Additional May Entry/Post Three/Volume Four

Ron10-183x300The May posting is extended because there was some topical news in May that I wanted to share with you, so I am adding some news before we close out the month.

My seeingthings blog, which is really the title, concerns those people and things that interest me, and also to pass on news that I find interesting or informative. If I find that news to be of a nature that entertains or peeks your interest, or gives you information that you may use in discussion with others or for any other reason of your liking, then I usually will insert it in my blog.

Recently, a friend was very excited about his artistic son getting the opportunity to display his art at the new gallery at the Harvard Fogg Museum at Harvard University which is an incredible accomplishment because it is the first time that a alumnus of the college to have his work on exhibition.

Jesse Aron Green, a mid thirties artist, has shown in several other locations, the Tate Modern Museum in London andThe Whitney Museum Of American Art.

This interview gives some information about the  artist and his work. Way to go, Jesse. We are all proud of you.

http://magazine.harvardartmuseums.org/article/2015/05/19/homecoming?utm_source=Index&utm_medium=Facebook&utm_campaign=JAGatHarvard

Finis This month has gone by pretty fast, especially I am sure with all the graduates that have graduated from their perspective high schools and colleges. Time moves on quickly, and decisions are going to made regarding one’s future and then we all move on to follow whatever directions we plan to take on in the future. When we are young those decisions are important to make and it matters to us to take some time to try and make sure those decisions we are making are worthy. We make those decisions sometimes with family members included, or in some cases those decisions are ones we have made for ourselves because they were planned well in advance. Our lives take on other directions sometimes, and there may be moments when what the future holds for us require changes that must be made and we can prepare for those changes; the choice of careers, the decisions that move us in opposite directions that we did not foresee. These are the things that help us to decide the careers we follow or the desires that move us to places that we were not expecting. This is the pattern of life and to all of you who dream of what your future holds, try and make those changes worthy of the choices you make.

One final note.  Not to brag about my family, but I have an incredible group of talented grandchildren; singers, dancers, and performers, and recently one of my grandchildren decided he wanted to get interested in learning an instrument and started to use one of the many keyboards around the house. He decided to learn to play using YouTube as a learning tool. Well, believe it or not after several months he has been playing songs and even has joined a band of young people at his church. Check this out on learning how to play the piano from one of the courses we found on line. Joining a group of musicians who play together is a great opportunity to learn an instrument. He has learned a lot playing the piano in the past several months.

 

 

Posted in Things I'm Seeing | Leave a comment

Post Two/Volume Four

Ron10-183x300The Arts…Let me start with this light tone, that is a particular interest of mine. When you reach the age of longevity you realize that there is much for you to savor and enjoy, especially when it involves your past. Those of us who live a while look back on those special moments that brought joy to our lives. When you reach that age, you too, I hope anyway, will find those moments that bring back memories of the ‘old’ days that send a spark down your spine every now and then.

Recently, I have been posting the longevity of some of our most promising artists that have been reaching the 100 year mark of their births. We post them because they were extremely talented and worthy of mentioning because they did stand out as singers, musicians and entertainers. I recently looked into one of my favorite singers and that is Billy Daniels,(September 12, 1915-October 7, 1988) 20120619-193256-633x350who made the version of the song, That Old Black Magic, into not only a popular standard, but one that established him as a star performer. In the 1950’s Ebony Magazine featured Billy in a cover story with photos that dramatically displayed what Billy Daniels was all about in performance. This video gives the example of what his performance was like doing That Old Black Magic before a nightclub audience, and how much of an addition to that performance was his longtime pianist, Benny Payne who added much delight to the excitement before a live audience.

It is important for me to state this comment to you. If the arts is important to you, not only for your own entertainment, but because of the history that it provides to you and your family and children, it is vital to pass that on to the generations that follow you. The last decade provided us with a wealth of information, mainly because our World was changing, with the influx of technology; television, publishing, music, and art, and so many other things that brought information to us and still does instantly and frequently. We must embrace it or we will be left behind and unable to keep up because it is moving so fast.

