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“What a Tragedy It Would Be…!”

Lou Coleman-Yeboah

Lou Coleman-Yeboah

By Lou Coleman-Yeboah

To have gone through your whole life and at the end of it, look back, and realize that you spent all your time, money and energy on things that were pointless and had no value or worth. [Mark 8:36]. I tell you, we should all pray as Moses did in [Psalms 90] for God’s help to understand the great value of our limited time and how to make the most of each day. Of all that Moses could have asked, he simply asked, “Lord, teach us to make the most out of everyday… teach us to number our days.” Moses understood that his time here on earth was short; soon it would come to an end. Moses didn’t want to waste his time; he didn’t want to waste his life –So he cried out, “Lord, teach us to number our days… Interestingly, in the New Testament, the apostle Paul says, “So be careful how [you] live, not as fools but as those who are wise…” [Ephesians 5:15-16]. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away.?” [James 4:13-15].

Listen, over and over again, the Bible exhorts us to redeem the time. Like Moses, we have to learn to number our days. We must not waste our time, opportunities, or our life . Don’t be like Belshazzar who in [Daniel 5:1-31] was living for this life.  Living to gratify his flesh with absolutely no thought for eternity.  Partying, playing, and living for the good times, never realizing that there will come a day when the fun will end.  He never stopped and asked this one important question: What will happen when the party’s over? I tell you Belshazzar is an example of a wasted life. He died a sinner’s death and went to Hell. And he is still there today, [Luke 16:19-31]. Things did not have to turn out the way they did for Belshazzar.  He knew the truth about God, yet he failed to act on it.

I want you to know that the story of Belshazzar is a story of one tragedy piled on top of another.  But, his story does not have to be your story.  The ending to your story has yet to be written.  Your story does not have to be one of a wasted life, the wrath of God and a wretched death.  Your story can have a happy ending.  I am asking you to make sure of your relationship with Christ. Christ demands more than just churchgoing, more than just baptism, more than just being good. He demands your total surrender—the surrender of your mind, your heart, your body, every part of you—to the Lordship of Christ. If you have a doubt in your heart that you have totally surrendered to Christ, do it now. Make sure of your salvation. Make certain that you know Christ. Repent of your sins. Confess your sins, acknowledge them and turn from them. Receive Jesus Christ into your heart by faith, making a total commitment to Him, and to Him alone. End your life well, to the glory of God.

For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment; And spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly; And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes condemned them with an overthrow, making them an ensample unto those that after should live ungodly; what shall it be for you and I if we follow suit….[2Peter 2:4-8].

I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, [that] I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live: That thou mayest love the LORD thy God, [and] that thou mayest obey his voice, and that thou mayest cleave unto him: for he [is] thy life, and the length of thy days: that thou mayest dwell in the land which the LORD sware unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them.[Deuteronomy 30: 19-20]


A Civil Rights Leader, Underrated: Rev. Jesse Jackson

By Linden Beckford Jr.

Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr. is a man who needs to be recognized as a Civil Rights Warrior. They say that you can judge a man by his track record. It can never be said that Rev. Jackson has not put in much work. Not only has he put in work, he continues to be putting in work in 2017.

As a young man, Jackson stood for his rights and dignity in the early 1960’s. This was while he was an undergraduate student at North Carolina AT&T University. His activism in the movement goes back to this time. He is truly a man who has earned his stripes!

It is a fact that we all are all a sum of our life experiences. With that said, Jim Crow in South Carolina during the youth of Rev.Jackson as well as his first year at University of Illinois, shaped and molded him. He comes from the generation of Stokely Carmichael, Huey P.Newton, Ray “Masai”Hewitt, Alprentice “Bunchy” Carter and Muhammad Ali.

One of things that makes Rev. Jackson stand out is that he was able to represent the bridge between traditional Afro-American culture and the rising militants of the 1960’s. We tend to overlook Rev. Jackson’s participation in the Selma to Montgomery marches. The documentary “Eyes on The Prize” as well as the movie “Selma” do not show Rev. Jesse Jackson!

