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Uploaded on May 1, 2008
Rev. Lucius Walker, Jr. is the executive director of the Interreligious Foundation for Community Organization (IFCO). He also served as Associate General Secretary of the National Council of Churches of Christ from 1973 through 1978. In January 1979, he returned to IFCO, which has the distinction of being the only national ecumenical foundation committed exclusively to the support of community organizing.
Through IFCO, Rev. Walker has used his leadership and organizational skills to provide a national vehicle to serve and empower those who suffer the pain of civil rights and human rights violations. Under Rev. Walker's leadership, IFCO has played a major role in supporting the fight against colonialism and apartheid in the nations of Africa, self-determination for Puerto Rico, and aid and justice for Central America.
In the United States, IFCO has been involved in programs to assist the poor and people of color in the fields of education, employment, economic development, housing development, health care, voter registration and education, grand jury abuse, sterilization abuse, farmworker rights, and Native American rights.
IFCO has been a prophetic voice in some of the most crucial justice issues of the past 36 years. IFCO played a key role in initiating church support for Haitian refugees during the 1970s. IFCO founded the Ecumenical Minority Bail Bond Fund to provide support for political prisoners of color and initiated the National Anti-Klan Network (now known as the Center for Democratic Renewal).
In 1984, Rev. Walker was called to be the founding pastor of a Baptist Church in Brooklyn, NY which is dedicated to preaching the social gospel and ministering to the spiritual and social needs of the community.
In 1988, Rev. Walker was shot and wounded in a terrorist attack on innocent civilians by Nicaraguan contras as he led an IFCO study delegation to Nicaragua's Atlantic Coast region. In response to the attack, Rev. Walker conceived the project Pastors for Peace, which organizes humanitarian aid caravans as a way to assist the victims of US foreign policy. IFCO/Pastors for Peace has delivered caravans of aid to Nicaragua, El Salvador, Guatemala, Chiapas, and Cuba.
The Cuba caravans, known as Friendshipments, have served as a powerful challenge to the immorality and illegality of the U.S. government's economic blockade and travel ban of Cuba. The IFCO/ Pastors for Peace caravans have delivered over 2,000 tons of aid to Cuba.
In January, 1996, Rev. Walker was arrested by the U.S. authorities because he dared to take computers to hospitals in Cuba. When the computers were seized, Rev. Walker and four others engaged in a "Fast for Life" until the computers were released. The fast lasted 94 days and resulted in the release of the computers which were delivered to Cuba in September of that same year.
Walker is the recipient of numerous honorary degrees and peace awards including the Gandhi Peace Award and the Thomas Merton Award.