There are those who currently provide us with excellent artistic values to our lives, and we must take note what is worthy and what is not. We have people all over the world who disrepect artistic values and are destroying art mainly because of hatred to those who created it or to just are unable to understand how important it is to the world we live in, even for the world they live in.

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 At this time of year in May and June especially, there is reason to celebrate with many of the celebratory events like graduations, proms and weddings, and family gatherings for a multitude of reasons and just as we were celebrating two events with my grandson at a prom and on his confirmation event in April. These are mostly one time events, at a certain age, but as we grow older these events are surely a part of us growing up with a future that can help us to gain success in our choice of occupations down the road. Hopefully, for my readers, this is a part of the things you may be doing as your family goes down this path, especially at this time as they look forward to their future. It is an important time in their lives.

R.I.P, BB King (September 16, 1925-May 14, 2015) I cannot remember when I first heard BB King, but I knew who he was as a young teenager. He was a legend. He was a legend in his own time. BB King passed away on May 14, 2015 at 89, and his music will live forever.

BB’s legacy reaches out to those who knew him, respected him and for those who will find his music in the past, currently,  and to those who will not be even born yet, they will learn who BB King was. Legendary artists have a way of doing just that because their artistry reaches out to those who hear their art and form opinions based on what they hear. Guitar players today have learned from BB and formed their own ideas on how to play what they heard from BB; Eric Clapton, John Mayer, Buddy Guy, and countless others, to just name a few. There will be those who find for whatever reason they have a guitar in their hands and learn to play it, somewhere, somehow they will come to BB King and the voice of Lucille that brought life to BB King’s hands and they will be the better for it.

https://mail.google.com/mail/u/0/#inbox/14d5d5f8698bf931

Here is some more news based on the documentary about BB’s life.

B.B. KING THE LIFE OF RILEY

BB King “The Life Of Riley” is the much-lauded feature documentary film on the extraordinary life of Blues legend B.B. King.

Battling unrelenting racism and the humiliation of segregation whilst working in the cotton fields as an orphaned child, King lived to overcome the toughest critics in the entertainment industry and ultimately be hailed as one of the kingpins of an entire genre of music. This candid biopic of the life story of one of our living legends is highlighted by rare archive footage and beautifully shot scenes of the deep American south. Informative and visually stunning, The Life of Riley is the definitive document of a true American treasure.

Thanks to IN DEMAND, the film is now available on pay-per-view in 52 million homes and on VOD where available. To check availability in your area, click HERE. You can purchase the DVD here.

Finis Every time I attempt to do my postings on my blog I make every effort to make my comments in a positive nature, because I believe that being positive is the way to go even though there is lots of negativity surrounding me and others,  who make it through our daily lives. Today it seems that being negative is the nature of so many people. Maybe it’s because it is the sign of the times, with all of the troubles we face in our world from every corner, so being positive becomes  a difficult task to take on what we are facing every day.

It is troublesome, however, when you are a person that sees this problem as something that brings it to you on a daily basis, especially when you use it to comment to a public resource like my blog, and feel the need to bring it to the attention of others who may see things as you see them, or maybe see things in a different light. I maintain the fact that I may have thoughts that may differ from some folks, but I try to put on my positive hat when I write my blog so that others are able to judge me as a fair minded person, rather than use my blog to spout angry comments that I have no use for here. Not very easy, of course, seeing the nature of some groups of people who don’t seem to either have any common sense, or a sense of dignity and a positive purpose. How sad for them.

So, I feel remiss not to comment on some issues of the day that are bothering me. And, I will attempt to make it as positive as I can even though there is a slight bit of anger that I am trying to hold back from making negative comments that may blind me from my usual positive standing.

First, let me show you some comments that First Lady, Michelle Obama made on her recent speech to the graduating class at Tuskegee University. She gave those students a short history lesson on what and who preceded them to give them a sense of how important that history is to their past and their future.

