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Monday, January 18, 2016

When will we stop singing/dreaming about overcoming injustice and truly end racism?

"How long, not long," MLK refrains,
but only if Black Lives Truly Matter and political and economic systems are completely transformed! (Turner Chapel church ceiling where I looked up, hoping an image of Prophet King would appear...all I could see were shades of grey which reminded me of King's speech, "A Knock at Midnight.")

Cobb County, Georgia's 30th annual celebration honoring the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was held at Turner Chapel AME Church this morning in Marietta, Ga. The event was sponsored by County Government, the local NAACP, and Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company.

In the opening prayer, it was stated,  "The worst is over, and the best is yet to come." Nice idea, but where is the reality? The event itself could be billed as entertaining and inspirational, but did not give strategies to further King's agenda of non-violence, war and poverty cessation, and blanket justice.

County Commission Chairman Tim Lee said he hoped the event would help promote the theme "Pursuing LIBERTIES in the face of Injustice."

The best "Star Spangled Banner" I have ever heard was a duet performed by Princess and Juanita Brigman. The lighting in the church whitened everyone. Even my cellphone pics at the event were whitewashed, and the feel good messages were lukewarm. The temperature outside was chilly, and the mood inside intense.

Cobb NAACP President Deane Bonner said the community is battling the police department. Her family owns a bail-bond business, yet she pulled several stats out of her bag of concerns.

* Of 2,200 inmates in county lockup, the majority are black. They are not getting speedy trials, are not being visited by families, and are being convicted of felonies while public defenders are convincing them to plead guilty instead of fighting in court.
* Too many black elementary students are being expelled from school. Ninety percent of the complaints the NAACP gets are against the school system.
*  Community leaders are not participating in public or private events involving the black community.
* Police are rude, need to practice community policing, and need to be held accountable for not doing their jobs. 

Bonner's remarks flecked with broken English were followed by a recording which blared,  "War, what is it good for? Absolutely nothing!"

Kennedy Williams' powerful performance of "Strange Fruit" made me think of a recent, modern-day lynching last year in Cobb: the killing of Nicholas Thomas by police after a customer's luxury car he was driving was chased by dogs and bullets at a discount tire store. And nothing has been done about it...

What will happen next while we continue to sing of overcoming someday, while we are still pursuing a dream sponsored by governments we fund and organizations who trifle away our donations?

What a beloved community of actors! We can do better than this. In order to eradicate racism, we must confirm that it exists, fight it individually on our own doorsteps, and be all in for a win.

Let's set a date and see if we can overcome today!

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