his congregation and community-members listen.
Gee is the pastor of Fountain of Life church, on Madison’s south side, and columnist for The Madison Times.
His doctoral work in community organizing led him to a deep interest in fatherlessness, an issue which he said affects the black community disproportionately and contributes to high incarceration rates.
Last year, Gee became involved with the 11 x 15 campaign, a faith-based effort to cut Wisconsin's prison population in half, from roughly 22,000 to 11,000, by the year 2015.
Recently, the effort has gained momentum and inspired hope that Republicans and Democrats can work together to deflate Wisconsin’s prison population.
Gee is skeptical that state- or city-wide programs can ever support struggling members of the black community as well as faith-based, grassroots programs. He said the Department of Corrections, for example, will house individuals for years without addressing an offender's treatment needs.
"If you can't fix the problem in 10, 15, 20 years, step aside and let me do my job," he said.
Gee said he accepts his dual role as an social justice advocate and a man of faith.
The two aren’t mutually exclusive, he added.
“While biblical scripture instructs us to turn the other cheek and forgive each other,” he said, “it was never a license to ignore those hurting in the world around us.”
A version of this story originally appeared on Mario Koran's blog.
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