“You will follow alums like many of your parents and grandparents, aunts and uncles — leaders like Robert Robinson Taylor, a groundbreaking architect and administrator here who was recently honored on a postage stamp.  (Applause.)  You will follow heroes like Dr. Boynton Robinson — (applause) — who survived the billy clubs and the tear gas of Bloody Sunday in Selma.  The story of Tuskegee is full of stories like theirs — men and women who came to this city, seized their own futures, and wound up shaping the arc of history for African Americans and all Americans.”

Michelle also make special comments about the airmen at Tuskegee who were a part of the Black Squardrons who fought in World War Two, even though they were segregated from their White counterparts who were fighting the same war for their country.

“And I’d like to begin today by reflecting on that history — starting back at the time when the Army chose Tuskegee as the site of its airfield and flight school for black pilots.  (Applause.)   

Back then, black soldiers faced all kinds of obstacles.  There were the so-called scientific studies that said that black men’s brains were smaller than white men’s.  Official Army reports stated that black soldiers were “childlike,” “shiftless,” “unmoral and untruthful,” and as one quote stated, “if fed, loyal and compliant.” 

So while the Airmen selected for this program were actually highly educated — many already had college degrees and pilots licenses — they were presumed to be inferior.  During training, they were often assigned to menial tasks like housekeeping or landscaping.  Many suffered verbal abuse at the hands of their instructors.  When they ventured off base, the white sheriff here in town called them “boy” and ticketed them for the most minor offenses.  And when they finally deployed overseas, white soldiers often wouldn’t even return their salutes.”

“Just think about what that must have been like for those young men.  Here they were, trained to operate some of the most complicated, high-tech machines of their day — flying at hundreds of miles an hour, with the tips of their wings just six inches apart.  Yet when they hit the ground, folks treated them like they were nobody — as if their very existence meant nothing.”

First Lady, Michelle Obama, went on to tell those students about the tasks she faces every day as the wife of the first Black president in the history of the United States.

“And now, graduates, it’s your turn to take up that cause.  And let me tell you, you should feel so proud of making it to this day.  And I hope that you’re excited to get started on that next chapter.  But I also imagine that you might think about all that history, all those heroes who came before you — you might also feel a little pressure, you know — pressure to live up to the legacy of those who came before you; pressure to meet the expectations of others. 

And believe me, I understand that kind of pressure.  (Applause.)  I’ve experienced a little bit of it myself.  You see, graduates, I didn’t start out as the fully-formed First Lady who stands before you today.  No, no, I had my share of bumps along the way.

Back when my husband first started campaigning for President, folks had all sorts of questions of me:  What kind of First Lady would I be?  What kinds of issues would I take on?  Would I be more like Laura Bush, or Hillary Clinton, or Nancy Reagan?  And the truth is, those same questions would have been posed to any candidate’s spouse.  That’s just the way the process works.  But, as potentially the first African American First Lady, I was also the focus of another set of questions and speculations; conversations sometimes rooted in the fears and misperceptions of others.  Was I too loud, or too angry, or too emasculating?  (Applause.) Or was I too soft, too much of a mom, not enough of a career woman? 

Then there was the first time I was on a magazine cover — it was a cartoon drawing of me with a huge afro and machine gun. Now, yeah, it was satire, but if I’m really being honest, it knocked me back a bit.  It made me wonder, just how are people seeing me.

Or you might remember the on-stage celebratory fist bump between me and my husband after a primary win that was referred to as a “terrorist fist jab.”  And over the years, folks have used plenty of interesting words to describe me.  One said I exhibited “a little bit of uppity-ism.“  Another noted that I was one of my husband’s “cronies of color.”  Cable news once charmingly referred to me as “Obama’s Baby Mama.”

And of course, Barack has endured his fair share of insults and slights.  Even today, there are still folks questioning his citizenship. 

And all of this used to really get to me.  Back in those days, I had a lot of sleepless nights, worrying about what people thought of me, wondering if I might be hurting my husband’s chances of winning his election, fearing how my girls would feel if they found out what some people were saying about their mom.

