Faithfully Magazine Newsletter, Tuesday, January 22, 2019
The story involving group of predominantly White male teens from Kentucky’s Covington Catholic High School in confrontation with Omaha elder Nathan Phillips has taken quite a few turns since videos emerged over the weekend of what appeared to be a case of harassment and “racial insensitivity.”
The BBC News seems to have the main details intact:
At least three groups appear to have been involved in Friday’s incident.
Students from Kentucky’s Covington Catholic High School, who had finished taking part in March for Life, an anti-abortion rally, had gathered at the Lincoln Memorial. The group of teenagers was predominantly white, and many wore Make America Great Again caps.
Mr Phillips – a Vietnam War veteran – and many other Native American activists were also at the memorial, having taken part in the Indigenous Peoples March.
Meanwhile, a group of black men, who called themselves Hebrew Israelites, were at the scene. Video footage shows them shouting insults at many people, including Native Americans, as well as the schoolboys.
As the group shouted at the students, some of the teenagers began chanting, and one of them took his top off.
Mr Phillips then approached the students, singing and beating a drum, in what he said was a prayer to defuse tensions.
He was surrounded by the students, some of whom began chanting and singing as well.
The main student seen on camera directly facing Mr. Phillips, Nick Sandmann (shown above), has defended himself against accusers via a statement from a PR company, which you can read here.
In addition to this interview with Phillips, described as a “Native American advocate” and former Marine, I’d like to direct your attention to three separate commentaries on Twitter regarding the incident that may help round out your perspective and perhaps fill in some gaps…or raise further questions:
1. Father James Martin‘s expression of regret for having pounced on the controversy so quickly and condemning the students’ actions: https://twitter.com/JamesMartinSJ/status/1087420533786980354
Dear friends: I regret wading into the #Covingtoncontroversy this weekend. For it seems that we may never know what was going on inside the hearts of the students. So I would like to apologize to them for my judgment of them. 1/
— James Martin, SJ (@JamesMartinSJ) January 21, 2019
2. Lisa Sharon Harper‘s take as an attendee of the Indigenous People’s March and after watching “videos all day” of the incident–in which she mentions how “aggressive taunting” by a Black Hebrew sect was involved: https://twitter.com/lisasharper/status/1087174914673655809
I've been watching videos all day. I have one thing to say (in a bunch of tweets, so hold on): The videos BACK UP/STRENGTHEN Mr. Nathan Phillips' account of what happened toward the conclusion of the #IndigenousPeoplesMarch on Saturday. They also reveal how it all happened. 1/
— Lisa Sharon Harper (she/her) (@lisasharper) January 21, 2019
3. Religion reporter Sam Kestenbaum‘s breakdown of the House of Israel preachers, the “Black Hebrew” sect noted by Harper, seen in the videos: https://twitter.com/skestenbaum/status/1087054168945278977
So, there's a Hebrew Israelite back story to this now-viral video of the high schoolers and Nathan Phillips in D.C. pic.twitter.com/URUDamLVoV
— Sam Kestenbaum (@skestenbaum) January 20, 2019
It’s a messy situation that likely won’t be resolved anytime soon. … And I wouldn’t be surprised if the lone Black student from that Covington Catholic High School group is feeling pressure from various directions right about now.
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