Durham church has Social Justice Sunday focusing on educational equity, issues affecting community

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Sunday, February 20, 2022
Social Justice Sunday in Durham focused on educational equity
Social Justice Sunday in Durham focused on educational equity

DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) -- Social Justice Sundays are special at St. Joseph AME Church in Durham where the pastor, Dr. Jay Augustine, works to raise awareness of issues that affect the community. He practiced civil rights law in Louisiana before moving to North Carolina, and continues to advocate for diversity across societal lines.

Education access is especially important to Dr. Augustine, and it's one reason he invited civil rights lawyer Dr. Gregory Vincent to speak this Sunday.

"The last time affirmative action was before the United States Supreme Court, when Abigail Fisher brought suit against the University of Texas, Dr. Vincent was the chief diversity officer of the university," said Augustine. "He is one of the masterminds who saved affirmative action in higher education, to assert that diversity is real."

Dr. Vincent's words amplified Dr. Augustine's point of view.

"Black history is American history, and American history is Black history," Vincent said. "Also, that educational equity is the very foundation of our democratic society. You cannot fully participate in our democratic society without a quality education. We have contributed greatly to this country. Both here in Durham, the Triangle, North Carolina and beyond. We're connected to a larger community that we have to honor."

Dr. Vincent's the latest in a series of speakers invited by the St. Joseph AME Church's senior pastor to share experiences and conversations that can affect equity.

"Part of what we're celebrating as part of Black History Month, these four weeks in particular, is part of what I like to call a gumbo. I'm a native of New Orleans, it is one ingredient that goes into the pot. Just like next month we'll be lifting up Women's History Month," said Augustine. "In September and October time frame we'll lift up Hispanic heritage. It is about creating a diverse space where people learn from each other."