Tag Archives: Juneteenth

What Would Jesus Say?

It is safe to say that most people believe Jesus is coming back and/or think he is the savior of mankind. Whether you are a believer or not, as a result of the conditions of man might be the reason he has not returned. I’ll tell you that if I were him and see the sad state of affairs man has created, I would seek out a Noah and start all over again!

When I look at the senseless murders due to wars, be it in the streets or against nations or this divided nation whose views on feeding the homeless, the lack of healthcare, poverty, the murders and other acts against religious thinking proves civilization is in despair. Hippocrates use as justification their support of such evil by adding scripture in God’s name. My sense they believe their view is the natural order of things or maybe God’s plan for life. I cannot and will not speak for God, but I do not believe this is what God planned.

When it comes to the wretchedness of government and its leaders, it shameful to see the actions and hateful diatribes about race, the least of thee, and religion. As you know, all of these issues are commonly used by the right-wing nuts to vilify the poor. Admittedly, and shamefully, race is and has always been a stain on the soul of America. As I began to ponder just what kind of country we would have without a government that mandates laws for civilization to exist. What would Jesus or you higher power think!

More disturbing is that religion, God, and Jesus have become little more than instruments of the wicked. For example, on any given Sundays between the hours of 9 AM – 1 PM is the most-segregated hours in the country. I can’t speak to what is in the mind of others except for what they say, and some of the vitriol gives a good indication as to what’s in their hearts. I, in good conscience, rail against the racially charged political environment, and for sure the teabaggers designed declaration of “taking back their country.”

Finally, on the issue of justice and racial justice in particular; maybe understanding that Jesus came from that region of the world where his hue had to be of color could more likely be one of the reasons why he had to be crucified! Just as was the case with the murder of Jesus; there are people who are killing the messenger of truth now.

What I think Jesus would say, as his mission was for the salvation of the least of thee, I think he would say – “Thou shalt not Kill.” And that’s my Thought Provoking Perspective.


Stand Your Ground Against Injustice

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History has proven there is only one way to get the attention of unmovable ideologies to achieve change. Matching and protests are strategies, which is nothing more than a good show for the cameras. For example, the March on Washington and the Million Man March produced little in terms of measurable results. On the other hand, BOYCOTT’s work – the Birmingham Bus Boycott and the Martin Luther King Holiday Boycott on the state of Arizona – WORKED! It is time to stop BS-ing and BOYCOTT INJUSTICE and the system that supports connected to it. We will then get change. And that’s my thought provoking perspective…


Remembering Juneteeth

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We must never forget Juneteenth, the oldest known celebration commemorating the ending of slavery in the United States. Dating back to 1865, it was on June 19th that the Union soldiers, led by Major General Gordon Granger, landed at Galveston, Texas with news that the war had ended and that those enslaved were now free. Note that this was two and a half years after President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation – which had become official January 1, 1863.

The Emancipation Proclamation had little impact on the Texans due to the minimal number of Union troops to enforce the new Executive Order. However, with the surrender of General Lee in April of 1865, and the arrival of General Granger’s regiment, the forces were finally strong enough to influence and overcome the resistance. Many attempts to explain the two and a half year delay in the receipt of this important news have yielded several versions that have been handed down through the years.

The story often told is of a messenger who was murdered on his way to Texas with the news of freedom. Another story is that the news was deliberately withheld by the enslavers to maintain the labor force on the plantations. Then there is yet another story that federal troops actually waited for the slave owners to reap the benefits of one last cotton harvest before going to Texas to enforce the Emancipation Proclamation. All of which, or neither of these version, could be true. Certainly, for some, President Lincoln’s authority over the rebellious states was in question. Regardless, the conditions in Texas remained status quo well beyond what was statutory.

One of General Granger’s first orders of business was to read to the people of Texas, General Order Number 3 which began most significantly with:

“The people of Texas are informed that in accordance with a Proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and free laborer.”

The reactions to this profound news ranged from pure shock to immediate jubilation. While many lingered to learn of this new employer to employee relationship, many left before these offers were completely off the lips of their former ‘masters’ – attesting to the varying conditions on the plantations and the realization of freedom. Even with nowhere to go, many felt that leaving the plantation would be their first grasp of freedom.