But eventually, I realized that if I wanted to keep my sanity and not let others define me, there was only one thing I could do, and that was to have faith in God’s plan for me.  (Applause.)  I had to ignore all of the noise and be true to myself — and the rest would work itself out.  (Applause.)   

So throughout this journey, I have learned to block everything out and focus on my truth.  I had to answer some basic questions for myself:  Who am I?  No, really, who am I?  What do I care about?”

 And at the end of the day, by staying true to the me I’ve always known, I found that this journey has been incredibly freeing.  Because no matter what happened, I had the peace of mind of knowing that all of the chatter, the name calling, the doubting — all of it was just noise.  (Applause.)  It did not define me.  It didn’t change who I was.  And most importantly, it couldn’t hold me back.  I have learned that as long as I hold fast to my beliefs and values — and follow my own moral compass — then the only expectations I need to live up to are my own.” 

I read this speech in its entirety, and for those of you who believe in what these two people who are now leaving this office for eight years, agreeing with everything they have tried to do, or not tried to achieve in your opinion, the truth of their experience will be in the history books for all the world to see and depending on who writes those books pro and con, at least Black children will decide on what truths are in those books and help them to move forward in their lives.

Right-wing media accused First Lady Michelle Obama of “wasting an opportunity,” “playing the race card,” and reciting a “litany of victimization” after the first lady’s commencement address at Tuskegee University in Alabama.

Let us be real here. There are those of us who have witnessed the outrage that some folks have, regarding the man who sits in the White House as the first African American President and in the six years of his presidency have not had an ounce of respect for him as a human being or as the leader of the Free World.  They have not given him the right to even become elected twice to be in that office. Well, there are those of us, White, Black, and other ethnicities who see all that through a different lens, regardless of those who use their positions in the media to spout their hatred for the man on every turn. Also, not unless you have been living in another world or covering your head with a blanket,  you know that the truth is spoken from the person who heard or felt it first hand, from the mouths of those who have expressed their views negatively from the outset since Obama came into office. Every comment that has been used to degrade and disrespect the President and the First Lady has been said openly by those who disagree with him in blatant and undeserving ways, and has been reported and recorded in every aspect of the media. So, the Fox News folks need to be honest with their audience and themselves because their comments are not valid in their opinions that are one-sided and lop-sided. In fact there should be a law against people who continually give unworthy comments in their daily reporting and feed lies in the media.

Ferguson, MO, Baltimore, MD and beyond. It is sad to see what is going on regarding another problem that America is facing and that is the killing of innocent Black young men. Disturbing as it is, it seems to be happening even though there is an obvious outrage among sensible minded people. Even though there are those who find this outrageously disturbing, it is difficult to understand why it is happening almost every day in our daily lives. Well, it has been happening almost every day in our daily lives even though it has not been brought to our attention. You see, it has been happening and brought to the attention of all of us but in small chunks of the news, an event in New York City, or in Boston, MA, where young men have been shot and killed for no apparent wrongdoing. However, now that it has been brought to the attention to those who are reporting the news from their own local media, and from those who specifically bring it to the attention of their own organizations, like the NAACP, and from leaders in their communities, it has not been able to be avoided because it has been relevant for so long.

We can easily pin the blame on others. For example, let us put blame on the victims. Those who have lost their lives from law enforcement personnel. Were they in the wrong place at the wrong time? Perhaps taking something from a convenience store without paying for it and then walking away like it’s an every day occurrence. Is that cause for losing a young person’s life? Or, someone selling cigarettes on a street corner, and placing himself in the position to be placed in a chokehold and causing his death because of a simple matter like selling cigarettes on a street corner? How about this one, a young preteen holding a play gun and pretending to think about what every youngster does in that position and finding himself killed by officers who are unable to discern who a young person, even a preteen looks like, because he is black? It boggles the mind.

