As lead pastor of the Baltimore-based Empowerment Temple, Dr. Jamal Bryant (pictured) has used his command of the pulpit to keep a pulse on the social and cultural movements of African Americans. And Dr. Bryant’s passion hardly goes unnoticed.
NewsOne was on hand for Monday’s rally for Trayvon Martin in the town of Sanford, where Bryant and his Empowerment Movement galvanized the citizens in a call for justice. We spoke with Dr. Bryant briefly after the conclusion of the event as he scrambled to head back to his headquarters.
NewsOne: What was it about the Trayvon Martin case that made you get involved?
Pastor Jamal Bryant: I think the Trayvon Martin case reflects a local issue, a national issue, because it could have happened to anyone. In a city that’s primarily African American, [with] particularly Black boys that are in danger and threatened, I think it warranted national attention if not international. The pastors here [in Sanford] invited me here to organize and mobilize and I really felt that if in fact they needed me to come, that I needed to do so.
News One: You’ve been involved in a lot of social issues by way of the Empowerment Movement and church? What’s next for you?
JB: The No. 1 thing we’re going for is registering 1 million voters for this fall’s [presidential] election. I announced it tonight at the rally that, that’s our next effort. It’s gonna be a critical election. We’re dealing with bankruptcies, we’re dealing with foreclosures, dealing with health care. Our president has an agenda and he obviously needs some people that can back him up.
News One: Tell us a bit about this past Sunday’s hoodie event at the Empowerment Temple.
JB: The week before “Hoodie Sunday,” I preached in a hoodie before it became a national movement. Pastors heard about it, churches heard about it, and I was like, Alright, let’s do it again, and I began using the power of social networking and hundreds of pastors fell in line.
Before being whisked away by his support team, Pastor Bryant graciously thanked NewsOne for the interview and vowed that his mission will continue.