It is disturbing to see how the younger generation is being brainwashed to believe that Rev. Jesse Jackson is an “ambulance chaser” when it comes to injustices in the Black community. I beg your pardon!! Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. selected Rev. Jackson to head the Chicago branch of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference’s (SCLC) economic arm, Operation Breadbasket.

As time progressed, Rev.Jackson’s chant, “I Am Somebody,” was in concert with Dr. King’s declaration “Black Is Beautiful.” Anyone who suggests that Dr. King was not preaching Blackness is ill informed. Jackson would sport a big Afro and sport a colorful dashiki. He would clearly exhibit how unapologetically Afro-American he is. This is something that present day haters do not get! His running for the President during the 1980’s opened the door for Barack Obama. Therefore, without Rev. Jesse Jackson, there would have been no President Barack Obama!

Let us not forget, Rev. Jackson having Africa on the brain. He was involved in the Anti-Apartheid Movement during the 1980’s and was very influential in having Blacks in North America referring to ourselves as African-Americans. That was a positive move. Do not pay attention to the naysayer/reactionary elements!

Rev. Jackson has demonstrated that he is “No Coward Soldier”. There is no doubt that when the “Great Getting’ Up Morning” comes, the Lord will say to Rev. Jackson, “Servant, Well Done!”

Shaun King: The New Civil Rights and the “Dip” Sparked Inspiration at the University of Redlands

By Angela M. Coggs

On Wednesday, September 27, long before Shaun King arrived on the well-lit stage of Memorial Chapel on the University of Redlands campus, there were continuous rumblings, inside and outside, of a very diverse group of people heading into the large, soon to be, packed room. King, journalist, humanitarian, activist and the Senior Justice Writer for the New York Daily News, is amongst the most compelling voices: a humane and passionate advocate for justice and families, and an extremely visible fundraiser for victims of brutality and discrimination. His topic of choice was “The New Civil Rights.”

It is difficult to ignore that there are crucial conversations undulating across North America—conversations happening on social media, on campuses, in the streets and around dinner tables. In greater numbers, people are talking about real empowerment and liberation for historically disadvantaged groups. When it comes to the Black Lives Matter movement, they’re talking specifically about human dignity for African Americans.

“Shaun King visiting Southern California was truly a breath of fresh air. Hearing him speak was not only a modern-day history lesson, but also a call to action that every one of us could participate in. It does not have to be grand in scale to be effective, nor does it require an army of people,” explained Barbara Franklin, graduate student at A.T. Still University.  “It simply takes everyday people, like you and me, who are sensitive to the critical condition our country is currently in and are committed to finding small, simple ways to make sure our tomorrow is better than today.”

Absent was the large group of protesters that many of the attendees expected. Conservations of tickets holders outside the venue echoed their surprise of how calm the evening was. Some mentioned expecting to see a group of Trump supporters to make an appearance and cause a disturbance. Although many closely observed the lone attendee proudly wearing a “Make America Great Again” hat. HE entered the chapel and sat in the middle of the room, as if he, silently, wanted to make sure King was aware of his presence.

King is known for his use of social media as a platform to highlight and amplify cases of police brutality, racial discrimination, sparking discussions on civil rights and shaping the way people understand racial injustice today. He recounted an email he received from an old college friend in July 2014 that ignited his life in the direction of work as a social influencer. The email contained a link to what would become the viral video known as the unjust and unwarranted death of an unarmed black man, Eric Garner. King explained that watching the disturbing footage of the police brutality on Garner led to his passion for the issue, “that latched itself on, till [the point] where I couldn’t let go,” A few weeks later, he received another email that set a fire in his spirit. The email contained a livestream video footage of the brutal shooting of Michael Brown. He knew our country was hurting and that we were in trouble.