North was a logical destination and for many it represented true freedom, while the desire to reach family members in neighboring states drove the some into Louisiana, Arkansas and Oklahoma. Settling into these new areas as free men and women brought on new realities and the challenges of establishing a heretofore non-existent status for black people in America. Recounting the memories of that great day in June of 1865 and its festivities would serve as motivation as well as a release from the growing pressures encountered in their new territory. The celebration of June 19th was coined “Juneteenth” and grew with more participation from descendants.

The Juneteenth celebration was a time for reassuring each other, for praying and for gathering remaining family members. Juneteenth continued to be highly revered in Texas decades later, with many former slaves and descendants making an annual pilgrimage back to Galveston on this date. A range of activities were provided to entertain the masses, many of which continue in the tradition today. Juneteenth almost always focused on education and self improvement. Thus, often guest speakers are brought in, and the elders are called upon to recount the events of the past. Prayer services were also a major part of these celebrations.

The Civil Rights movement of the 50’s and 60’s yielded both positive and negative results for the Juneteenth celebrations. While it pulled many of the African American youth away and into the struggle for racial equality, many linked these struggles to the historical struggles of their ancestors. This was evidenced by student demonstrators involved in the Atlanta civil rights campaign in the early 1960’s, who wore Juneteenth freedom buttons. Again in 1968, Juneteenth received another strong resurgence through Poor Peoples March to Washington D.C. Rev. Ralph Abernathy’s call for people of all races, creeds, economic levels and professions to come to Washington to show support for the poor.

Juneteenth today, celebrates African American freedom and achievement, while encouraging continuous self-development and respect for all cultures. As it takes on a more national, symbolic and even global perspective, the events of 1865 in Texas are not forgotten, for all of the roots tie back to this fertile soil from which a national day of pride is growing.

The future of Juneteenth looks bright as the number of cities and states creating Juneteenth committees continues to increase. Respect and appreciation for all of our differences grow out of exposure and working together. Getting involved and supporting Juneteenth celebrations creates new bonds of friendship and understanding among us. This indeed brightens our future – and that is the Spirit of Juneteenth. So lest not forget!!! And that’s my Thought Provoking Perspective…

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The Right to Self Defense

STATEMENT TO THE PRESS
March 1, 2014

From:           Free Marissa Now Mobilization Campaign
FreeMarissaNow@gmail.com
www.freemarissanow.org

Angela Corey Aims to Increase Marissa Alexander Sentence to 60 Years; Outrageous Targeting of Alexander Impacts All Women. 

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Demonstrating a stunning abuse of power, Florida State Prosecutor, Angela Corey, announced that she aims to increase the prison sentence for Marissa Alexander from 20 to 60 years in the upcoming July 28th trial.  In 2012, Alexander – an African American mother of three in Jacksonville, Florida —  was sentenced to a mandatory minimum of 20 years for firing a warning shot upwards into a wall to defend her life from her abusive estranged husband.  She caused no injuries.  Alexander successfully appealed the unjust trial and was granted a new trial. In November 2013, after serving nearly three years in prison, she was released on bond to home detention until her new trial.

Yet as a consequence of winning the appeal to hopefully secure a more fair trial, Alexander now faces the alarming prospect that the original devastating sentence could be tripled in the new trial.  In the upcoming trial, Corey says she intends to seek three 20 year sentences for Alexander to be served consecutively rather than concurrently, tripling the mandatory minimum to 60 years.

Free Marissa Now member and victim’s advocate, Sumayya Fire, stated, “Remember that this entire case boils down to a woman defending her life from her husband who attacked her, strangled her, threatened to kill her, whose beatings have sent her to the hospital and likely caused her to have premature labor.  A husband who confirmed in a deposition that he beat her, that he was in a rage when he attacked her, and that he has beaten other women with whom he was involved.

