What is Praying with James Baldwin?

This project offers 30 days of prayers for an age of #BlackLivesMatter. It looks to author and artist James Baldwin as a guide. Over 30 days we pray with the "Last Words" of those who have been killed by racism and police violence, and we pray for the courage to take "First Steps" to change the world around us. You can download a free PDF of the full project or check daily for prayers beginning August 2, 2017.

Why James Baldwin?

After the killing of teenager Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Florida in 2012, author Jesmyn Ward wrote, "In desperation, I sought James Baldwin." We, too, despair, and we, too, look to Baldwin as we lift our prayers to God. We turn to Baldwin as a witness, so that we might hear his words of truth on issues of race and violence. We turn to Baldwin as a prophet, so that we might see his vision of hope for our collective future. We turn to Baldwin as a teacher, so that he might teach us to pray when the words feel so difficult to find. We turn to his books, interviews, and stories to ask how we might pray in this time of #BlackLivesMatter.

Is this project officially connected to the Black Lives Matter organization?

No. We support them, but we have no official connection. In this project, we aim to use the phrase Black Lives Matter and the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter in the way that the founders intended: In the words of Alicia Garza, “When we say Black Lives Matter, we are talking about the ways in which Black people are deprived of our basic human rights and dignity.”  Read more about the founding of the Black Lives Matter movement here. Read more about the authors of Praying with James Baldwin project here