Let us blame those who were not even there to witness the event. They heard it from a local news outlet or the major news, maybe from a neighbor who heard the news, but probably didn’t hear the news correctly so what they did hear helped to form their own opinions on the incident even though it was incorrect. For instance, the recent Baltimore event that announced a report from a reporter who said police shot a man with a gun and the man was rushed to a local hospital, but come to find out the reporter only heard part of the story and police had to detract the story because a shot was never fired by a police officer and the man was uninjured at the hospital.

Let us put blame on those folks who have racists views and draw their own conclusions regardless of who is to blame. Well, from their own experience, they really do not know any other person from another race because they do not live among others who do not look like them. You see, that protects them, their family and their children from being harmed, based on what they read and heard from others that form their opinions from sources just like they do.

There are countless reasons of what happens in many circumstances that have caused the death of individuals for no reason. Sure, there are people out there who do wrong and dumb things, regardless of race, people who are out to do harm to anyone in their way. But to those innocent people who find themselves in harms way for no reason and cause them to die because of someone’s fear, someone’s indecision or opinion of the victim is absolutely wrong and those of us who recognize it must do all we can to stop it because one day it just MIGHT, just might, be brought to our own doorstep.

I will continue to use my voice through my blog to bring these injustices to your attention because I realize it is my responsibility as the author of this blog to report to you what I see, and what I believe is an honest opinion of what I have observed. Should I see something that is not true and I report it here you have every right to call me on it.

We will surely have more discussions on this matter because it is not going way soon. But, there are forces behind the scenes who are working diligently every day to improve the way we see things, not only in law enforcement but also in the way that people see others in their daily lives. We must live with an open mind about lots of things, because our world is changing and especially with others who live in our world. Change can be a good thing.

 

 

 

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Spring Issue/Post One/Volume Four

Ron10-183x300

I am sure my friends and family are welcoming the seasonal change of Spring after the terrible long Winter that some of them had. As you know, Winter does not quit easily, and the remnants of the past Winter can linger a while, even in early Spring. But, it will all settle in and the warm weather will warm your hearts and bodies.

There is growing interest across the country concerning multiple instances of injustices involving people who are victims of these injustices; people of color, LGBT people, poor people, people in prisons who should be exonerated and much more. Over the years because of efforts made by professional law makers and attorneys, efforts have been made to correct injustices that effects many people in those denominations. Such an effort has been part of the work being done by The Equal Justice Initiative that works effortlessly to exonerate people who are incarcerated unjustly by the criminal justice system.

Recently, an effort has been made successfully regarding a man accused  incorrectly of a crime he did not commit, Anthony Rae Hinton, who walked out of jail after thirty years because of injustices regarding his incarceration. What is of most concern by those who have worked hard to free him, regardless of proof of his innocence, is that those people in the justice system knew that proof was available fifteen years ago of his innocence and yet no effort was made to release Hinton from prison who was scheduled during his time in prison to be executed. And, his lawyers stated that his situation was caused by others in the justice system who used his status as a poor individual who was unable to afford legal council and evidence that was used against him for the crime he did not commit. There are many cases like this, fortunately, there is an organization whose specific purpose is to prove the innocence of those who are wrongly accused and committed to jail time.

ArtNews Leroy Neiman Foundation Gives $2.5 million dollars to Smithsonian for Jazz programming, Jazz Cafe. http://www.artnews.com/2015/04/02/leroy-neiman-foundation-gives-2-5-m-to-the-smithsonian-for-jazz-programming-jazz-cafe/

2015 Celebrations This year, 2015, there are three important centennial celebrations in the world of music, Billie Holiday, on April 7, 2015, Billy Strayhorn, on November 29, 2015,  and Frank Sinatra, December 12, 2015.

Remarkably, these three memorial celebrations of these three remarkable artists coincide with each other basically because Billy Strayhorn’s compositions incorporated with the artistry of his writing companion, the great, Duke Ellington, served Sinatra well in his performances of their material, as well as Billie. Billie Holiday was the most consequential singer of her generation, and it is important to note that Strayhorn and Sinatra in many ways mirrored her artistry basically because of Holiday’s interpretive skills as a singer and that remarkable voice not matched by anyone until this day.  These three artists were monumental with their interpretations of the material they performed over the years, and it is astounding that they are celebrating this year together in this century. Here are some pieces of information I wish to share with you.

