Day: April 8, 2015

~ The Flag I once served and was willing to die for has images of Blacks hanging in the wind ~

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Care for Thy Soul as Thing of Greatest Price

BY WILLIAM BYRD

Care for thy soul as thing of greatest price,
      Made to the end to taste of power divine,
Devoid of guilt, abhorring sin and vice,
      Apt by God’s grace to virtue to incline.
Care for it so as by thy retchless train
It be not brought to taste eternal pain.
Care for thy corse, but chiefly for soul’s sake;
      Cut off excess, sustaining food is best;
To vanquish pride but comely clothing take;
      Seek after skill, deep ignorance detest.
Care so, I say, the flesh to feed and clothe
That thou harm not thy soul and body both.
Care for the world to do thy body right;
      Rack not thy wit to win thy wicked ways;
Seek not to oppress the weak by wrongful might;
      To pay thy due do banish all delays.
Care to dispend according to thy store,
And in like sort be mindful of the poor.
Care for thy soul, as for thy chiefest stay;
      Care for thy body for thy soul’s avail;
Care for the world for body’s help alway;
      Care yet but so as virtue may prevail.
Care in such sort that thou be sure of this:
Care keep thee not from heaven and heavenly bliss.

tbmc

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 atteam@theblackmancan.org.

2015 Tour Dates

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.

A Palestinian hold a poster with a picture of slain Jordanian pilot, Lt. Muath al-Kaseasbeh during a protest in front of the Jordanian embassy, in the West Bank City of Ramallah, Wednesday, Feb. 4, 2015. (AP Photo/Majdi Mohammed)

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.”

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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.

Large crowd looking at the burned body of Jesse Washington, 18 year-old African-American, lynched in Waco, Texas, May 15, 1916. (Library of Congress)

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~ Is Justice now justified or Is waiting for the righteous judgement enough to continue to live right~

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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.

Unarmed People of Color Killed by Police, 1999-2014

To view the many fallen people of color and others please click this link:

http://gawker.com/unarmed-people-of-color-killed-by-police-1999-2014-1666672349.

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

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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.

Thanks,

Aaron & May Pratt

Second chance Alliance