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Rev. Dr. DeForest B. Soaries, Jr. Announces a 40-City Tour to Combat 'Second Slavery' of African American Debt

National initiative will commence on New Year's Day

Contact: Stephanie Ahenkora, 732-839-2423

SOMERSET, N.J., Dec. 28, 2012 /Christian Newswire/ -- On Jan. 1, Dr. DeForest Soaries, Jr., senior pastor of First Baptist Church of Lincoln Gardens in Somerset, N.J., and author of "dfree: Breaking Free from Financial Slavery" (Zondervan) will launch a 40-city tour across the nation to combat consumer debt, predatory lending and financial illiteracy among African Americans.

This tour coincides with the celebration of the 150th anniversary of the "Emancipation Proclamation" that President Abraham Lincoln signed to free black slaves in 1863. Soaries' crusade will promote dfree® -- his church-based strategy to emancipate blacks from the second slavery -- debt. Furthermore, he is challenging black America to pay down $1 billion of personal and family debt. The public can get more information at www.billiondollarpaydown.com.

"African Americans have been struggling to achieve economic parity since 1863. However, our focus has become too dependent upon benevolence and external benefits; we have ignored many of the pitfalls that we can avoid like excessive, high interest borrowing and wasteful spending." Soaries said. "It is time for us to free ourselves from the financial behavior that undermines our financial potential."

Soaries' 40-city speaking tour will begin on Jan. 1 at a citywide Emancipation Day service in Durham, N.C., and will include Atlanta, Los Angeles, Cleveland, Baltimore, Boston and other major cities. In most cities, he will be hosted by black churches that will take part in a curriculum to use with church members uniquely designed by Soaries: "dfree Lifestyle: 12 Steps to Financial Freedom." (UMI)

"The tour will also include protests at payday loan stores that offer short term, high interest loans that are the 'crack cocaine of the financial services industry' and the 'poster child' of predatory lending," Soaries added.

"Without the activism of black churches slavery would have never been abolished, civil rights would have never been won and a black president would have never been elected. If black churches do not lead a movement for financial literacy and responsibility, we will never be economically free," affirmed the senior pastor.

During the tour, Soaries will also introduce churches to a free web-based tool that allows people to set debt reduction goals and track their progress. Churches will be enlisted to sign up their members for the Billion Dollar Challenge and join forces to motivate their members to get out of debt.

Soaries began this campaign at his own congregation in 2005, and many families have now reduced their debt, increased their savings and are enjoying financial security even during these tough economic times.

For tour information, contact Keri Spencer at 732-839-2432.
For more information about dfree®, visit: www.mydfree.org.

About dfree®
Established in 2005, dfree® has become a national movement focused on reducing African America consumer debt by one billion dollars. With a grassroots approach that mobilizes people to use existing resources for managing and using money, the dfree® strategy is delivered through education, celebration, and support.

About First Baptist Church of Lincoln Gardens:
Founded in 1937, First Baptist of Lincoln Gardens is a vibrant community-focused, multi-cultural and historical African-American church rooted in Baptist doctrine and is located in the Somerset section of Franklin Township, NJ. The church's motto is "Faith in Action." First Baptist bears witness to the gospel of Jesus Christ for spiritual, educational, economic and community transformation. In October 2010 CNN featured First Baptist in the two-hour documentary "Almighty Debt." For more information on the church and its ministries, visit
www.fbcsomerset.com.