Martin Luther King spirit seen in honor by jgd21090

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									Martin Luther King spirit seen in honor

Posted by Marjorie Kauth-Karjala | The Ann Arbor News January
14, 2008 14:01PM

Categories: Breaking News

This Sunday, Barney's lifelong social advocacy will be acknowledged with The
Award for Servant Leadership in Building a Beloved and Just Community,
presented by the Church of the Good Shepherd, United Church of Christ in Ann
Arbor.


By MARJORIE KAUTH-KARJALA
The Ann Arbor News

As Jane L. Barney, 93, prepares to receive recognition this weekend for her lifetime of work
for the poor and voiceless, she acknowledges the evolution that was necessary for those
Americans - including her family - who lived through the civil rights era of the 1950s and '60s.

The work of Jane L. Barney, 93, will be
acknowledged with an award from the Church
of the Good Shepherd, United Church of
Christ in Ann Arbor.

By growing up as a member of the white
majority, she says bluntly: "We were racists.
It's almost impossible, if you're growing up in
that culture, not to be a racist."

Even the religious community to which she
and her late husband, an Episcopal minister,
belonged, was not immune.

Parishfield, in Livingston County, was a
community of Episcopal ministers, who with
their families lived closely to one other,
sharing meals and conversation while
focusing on the mission of teaching lay people
to take on some ministerial roles.

The knowledge that the ministers were not
immune to racism came in the form of a young
black man, now a professor, who visited
the community. He didn't make
accusations. He just listened and made
observations during discussions among
the ministers, and the truth inevitably
came out, Barney said.
"We had to admit we were racists. We
had to deal with it," Barney said.

Barney had come to Michigan with her
husband, Roger, and four children in the
late 1950s, living in Detroit, Parishfield
and Ann Arbor. Her husband was a minister at St. Andrew's
Episcopal Church in Ann Arbor for a short time before his                 Jane L. Barney
death in the late 1960s.
                                                               Honor: The Award for Servant
                                                               Leadership in Building a Beloved
After her husband died, Barney earned a master's in social     and Just Community will be
work from the University of Michigan and began researching     presented to Jane Barney for a
the care given at nursing homes, which were just starting to   lifetime of social advocacy by the
spring up. During the research, Barney learned that the        Church of the Good Shepherd,
                                                               United Church of Christ in Ann
most important people to educate on proper care at nursing
                                                               Arbor. The annual award, given in
homes were the nurses' aides, who dealt most directly with     memory of Martin Luther King Jr.
the elderly.                                                   and timed to the national holiday in
                                                               his honor, will be presented
Later, in the 1980s, she helped form the Turner African        Sundayjan20 at the 10:15 a.m.
                                                               service at the Church of the Good
American Services Council, which was dedicated to helping
                                                               Shepherd, 2145 Independence Blvd.
black people get medical services.                             For information, call 734-971-6133.

Although white, she was invited to join the group, which had   Age: 93.
discussions about the relationship between African
Americans and the University of Michigan health system.
                                                               Family: Widowed, three grown sons
                                                               and a daughter.
"We had people who really blew their tops (about treatment
of blacks.) We had open, frank discussions," Barney said.      Education: Master's in social work
                                                               from the University of Michigan,
This Sunday, Barney's lifelong social advocacy will be         master's in divinity from Union
                                                               Theological Seminary in New York,
acknowledged with The Award for Servant Leadership in
                                                               bachelor's from Wellesley College.
Building a Beloved and Just Community, presented by the
Church of the Good Shepherd, United Church of Christ in
Ann Arbor. The annual award is given in memory of Martin       Avocation: Lifelong social activist.
Luther King Jr. and timed to the national holiday in his
honor.                                                         Philosophy of life: "I'm a longtime
                                                               faithful Episcopalian and that's
                                                               where my philosophy abides."
Those who have worked with Barney say she has a knack
for generating good problem-solving discussions.
                                                               Hobbies: Reading, visiting with
                                                               friends, cooking.
Jean Carlberg, a former Ann Arbor City Council member,
said she's know Barney for about 20 years. When Barney         Favorite reads: "Whodunits mostly.
and others became passionate about affordable housing          I try to read a few edifying things."
and homelessness issues, Barney urged people to find           Currently reading "Love Over
solutions, Carlberg recalls.                                   Scotland," by Alexander McCall
                                                               Smith.
"She'd say, 'Come to my house at 4 o'clock. We're going to
hash this out,' " Carlberg said.                               Favorite restaurant: The Gandy
                                                               Dancer, especially the encrusted
                                                               shrimp.
Barney was part of helping establish Avalon Housing, a
supportive housing program based in Ann Arbor.

Other endeavors included helping establish New Hope
Outreach Clinic for geriatric care. Barney worked with
members of the New Hope Baptist Church to establish
the clinic, which is affiliated with the University of
Michigan Health Systems.
Carlberg also remembers Barney's zeal in campaigning
for the Democratic Party. The two were precinct chairs of
their respective city wards and worked on organizing
leaflet drops and door-to-door canvassing.

Today, although Barney still has a firm handshake and a
quick mind, her health problems mean she likely won't be
going door to door campaigning for the Democratic Party.

But she still has an avid interest in the political process,
with a sign supporting presidential candidate Barack
Obama posted on the living room window of her Old West
Side home in Ann Arbor.

Her interest in solving problems and finding solutions
comes out when she says that she is willing to
compromise on his youth and experience level. "I think
his message is the most optimistic and he has the best
chance of bringing all the people together," she says.

Contact Marjorie Kauth-Karjala at 734-482-2961 or at
mkarjala@annarbornews.com.

								
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