Remember that when Marissa Alexander fired her warning shot to save her own life, she caused no injuries.  Now she’s facing the very real possibility of spending the rest of her life in prison for that act of self-defense.  That should send a chill down the back of every person in this country who believes that women who are attacked have the right to defend themselves.  Anyone who believes that domestic violence is unjust should be deeply shaken by Corey’s abusive prosecution of Marissa Alexander and should be advocating for Alexander’s freedom.”

Sumayya Fire and other members of Free Marissa Now believe that Angela Corey has launched a campaign of escalating punishment of Marissa Alexander to shield herself from charges of mishandling trials and failing to secure guilty verdicts for the murders of black teens, Jordan Davis and Trayvon Martin, in addition to various lawsuits targeting her office for misconduct, and criticism for a pattern of maliciously over-charging defendants in order to bully them into plea bargains. ”

Corey is on the defense and appears to be substituting vindictiveness for justice,” said Free Marissa Now member, Helen Gilbert. “If anyone still thought Angela Corey was seeking justice rather than making a political power-play, this latest news must erase all doubt. Corey is using the full power of the system to serve her own political ambitions, at the sake of one woman’s life and every woman’s safety.”

Despite Corey’s scare and smear tactics, the national Free Marissa Now Mobilization Campaign is resolved to fight for Marissa Alexander’s freedom, and for the lives and freedom of all victims of domestic violence.  The campaign calls on the Florida legislature to repeal all mandatory minimum laws, and ensure that judges have discretion over whether sentences can be served consecutively or concurrently.

Jacksonville activist and Free Marissa Now leader Aleta Alston-Toure’ adds, “We also call on all people who want to end domestic violence, who believe in the right to self-defense, and who want to end mass incarceration to support the Marissa Alexander Legal Defense Fund.  Alexander faces $250,000 in legal fees and $2,205 for the ankle monitor she is forced to wear while under house arrest. All these cost are waged against an innocent woman who needs everyone’s help.

A 60 year sentence for Marissa Alexander would not only be devastating for her, her children and family, and her community, it would be a decisive blow to the right to self defense for black women and all women.  Incarcerating Marissa Alexander will send a strong message to all survivors that violence against them will be ignored and they instead will be subject to prosecution if they defend their lives. It is up to us to make sure victims of domestic violence are not forced to choose between saving their lives and spending the rest of their lives in prison. Enough is enough!  Please join Free Marissa Now!”

Contributions to the Marissa Alexander Freedom Fund can be made at http://igg.me/at/freemarissa2. Free Marissa Now can be reached at www.freemarissanow.org, freemarissanow@gmail.com, and on facebooktwitter, and tumblr at “freemarissanow”.

The information in this post was taken from “The Free Marissa Now” webpage in support of the Mobilization Campaign, which is an international grassroots campaign led by a core of organizers representing the African American/Black Women’s Cultural Alliance, New Jim Crow Movement – Jacksonville, Radical Women, INCITE!, and the Pacific Northwest Alliance to Free Marissa Alexander.


LIVING in the IN-BETWEEN TIMES

About The Book

West Book CoverThe man in between the times, Samuel, walks off these pages and into your life. You will discover how God speaks to you, how you can respond, and the significance of decisive commitment to the will of God regardless. From 3,000 years ago Samuel speaks across the ages and cultures in a voice that echoes from yesterday but sounds like today.

About The Author

Dr. Ralph Douglas West serves as founder and senior pastor of The Church Without Walls (Brookhollow Baptist Church, Houston, Texas). He first preached as a sixteen year old in his native Houston. The church began with 32 members and now embraces 24,000+ families meeting in three locations and conducting six services each Sunday. Dr. West is affectionately known as PAS.

Pas in a brown suitFrom the pulpit to the lectern, Dr. West is highly sought for his preaching gift. Pas is a leader beyond his own church and serves on boards, agencies, trusteeships and committees at local, state and national levels.

Dr.  West completed degrees at Bishop College, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and Beeson Divinity School, where he received the Doctor of Ministry Degree.  He serves as Adjunct Professor of Preaching at the George W. Truett Theological Seminary of Baylor University. He has an abiding commitment to the church and the academy, relating with equal ease to both venues and using his influence to mentor ministers in both locations. He speaks perennially at colleges, universities and seminaries across America as well as at Regent’s Park College, Oxford University.

