Day: April 8, 2015
Care for Thy Soul as Thing of Greatest Price
We are always looking for facilitators and workshop presenters. If you’d like to present, facilitate or you are interested in bringing the Institute to your city, school or community contact us firstname.lastname@example.org.
My suffering runs close to my passion. My diagnosed symptoms from combat to life experiences haunt me more than for a moment. Any news related to human suffering and injustice plagues my peace. I just “Care for the Souls” that are being vilified and killed.
They burned him alive in an iron cage, and as he screamed and writhed in the agony of hell they made a sport of his death.
After listening to one newscast after another rightly condemn the barbaric killing of that Jordanian air force pilot at the bloody hands of ISIS, I couldn’t sleep. My mind kept roaming the past trying to retrieve a vaguely remembered photograph that I had seen long ago in the archives of a college library in Syracuse.
Suddenly, around two in the morning, the image materialized in my head. I made my way down the hall to my computer and typed in: “Waco, Texas. Lynching.”
Sure enough, there it was: the charred corpse of a young black man, tied to a blistered tree in the heart of the Texas Bible Belt. Next to the burned body, young white men can be seen smiling and grinning, seemingly jubilant at their front-row seats in a carnival of death. One of them sent a picture postcard home: “This is the barbeque we had last night. My picture is to the left with a cross over it. Your son, Joe.”
The victim’s name was Jesse Washington. The year was 1916. America would soon go to war in Europe “to make the world safe for democracy.” We as individuals have a duty to empower and educate our “YOUTH’, to protect our families and especially our women. I am involved with so many campaigns at present, but I must find time to embark upon another. I must engage the men of every pulpit I am familiar with to start clinics to introduce our men of color to tactics and behavior that will empower them with obedience to a higher calling than just revenge. We need to get active in the lower parts of our deprived communities and smaller churches to get this message out. We need to form a chain linked coalition of pastors, ministers, fathers and mothers, sisters and aunties. A message or cry of this type doesn’t get media attention or does it interest the common viewer of a website. In my hundred days of prayer for America and the church I will be entreating God for a miracle that includes me and my wife to begin a world changing movement outside of the walls of a church…..
I would come to learn, when local white folks still talked about Washington’s execution as if it were only yesterday. This was not medieval Europe. Not the Inquisition. Not a heretic burned at the stake by some ecclesiastical authority in the Old World. This was Texas, and the white people in that photograph were farmers, laborers, shopkeepers, some of them respectable congregants from local churches in and around the growing town of Waco.
Here is the photograph. Take a good look at Jesse Washington’s stiffened body tied to the tree. He had been sentenced to death for the murder of a white woman. No witnesses saw the crime; he allegedly confessed but the truth of the allegations would never be tested. The grand jury took just four minutes to return a guilty verdict, but there was no appeal, no review, no prison time. Instead, a courtroom mob dragged him outside, pinned him to the ground, and cut off his testicles. A bonfire was quickly built and lit. For two hours, Jesse Washington — alive — was raised and lowered over the flames. Again and again and again. City officials and police stood by, approvingly. According to some estimates, the crowd grew to as many as 15,000. There were taunts, cheers and laughter. Reporters described hearing “shouts of delight.”
When the flames died away, Washington’s body was torn apart and the pieces were sold as souvenirs. The party was over. I am not sharing this to incite a riot. I want to share this because of the effects it still has in modern day America.
Define Yourself, Redefine the World Journal
Through empowering words, motivating experiences, and insightful quotes of wisdom, this journal will put you on a path of evolution. TheBlackManCan Presents Define Yourself, Redefine the World: A Guided Journal for Boys and Men of Color is a one-of-a-kind proactive tool that will help to propel any man, young or otherwise, to actively question the man he desires to be. It is a journal that will open your mind, strengthen your heart, and provide you with an outlet to release your thoughts.
There is no other journal specifically designed for boys and men of color, and this one takes a life-changing approach. Every quote and essential question will leave you feeling closer to your destiny. It explores topics related to education, spirituality, purpose, passion, career, leadership, culture, and fatherhood, all of which are vital concepts for your development.
TheBlackManCan Presents Define Yourself, Redefine the World: A Guided Journal for Boys and Men of Color can be used as a parent-child workbook, teenage journal, or even given as a Father’s Day gift.
