Rolling Out

Rev. Horace Sheffield III embraces the friction of movement

CEO of Detroit Association of Black Organizations turns his attention to activism in the next generation

Rev. Horace L. Sheffield III was born in Detroit during the Civil Rights and Labor Movement. The legacy of his father, Horace L. Sheffield Jr., who was the president of the Negro American Labor Council (NALC), helped shape and expose him to a great model of servant leadership and prophetic societal challenge. With this foundation, social activism has driven many of his efforts to help move change in the Black community.

Rev. Sheffield is the CEO of The Detroit Association of Black Organizations (DABO), where he leads and builds the Detroit community by developing the skills, abilities, and resources that organizations and communities need to be sustainable in this fast-changing world. The organization’s primary purpose is to impact and enrich lives across Detroit. Under Rev. Sheffield, DABO has had many successful initiatives, including COVID-19 testing and vaccinations, blood pressure management, hosting leadership training, HIV prevention, community development, and much more.

Rev. Sheffield is currently the president of the Michigan chapter of the National Action Network (NAN), national chairperson of the Restore Black Wall Street 2021 campaign, chairperson of the Detroit Ecumenical Ministers Alliance, lifetime member of the NAACP, and national board member of the Black Leadership Commission on AIDS and the National CARES Mentoring Movement.

In the midst of his busy schedule, Rev. Sheffield stopped to chat with rolling out publisher and CEO Munson Steed.

[Editor’s note: This is an extended transcription. Some errors may occur.]

Munson Steed: Hey, everybody! This is Munson Steed, and welcome to A Seat at the Table, where we bring you the most powerful individuals making a difference in our community so that we can claim our space inside our community, demand respect where it needs to be heard and meet those change agents who are dedicated to making a difference in our community. I want you to meet the one, the only, out of the “D.” What up, dawg, Reverend Sheffield, how are you today?

Sheffield and the battle against menthol cigarettes

MS: What should we know about the lies that have been told about tobacco, and in particular menthol, as it relates to menthol and banning menthol and flavored vaping in our community?

Sheffield reaches out to younger generations

RHS: Well, I think primarily I am what I am, because my dad took me everywhere. I sat in on planning meetings for the March on Washington, I sold buttons at 9 years of age at the March on Washington, and seeing what can happen when people get together, pull their resources, create a common agenda, you know, empowered me to know that, you know things are possible if people just stand up and you know, persist and [keep] pushing back or doing something about it.
But to make certain we can rest well, we need to have more young people who have our expertise who combine knowledge with action and power. And because we’re gonna be headed in the era in this country, man. It’s been unlike anything we’ve seen if you hear the rhetoric by the people on the right. You know, people who would never vote who said they’d never be in politics ought to wake up and realize the less we fight, we’re going to die.
We have a generation now that wants to leave themselves of friction. That’s what makes character, that’s what builds momentum, that’s what empowers you when you overcome things. Don’t be afraid of friction, because the only time you experience friction is if you’re moving.
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