Sharpton to speak in Fort Wayne

Reverend Al Sharpton speaks at the Vote 2 End HIV concert at The Fox Theater on Thursday, Aug. 6, 2015 in Atlanta. AIDS Healthcare Foundation and AID Atlanta held a pre-party event for VIPs, a red carpet and performances by Common and Patti LaBelle, with a keynote address by Reverend Al Sharpton at the historic Fox Theatre. (Dan Harr/AP Images for AIDS Healthcare Foundation)

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) The Rev. Al Sharpton, the controversial civil rights activist and talk show host, will visit Fort Wayne next month, according to 24-Hour News 8 sister station WANE.

Sharpton will speak at the Come As You Are Church at 7910 S. Anthony Blvd. on Sept. 6. Pastor Carlton Lynch is behind Reverend Al Sharpton’s upcoming visit to Fort Wayne. Lynch said he ran into the Reverend when he was visiting Ferguson, Baltimore and most recently Charleston, South Carolina. Now, after some planning Lynch was able to schedule a visit for next month.

“My hope is, even talking to Reverend when he touches down, to let him know what’s going on in my community to see if he can address those things,” Lynch said.

This week news reports have said Sharpton planned to push traditionally black churches around the county to lobby in favor of the Iran nuclear deal. On top of talking about national issues, Lynch said he hopes the Reverend can shed some light on local problems too.

“There’s a lot of inner city violence that’s happening that while we deal with, you know, national injustices we still got to deal with local problems as well,” Lynch said.

Fort Wayne Urban League President Jonathan Ray said it’s an important time for the city.

“Whether you love him or you hate him, his voice resonates and it brings up issues that need to be talked about in this country,” Ray said.

Sharpton, 60, is the president of the National Action Network, a nonprofit civil rights organization, and host of “PoliticsNation” on MSNBC. A former Democratic candidate for president, the Baptist minister is a White House adviser and often appears at the center of civil rights protests nationwide.

Lynch said he thinks the visit will be a peaceful one and an important one.

“The purpose is how can we get more black men to stay alive whether it’s black on black or police brutality and I think that he has the ability to communicate that to our community,” Lynch said.

The event is free and open to the public. Doors will open at the church at 5 p.m. Sept. 6

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