The Journal specifically and effectively addresses the need for introspection during the transition from childhood to manhood for Black boys. The guide is a useful tool in offering something that is much needed during a critical stage of development. As a father of Black Boys I will add this tool to my toolbox to aid me in helping my sons become the best man they can be, while also allowing me to reflect on how I can improve as a man. ~Levy T. Gillespie, Sr. Father of Three
This is a brilliant idea! In a world where the concept of Black manhood is destroyed by faulty images of Black hyper-masculinity, this journal provides a space for men and boys to reflect upon their own ideas of masculinity in a healthy manner. In the true spirit of self determination, this journal provides an inspirational slate for boys and men to define themselves outside of the mass mediated controlling images they are bombarded with on a daily basis. I’ll be getting copies of this journal to share with my sons and the other men and boys I love…and I hope you do the same. ~Prof. Don C. Sawyer, III Quinnipiac University, Department of Sociology
Profound and essential for young men everywhere! After reading Define Yourself, I was impressed with the vision and content that Brandon has compiled for our young warriors. In a time where expression is often suppressed, this is one of the prescriptions to change our community-wide disease of uneasiness in communicating. Define Yourself will greatly impact students to learn more about themselves and ultimately enable young men to be an asset to himself and the community in which he resides. ~ Alfred Blake Author of The Students Handbook to Breaking All the Rules(www.alfredblake.com)
~ Is Justice now justified or Is waiting for the righteous judgement enough to continue to live right~
No Justice, No Peace:
To me the phrase “No Justice, No Peace” is not so much a threat as much as it is a cry of the heart. It is not simply a call to protest, but also a naming of the powers and what those powers have done.
A lack of justice has resulted in a lack of peace.
So many of the people of color, in particular the people of African descent in my life went to bed on last night without a sense of peace. And I am not sure that some of my non-Black friends understand why.
There is a lack of peace because of the painful reminder that historically black lives are valued less than the lives of others. This painful truth is reiterated by the invoking of names like Emmett Till, Amadou Diallo, Oscar Grant III, and Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown,and now Walter Scott It is reinforced through disparities in legal sentencing, in execution rates, and in drug policing.
To view the many fallen people of color and others please click this link:
Heavy hearts now lack peace because of the lack of justice in our nation.
But there is a lack of peace also because of the very real fear that many of us parents who have children of color, will feel every time our kids walk to the store. It is the twinge of fear and lack of peace that I and other black men feel every time we are profiled just because of the way we look.
No peace because of no justice.
Soon after the story of Trayvon’s killing became national news I found that many of my white friends did not understand the hurt and anger that I and many others felt. Likewise after the verdict was read, I again received messages from friends who didn’t get the powerful response that they witnessed on social media sites. A lack of understanding is alright, but a lack of care, a lack of concern is not.
After the jury’s verdict came down I like so many others was stunned. Dumbstruck. Silently screaming. My first instinct was to go for a walk and cry. To be quiet. But there is a time for silence and there is a time to raise our voices. Mine is now raised in calling for justice, in calling for divine intervention, grace, and guidance, and in calling out to all of us to work for change.
So now that we see that there is neither justice nor peace, what is next?
We must work for both: To fix a broken justice system and a to fix the broken peace within our hearts and within our communities.
A lack of justice and a lack of peace is a call for action on two different fronts. This means organizing to change dangerous laws like the “Stand Your Ground” and the “Stop and Frisk” policies as well as heartless gun laws in our country. But it also means working to restore peace on an individual level. This is reaching out to those who are hurting. Preaching and writing about this not only prophetically, but also pastorally. It’s working not only to change laws, but to change a culture that is far too violent in the first place. It’s not only ensuring that the taking of black life is prosecuted just the same as when a white life is lost, but it is working to build abeloved community in which no lives are lost to unnecessary violence. Change laws, get guns off of the street, and change our culture.
The “WAR” on drugs is another bogus attempt to render Justice to our communities that failed. Here is a video and a case we are working with FAMM to overturn: https://youtu.be/C_ES5m4ovPM
Please watch Julie’s video, and share it with people you know. Because the fight for sentencing reform isn’t just about wasted money or prison over-crowding, it’s about real human beings.
Aaron & May Pratt
Second chance Alliance