African American church

Alyssa Kapnik Samuel

Hands are clapping, children are bobbing their heads and most of the elders are wearing their finest hats and polished shoes at the New Revelation Community Church. Reverend Donna Allen leads a sermon.

“And this notion of law enforcement interacting with people with lethal force? Jesus would cry out, ‘I am the Prince of Peace and I tell you, no justice, no peace, no justice!’”

Google photo

At the intersection of 10th Avenue and International Boulevard in Oakland sits the historic, 74-year-old Williams Chapel Baptist Church. It’s in the heart of the San Antonio East Lake district, and its congregation is predominantly African American. Membership used to average around 800 people, but in the last 20 years, membership has gone down to about 500 as the demographics of the neighborhood have undergone massive change.