MONTCLAIR, NJ - Dozens of residents gathered at Union Baptist Church Wednesday to partake in a discussion about the Black Lives Matter Movement, entitled 'Toward an Understanding of Black Lives Matter.'

Rev. Dr. C. Vernon Mason, a former lawyer and civil rights advocate, was in attendance to deliver a message at Union Baptist Church of Montclair. Best known for his involvement in several high-profile cases, he no longer practices law, but is now an ordained minister.

Mason spoke as part of the Interfaith and Ecumenical Series of Sacred Studies: Race, Justice, Liberation, where each session opens with prayer and Bible study, then a discussion on the chosen topic. Mason touched upon the U.S. election of President Trump, the civil rights movement, and made the connection to the black lives matter movement, ending with a spirited discussion about hope for the future.

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Mason said that, while there were many challenges with the current administration, that he was pleased to see the unity among so many in the nation, as he spoke of the Women's March on Washington on January 21. He added he was the oldest in the room and had lived through many marches, but none like that one. He added that the internet played a big role in the women's march extending to all 50 states across the U.S., "I have never seen a march that size in my life. No one has." He stated that the unity among people is a blessing in the midst of the current challenges.

Toward the end of the lecture, he opened the floor for questions and took the time to encourage those in the room to keep hope, faith and to stay active.

The next session in this series will take place on March 1 with Farriduddin "Farid" Frederick Johnson, who will discuss violence in sacred texts and society. Prayer meeting begins at 7:00p.m. and sacred study begins at 7:30p.m.