Book Excerpt 

WE HAVE ALL KNOWN SOMEONE WHOSE NAME does not match who they really are. A “Slim” who is anything but. A “Shorty” who is taller than six feet. A “Jim” whose actual name is not “James.” And of course, a “Doc” who has never seen the inside of a college, much less a medical school. Such is the ironic nature of names.

Many biblical names hold up to closer examination. That may be true with our man in the middle, Samuel. Two translations of his Hebrew name carry weight. Some believe his name refers to his experience as a little boy who heard the voice of God (1 Samuel 1:29). For them his name should be translated, “God hears.” Others consider that the Hebrew name bears the very name of God Himself, “Name of God.” Either understanding gives you a clue not only to the name, but also to the nature of the person of God. He carried in his very name the mission of his life. You could not hear his name without thinking of the God he heard and served.

Now, most of us have a common name that does not have theological significance. Yet we can live in such a way that the very thought of us reminds people of the God we serve. Your name may be Tyrone, Ralph, Lateisha, Harry or something else. You too can live in such a way that the very calling of your name reminds people of the Lord you serve. The very thought of your identity could point people to the Living One. What is the first thing that comes into someone’s mind when they think of your identity?

Samuel is the man in the middle because he stands between one kind of charismatic leader called “judge” and the next type of anointed godly servant called “prophet.” Zoom out on the story of God’s people with me and get the big picture. About 4,000 years ago God called a man in what is today Iraq to leave everything he had and walk into the desert with Him. That man was Abram, and his wife was Sarah. Genesis 12 and following tells the story of that man and his family:  Isaac, Jacob and Joseph. When the Book of Exodus opens, the descendants of Abraham (his new name after God breathed on him) are living in slavery under the super power of times, Egypt. God appointed Moses to lead the Hebrews out of slavery, and then He delivered them with signs of His power. Because of their disobedience and doubt, they walked around in circles in the desert for 40 years.

When Moses died, his associate Joshua took over as CEO of Exodus, Inc. and led the people into the land that God promised. Joshua was a warrior as well as governor. The Hebrews conquered much of the land, occupied the Vermont-sized conquest in tribal areas, and started a new life as a loose confederation of twelve tribes.

When you zoom out on holy history, you may be reminded that all of have a history with God. Indeed, some of us have a long family history with Him; generations of our people called on Him. Others of us only have our own history with God, but we do have a history.

Connect with the Author

Email Address: admin@nonfictionbookreport.com 
Website www.ralphdouglaswest.org
Twitter link twitter.com/ralphdwestAmazon

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The Power of Words

I want to add my Thought Provoking Perspective to a Tweet that has gotten everybody in an uproar. Chris Rock posted a Tweet recently that said in essence Independence Day is a “white man’s holiday”. I thought there was such a thing as freedom of speech at least that is what is professed in the Constitution. It reminds me of the saying “the truth hurts” – people – what Chris said was true!

I wrote a blog a few days ago where I talked about the glory of the celebration and the fact that this freedom it represents was only for some and that blacks, women, and everyone but white men were excluded from the concept of freedom. I am sure most of you have heard of this thing called slavery that ended after a half a million people died to end it nearly a hundred years later!

Let me ask that you Google “Juneteenth” and maybe you will get a different perspective of what the African America community knows that has today been forgotten. Then there was this thing called Civil Rights that has not been fully achieved to date. I will go further and say “this is still the last plantation”. As evidence of this might be a comment by the insane Herman Cain it the video I have added.

Maybe, just maybe, we could address the race issue if America and its people would face the reality of the story, His-Story, was true. And that’s my Thought Provoking Perspective…

Legacy – A New Season is available…

It’s been several years since “Just a Season” and it’s time to move on. Generations have come and gone, life is bearable after all, and hope lives in a little boy and in a man who almost lost all hope. “Legacy – A New Season” is the long awaited saga to the epic novel “Just a Season” that will take you on an awe inspiring journey through the African American Diaspora, as told by a loving grandfather to his grandson in the oral African tradition at a time when America changed forever.

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