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Frank+Sinatra+60sb20cea3e507a1d02065715b1218466f1f2da7994https://www.yahoo.com/music/billie-holiday-protest-singer-the-story-and-115670346341.htmlhttp://jazztimes.com/articles/156863-world-on-a-string-sinatra 100, and www.billystrayhorn.com.

 Braggin’ Rights Occasionally I comment on my blog about my grandchildren or some comment about family that I am willing to share. Like braggin’ rights that I have since it is MY blog.

Well, here is a moment I wish to share with you. My granddaughter, Lauren,  who is ten years old, has got the bug to follow in her granddad and cousin Deion’s footsteps who is in the entertainment industry. She is very talented and gotten accepted from her audition on March 28th at the Northwest School Of  The Arts, grades 6-12.

She sang two selections from Annie, and recited  a monologue from A Raisin In The Sun. She will attending NWSA in the Fall with a major in Musical Theater Drama 6. Of course all of us in the family are so proud of her and look forward to a wonderful future for her.

She is exceptionally talented in dancing, singing, acrobatics, designing clothes, drawing and painting that I am sure will follow her in her scholastic abilities and talents in the coming school years.

Lauren performed two songs from the movie, Annie , and dialogue from “A Raisin In The Sun”. Hail to Lauren….

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Finis The month of April  brings many thoughts from the world of jazz regarding four of the most prominent figures in jazz history; Billie Holiday, April 7, Carmen McRae, April 8 , Ella Fitzgerald, April 25, Duke Ellington, April 29.

During my time on the air as a broadcaster for Public Radio, WGBH, hosting the Jazz Gallery show for twenty-three years, I featured these four illustrious talents every year to give my audiences the opportunity to enjoy their artistic abilities but also to ensure that their art continued into the 21st Century. Holiday and Ellington enjoyed the opportunity to be included in their perspective Centennial positions, especially Billie,  who celebrates her 100th year this month.

The recording histories of these people are outstanding, the quality and the quantity is immeasurable, and we have been fortunate to be able to enjoy their artistic  achievements through their recordings….from my perspective….I read an article recently and after reading it I became aware that what I was reading left me with questions about the content of the material. I had to decide if the material I was reading was just propaganda or based on real facts. With so much information that we take in daily from all kinds of resources, i.e, newspapers, magazine articles, multi-media outlets, friends, family and comments that people make, we have to decide how we are able to wade through all of it and find out if the information is factual or not. It does not matter if your favorite announcer or the politician you believe in is giving you the right scoop. If you are vulnerable to any kind of news and propaganda that you are receiving and are not willing to research and find out the facts, then you are a victim of the information you may be receiving.

We all have opinions, based on many factors that involve all kinds of things in our lives from the time we were children into adulthood. We are victims of our society that determines how we interact with each other and how we understand the information that is passed down to us. Sometimes we do not have control about that information because it takes over our ideas and sensibilities. That is what makes up our World and each of us have to determine and decipher what it means to all of us and how it effects us as people. Think about that.

Posted in Things I'm Seeing | Leave a comment

News You Can Use/Post Ten/Volume Three

Ron10-183x300Before I proceed with this month’s post I wish to acknowledge those folks who read my posts for a first time and congratulate me on how much they are pleased with the information I give them. I also wish to inform my other readers that writing a blog each month takes much time and energy as well as investigating stories and information that is accurate and substantial. There is lots of spam included, and I delete and ignore that information, sometimes lengthy, that serves me no purpose unless it is vital to the information I give you, and from news items that are true, accurate, and worthy. I am sensitive to that reality and I want all of you to know that my purpose of writing my blog is not only important to me, but to be honest in my reporting.

