When I was growing up and attending Ft. Street United Methodist Church on Boulevard Avenue in Atlanta’s Old Fourth Ward, the Sunday service would end with the singing of the Negro National Anthem, “Lift Every Voice and Sing.” I was full of pride to watching my mom, Snooks West, a stellar soprano, belt out those high notes — and yep, I sang as well because it was a heritage song. Plus, you did not want the kinda whipping those church mothers would give you if you acted like you had a speech problem preventing you singing — and y’all know exactly what I am talking about.
Yes, singing that song gave me a sense of pride and honor, because I knew what Mom and Dad had endured. However, Mom would sing the Star Spangled Banner with even greater passion and of course Dad was a World War II Soldier. Together they taught me respect, honor, commitment, and duty to God and country — but also to embrace my black heritage. And part of that heritage was to regard our rule of law and respect authority and law enforcement – without submission or subservience.
However, something just happened I cannot embrace or support.
As reported by Western Journalism, “The ‘Black People’s Grand Jury,’ a jury with no legal authority in St. Louis County, announced Monday they indicted former Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson in the shooting of Michael Brown.”
“While the actual grand jury took three months to deliberate, this grand jury took only one weekend. Of course, Wilson was cleared by the real grand jury in November. All of the mock grand jurors hailed from St. Louis County and ruled 11-1 that Wilson should have been indicted for first degree murder.”They took only one hour to reach their decision and condensed their testimony from the thousands of pages that took the real grand jury three months to hear because they only brought “the testimony relevant to securing an indictment,” reported KMOV. It was also very critical of St. Louis Prosecutor Bob McCulloch (D). The proceedings were live-streamed online. “It was a very serious and historic process,” said mock prosecutor Omali Yeshitela for the Black People’s Grand Jury.“The indictment is not to say whether or not this gentleman was guilty or not…It’s only fair to Darren Wilson, as well, to have his day in court.” I have no problem with mock trials, which enable us to learn more about the functioning of our judicial system. But this little stunt is nothing more than an attempt to undermine the rule of law and our judicial process. It made a mockery of the dedication and professionalism of a grand jury which took three months to carefully deliberate and review every ounce of evidence. But these individuals have gone out of their way to disrespect the grand jury decision and create a counter opinion within the black community.
However, I am equally disturbed by the attire of some of these gents. “Omali, who was wearing the hammer and sickle on his hat, added that “Black people must take control of our lives. We cannot trust our children, the future of our community, in the hands of this establishment that has proven to us over and over again its disregard for black life,” according to FOX 2.”
I find this unconscionable. Omali fails to realize it is the black community that has let down its own children. Unlike the tradition, values, principles, and heritage that Buck and Snooks West imparted upon me and our family members, the new way forward is one of decimation of the black community, the family, and the aspect of hope and opportunity.
Instead of this mock grand jury, why not establish an after school tutoring program? When was the last time Omali spoke to young black men about being responsible and respecting their elders and law enforcement — or helping them to get a job? Does Omali sponsor any programs to combat out-of-wedlock births in the black community?
Yes, black people must indeed take control of their lives and stop being the prey of the charlatans and race baiters who feed off their plight like parasites. As Booker T. Washington stated, “There is another class of colored people who make a business of keeping the troubles, the wrongs, and the hardships of the Negro race before the public. Having learned that they are able to make a living out of their troubles, they have grown into the settled habit of advertising their wrongs — partly because they want sympathy and partly because it pays (Al Sharpton). Some of these people do not want the Negro to lose his grievances, because they do not want to lose their jobs.”
This is what Omali and his fellow communist hat wearers don’t realize — they are part of the problem, a large part. They are the continuing class of “colored people” which Washington described generations ago. They’re not looking for the solutions to the real issues, but prefer to embrace crisis in order to promote their own advantage and position.
It’s time we stop the false narratives and empty slogans. When I sang the Negro National Anthem at church as a young boy, I saw the resilience and resolve in the eyes and heard the power in the voices of those who had persevered and pushed me hard to advance a legacy of opportunity and promise. Today, there is no resolve, no commitment, no desire to persevere — just get along with grievances, cry racism and rail against the specter of “Da Man” who keeps us down. It’s no longer a triumphant song but rather a mumble of collective capitulation and acceptance of the new version of economic slavery as offered by the welfare nanny-state and dependency society.
This has to end, and I am committed to playing a part in making that happen. We are in the 50th anniversary year of Lyndon Johnson’s “Great Society” policy. Ask yourself, what’s so great about the situation in our inner city — the black community? I’d love to ask Omali what he thinks about the Great Society and its legacy — success or failure? Perhaps he and I could have a debate about the topic — instead of some mock grand jury.