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Photo courtesy of Steven D. Martin

FAITH ON THE FRONTLINES, a CBS Interfaith Special, looks at the interfaith clergy movement that has vowed to take on white supremacy. This special broadcast will air Sunday, Dec. 3 (check local listings) on the CBS Television Network.

As the Charlottesville, Va. city council discussed plans to remove confederate statues from local parks, tension within the community was mounting. In May and July, two separate demonstrations by white nationalists and Ku Klux Klan members inspired counter-protests by local activists, including clergy. This summer, as word got out about the size and scope of an upcoming white supremacist Unite the Right rally, local faith leaders quickly mobilized and formed Congregate Charlottesville. In addition to non-violent direct action training, the group invited national faith leaders and lay people from around the country to join them in their counter-protest against white supremacy. On August 12, the Unite the Right rally ended in the death of a 32-year-old woman and two police officers.

Among those interviewed in FAITH ON THE FRONTLINES about the events leading up to that day and the aftermath is Brittany Caine-Conley, lead organizer of Congregate Charlottesville. She is a member in Discernment with Sojourners United Church of Christ in Charlottesville. Other local Charlottesville faith leaders include: Rev. Brenda Brown-Grooms, co-pastor of New Beginnings Christian Community; Rev. Phil Woodson, associate pastor of First United Methodist Church; Rabbi Rachel Schmelkin of Congregation Beth Israel; and Don Gathers, a deacon at the First Baptist Church.

In the wake of Charlottesville, Rev. Robert W. Lee made national headlines after speaking out against white supremacy at the MTV Video Music Awards. Rev. Lee, the fourth great nephew of Confederate General Robert E. Lee, was recently ordained in the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship after graduating from Duke University Divinity School with a Master’s in theological studies. Today he continues his work as a public theologian and anti-racism activist. He calls for all clergy to speak out against white supremacy from the pulpit and in the public square.

John P. Blessington is senior executive producer and Liz Kineke is producer. In creating the topics and content for this series, they sought input from religious scholars, clergy and others including Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, Islamic, Sikh and various interfaith organizations.

Following the Dec. 3 air date, this program may be viewed again at “Like” us on, and follow us on Twitter @CBSReligion.

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Press Contact:

Phoebe Gittelson