Louisiana Annual Conference Supports Second Black Congressional District

Mark Lambert
June 16, 2023

For the second consecutive year, delegates to the Louisiana Annual Conference urged the Louisiana Legislature to create a new Congressional map with an additional majority-black district to represent the state’s population more equitably. 

The petition for the second minority district was presented to the conference by Rev. Tiffanie Postell, senior past of Hartzell Mt. Zion United Methodist Church in Slidell and chair of the Beloved Community Coalition, previously named the Anti-Racism Task Force. Rev. Postell introduced the petition as part of the committee’s report to the conference. 

Last year, the Louisiana Annual Conference petitioned the Legislature to make two of the state’s six Congressional districts majority black. The Legislature refused to do so, despite the latest U.S. Census data showing that African-Americans are 33% of the state’s population. 

On June 8, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Alabama had diluted black voting strength by not adding an additional majority-black Congressional District. Legal observers believe that court decision could force the Louisiana Legislature to redraw its Congressional map to make two majority-black districts. 

“That ruling gives our legislators a second chance to do the right thing,” Postell said in asking the delegates to consider the petition. “And it gives us a second chance to let them hear our voices.” 

Because the Supreme Court ruling came after the deadline to submit petitions for annual Conference consideration, delegates first had to suspend conference rules before voting for or against the petition. Both votes passed easily. 

The committee, which was formed in 2020, aims to encourage United Methodists “to grow in knowledge and understanding of race, racial history, increased equality, education, and advocacy,” Rev. Postell said. “We are committed to an ongoing conversation that challenges our conference and its people as we move toward greater discernment of disparities within our system and the world around us and take steps toward equality and justice for all.” 

In other matters, Rev. Postell reported that the Beloved Community Coalition hosted an online study of Rev. Jonathan C. Augustine’s book, “Reconciliation: How the Church Can Model Justice, Diversity, and Inclusion.” 

“We are thrilled to report that eighty-three clergy and laity from across our Conference, and even beyond our Conference, joined in four weeks of open, honest, challenging, and at times vulnerable conversations,” Rev. Postell said. 

Five committee members made a pilgrimage to Whitney Plantation in Wallace, Louisiana, to learn about “the story of slavery from the perspective of the enslaved,” she said. Whitney, which bills itself as the only plantation that focuses on the story of the slaves who worked there, “is an eye-opening experience for all who visit this historic and tear-stained site.” 

The committee also is planning a trip with representatives of the Great Plains Conference in July to Montgomery, Alabama for “a civil rights justice encounter,” Rev. Postell said. Montgomery is home to several significant civil rights sites, including Dr. Martin Luther King’s church and the Civil Rights Memorial Center. 

Committee members also plan to take the Intercultural Development Inventory, an assessment of “intercultural competence, that is, the capability to shift cultural perspectives and appropriately adapt behavior to cultural differences and commonalities,” she said. Rev. Stacey Cole-Wilson, an elder and executive minister in the Baltimore-Washington Conference, will lead the committee members through their assessment results. 

Rev. Postell also asked the delegates to sign the Beloved Community Covenant “to pledge your commitment to creating a culture of beloved community and do the work.” 

Sign the Covenant


Other committee members include Collen Bookter, John Cannon, Emily Carroll, Don Cottrill, Janet Davis, Jay Hogewood, Sonya Lars, Lenda Faye Matthews, Mollie McGee, Mary Rachel Moore, JC Richardson, Jennifer Rossnagel, Jennifer Swann, Brady Whitton, Donnie Wilkinson, and Lane Cotton Winn. 


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