• Honoring Dr. King

    When we march, we promote human equality, the principles of nonviolence, and the understanding and acceptance of racial harmony, understanding, respect, and goodwill among citizens, all as a way of building community among all citizens across the United States.
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We've Got to See It Through

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Today, we honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. with an annual national holiday. Dr. King’s holiday is celebrated on the third Monday of January. It is a time that we remember his life; his work and honor his legacy with a day of community service. Around the nation, there are programs, seminars, dialogues, and commemorative marches that take place. Dr. King’s last public words to the world were, “And I’m so happy tonight. I’m not worried about anything. I’m not fearing any man! Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord!”

That was the conclusion of a speech called, “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop,” April 3, 1968, at the Mason Temple Church of God in Christ, Memphis, Tenn. Dr. King was there to help in the Memphis Sanitation Workers Strike. However, what resonates most with me is when he said, “We’ve got to give ourselves to this struggle until the end. Nothing would be more tragic than to stop at this point in Memphis. We’ve got to see it through.” And that’s the topic of this editorial, “we’ve got to see it through.” Our struggle for freedom, justice, and equal opportunity is not over. We can’t stop now.

True peace is not merely the absence of tension: it is the presence of justice.

Let the Trumpet Sound: A Life of Martin Luther King, Jr 

Solutions for Economic and Community Empowerment

I attended the U.S. Black Chambers, Inc., School of Chamber and Business Management in Washington, D.C. Hundreds of us from around the nation participated in four days of educational and networking opportunities, a variety of vibrant speeches, workshops, and training sessions. We also attended a technology discussion at Google, a business forum at the Department of Commerce, and business leader briefings at the White House. While at the Department of Commerce, we were given a fact sheet from the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) that highlighted the importance of Dr. King’s message of “we’ve got to see this through.”

According to the fact sheet, there are 1.9 million African American firms and 20.1 million non-minority firms. The average gross receipts for African American firms are $71,000 compared to $488,000 for non-minority firms. And the number of paid employees for African American-owned firms are 910,000 compared to 50.1 million in non-minority owned firms. As you can see these numbers are not even close. These numbers indicated the most important thing I’ve heard throughout the past year and this entire event, “We need more access to capital. Without capital, we can’t hire people or expand operations and services.” Almost every African American business owner or leader I met kept saying the exact same thing. We can’t sit down on economics now, we’ve got to see this through.

Let us be dissatisfied until the tragic walls that separate the outer city of wealth and comfort from the inner city of poverty and despair shall be crushed by the battering rams of the forces of justice

Addressing SCLC: Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community?

fergusondamage

Ferguson, Missouri

On August 9, 2014, the shooting of Michael Brown occurred in the hometown of my great-grandparents, the suburbs of St. Louis, in Ferguson, Missouri. I was born in St. Louis and spent many of my childhood days playing in Ferguson. One of my fondest childhood memories was being in my great-grandparents backyard with my uncle making homemade ice cream on the 4th of July. However, at sweet moments in time like this, all too often my great-grandmother would always remind the family, “Get home before it gets dark, you don’t want the Ferguson police messing with you.” In September 2014, my 82-year-old grandmother, who’s lived in St. Louis my entire life, only 10 minutes away from Ferguson, told me, “Baby it’s time!” in regards to the protest and demands for justice being called for locally and around the world. We can’t sit down on justice, we’ve got to see this through. In the photo above, I'm examining the damage on West Florrisant street. My job as a teenager was on this street. It was hard seeing the physical and emotional damage at home. 

True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar. It comes to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring.

Beyond Vietnam: A Time To Break Silence

boysgirlsclub

From Boys to Men

In October 2014, I became president of a new nonprofit organization in San Antonio, Teaching Responsible Actions, Concepts, Knowledge, and Skills (TRACKS). The primary mission of TRACKS is to train all boys between the ages of 10–17 on how to be better sons, so they can become better husbands, so they can become better fathers. Too many young boys and men are not reaching their fullest potential educationally, socially, and emotionally. All of my life I have witnessed far too many young boys and men be killed, give way to a lifestyle of criminality and become trapped in an abyss of drug or alcohol addiction. Far too many young boys that I have mentored can’t read a restaurant menu. Far too many young boys that I have mentored lack confidence when they speak. And far too many young boys lack the etiquette while being engaged in the concrete jungles of our nation. We don’t need another study, what we need is a renewed commitment from adults to give these young boys and men a fair chance in life. We can’t sit down on our young men, we’ve got to see this through.

His problems are far more complex, encompassing economic security, education, freedom from discrimination, decent housing and access to culture. Yet if family planning is sensible it can facilitate or at least not be an obstacle to the solution of the many profound problems that plague him.

Family Planning: A Special and Urgent Concern 

Changing Our Values Will Change Our Country

Today, in our nation we have more juvenile detention centers, jails, and prisons than we have colleges and universities. Children don’t build these institutions, adults do. Is this the kind of country that we want to be? Is this the message that we want to send to our children — that we have more places in our society to lock you up than to educate you?

Dr. King didn’t die dreaming, he died fighting. He was fighting for peace at home and abroad. Dr. King was fighting for economic justice. He died standing up against a way of life that believes that one race is superior to all other races and ethnicities of people. Dr. King died fighting the same battles that we are still fighting to this day and we cannot give up. We cannot back down. In Dr. King’s words, “We’ve got to give ourselves to the struggle” and “We’ve got to see this through!”

Let us rise up tonight with a greater readiness. Let us stand with a greater determination. And let us move on in these powerful days, these days of challenge to make America what it ought to be. We have an opportunity to make America a better nation.

At Charles Mason Temple: I've Been to the Mountaintop
Gerald Givens Jr

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