In the beginning of this month I have to report that the news item that top’s my list is the report from the Office Of  The Attorney General Eric Holder that is devastating concerning the Justice Department’s investigation on Ferguson, MO. How does one view this news when you are an African-American person and have a personal opinion that presents such negative reports that effects you, your children, your family and friends and associates? How are you able to sort through the unpleasantness of such a report? The first reaction from me personally is anger. Why should I not be angry when there are people who are out to destroy you because of the color of your skin? Is it no better than Prime Minister Netanyahu’s comments regarding the Jewish people and the annihilation of it’s people by Iran? It is pure racism just as it is in Israel. Let us not mince words here, the report was stunning, not that African-Americans are naive and uninformed about years of racism and experience it in all of his forms, but at the level that individuals in the law enforcement community, from police, judicial court systems, and other jurisdictions relating to law that is designed to protect them, apparently had no interest in preventing and stopping such practices.

This report is nothing new to the Black community. We have been down this road before and many times in our history. So, how can we address this?

Selma, 50thAnniversary. The President of the United States spoke on Saturday, March 7th, the day before the celebration prepared on Sunday, March 8th, on the commemoration of the event. In my opinion, the speech was excellent and passionate, one of the best speeches that Obama has made, if not the best.  President Obama seems to have taken on a new vigor since he now has only until 2016 to be president.

Here is a sampling of what he said:

Of course, our democracy is not the task of Congress alone, or the courts alone, or the President alone. If every new voter suppression law was struck down today, we’d still have one of the lowest voting rates among free peoples. Fifty years ago, registering to vote here in Selma and much of the South meant guessing the number of jellybeans in a jar or bubbles on a bar of soap. It meant risking your dignity, and sometimes, your life. What is our excuse today for not voting? How do we so casually discard the right for which so many fought? How do we so fully give away our power, our voice, in shaping America’s future?

Fellow marchers, so much has changed in 50 years. We’ve endured war, and fashioned peace. We’ve seen technological wonders that touch every aspect of our lives, and take for granted convenience our parents might scarcely imagine. But what has not changed is the imperative of citizenship, that willingness of a 26 year-old deacon, or a Unitarian minister, or a young mother of five, to decide they loved this country so much that they’d risk everything to realize its promise.

That’s what it means to love America. That’s what it means to believe in America. That’s what it means when we say America is exceptional.

Because the single most powerful word in our democracy is the word “We.” We The People. We Shall Overcome. Yes We Can. It is owned by no one. It belongs to everyone. Oh, what a glorious task we are given, to continually try to improve this great nation of ours.

Fifty years from Bloody Sunday, our march is not yet finished. But we are getting closer. Two hundred and thirty-nine years after this nation’s founding, our union is not yet perfect. But we are getting closer. Our job’s easier because somebody already got us through that first mile. Somebody already got us over that bridge. When it feels the road’s too hard, when the torch we’ve been passed feels too heavy, we will remember these early travelers, and draw strength from their example, and hold firmly the words of the prophet Isaiah:

“Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not be faint.”

John Lewis comments in his speech on the 50th Anniversary event:“There’s still work left to be done. Get out there and push and pull until we redeem the soul of America,” Lewis said at Saturday’s 50th anniversary of “Bloody Sunday,” a watershed moment of the 1960s civil rights movement.

“We come to Selma to be renewed. We come to be inspired. We come to be reminded that we must do the work that justice and equality calls us to do,” he said.

Finis: I have to say this, but we are living in difficult times here in these United States. I have never seen it so dysfunctional as it has been lately. From all corners, not taking the World’s problems in account, but let us just focus on what is going on in our country. At my age, it is very discouraging to see what is happening to us as we proceed to do what we do, especially in the politics that serves us in this country. The so called leaders politically are short sighted individuals whose purpose is to disrupt and hold us back from moving forward towards the kind of country we believe it to be. As a people and a country we cannot accept and approve this kind of undemocratic activity to continue. Look into your hearts and minds to find the solutions to these situations that are presented before us. If you believe in what you know is true, you will decide what you have to do to make the improvements that you know is true for you and your family.

 

 

 

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