“It is hard to understand where we are in the scheme of history,” King explained. “[But] all of you have a gut feeling that something is wrong in our country.”

As he spoke and the evening progressed, it was clear that he was making a positive impact and his message resonated among the crowd.

“Imagine someone just killed the person who matters most to you,” described King. “The pain I saw in the streets was [that] tangible.”

Before long, King began to realize that these killings are not happening as infrequently as reported by the news outlets. He was shocked to discover that unarmed black men, women and children weren’t just killed by the police a few times a year, but not so uncommonly now, upwards to ten times a day. By sharing videos that demonstrated clear cases of police brutality on his social media, King thought, alike many concerned, like minded Americans, someone would be held responsible. But by December of 2014, he realized that “there would be no justice, no matter how many protests or retweets.” The current state of the country was fogging and unclear and during that moment of his life, King described himself as in a “funk.” He admitted that he never have worked so hard in his life without any reward.

After explaining how his spirit of activism was born, King enlightened the audience on Leopold von Ranke, well known as the father of history. After taking a history class, that he unsuccessfully tried to drop, King thought “what am I going to learn from this guy?” King admitted that, surprisingly, he learned a very in important lesson that cultivated his understanding of the growth of humanity. According to Ranke, he found that, after mapping human beings throughout history, that we do not get better and better over time– technology certainly does, but humanity does not. Instead, throughout history, humanity has moments where we peak and moments where we dip.

The lesson King learned from Ranke sparked a study of his own. During the Charlottesville white supremacy demonstrations, King used twitter as a way to research sociological trends. “Twitter is an amazing tool,” King continued. “Because you can see millions of thoughts at particular moments of history.”

According to King, there was a recurring question among twitter users:  “How can we be going back in time?” King explains that this comes from the notion that human beings are consistently getting better. Pointing to the climax of an exponential bar graph, King joked, “that would make Donald Trump peak humanity.” The laughter from the audience was an indication that they certainly did not agree with that statement.

By referencing historical tragedies such as the Transatlantic Slave Trade, the Holocaust or Rwanda genocide, King illustrated that humanity does not just ripen with age. “If we are getting better and better, how do we explain that?” King asked.

“Last year 121 unarmed black men, women and children were killed by American policemen,” shares King. “We would have to go back to 1902 to find that many black people lynched in a year.” King goes on to define “unarmed” by sharing with the audience that he had to remove an instance of police brutality from an article where a black man was killed carrying just a spoon, because that was considered to be a weapon, emphasizing the idea that these deaths aren’t justified by a self-defense claim.

“Somehow we like to look back at injustice and say it is wrong,” shares King. “But struggle to find injustice in front of us.” King further explains that if we do not understand what phase humanity is in, society cannot advance.

“It is easy as hell to find yourself in a dip, but hard as hell to get out of it,” shared King. With that being said, King described to the audience how to predict when a dip will occur and how humanity can get out of the dip.

The dip ensues when the status quo is challenged, confronted. King further particularizes that whenever there is an innovation that disturbs or threatens those in power, humanity plummets. The most modern innovation was the election of America’s first black President, Barack Obama. King explained that this innovation resulted in a steady increase of hate crimes during the Obama administration, and ultimately the election of Donald Trump.

It is going take four things for humanity to get out of this dip. “First, it’s going take an enormous amount of energy and second, it’s going to take people,” reveals King. “Third, it’s going take organization, something we are struggling with, and fourth, it’s going take hope.”

Often people wonder what role they  would play in the Civil Rights Movement, but King reveals that we “don’t have to wonder who [we] would have been in a previous time, because we are in a time that requires just as much energy, people, organization, hope, and now.” With that thought in mind, the entire audience rose in applause.

“The connections Mr. King’s visit facilitates among like-minded locals are invaluable.  Filling a large chapel with local Black Lives Matter supporter’s shows everyone—allies and detractors—that we’re here, and that we’re actively promoting inclusion and justice,” explained Marianne Farretta, a local Redlands professional.

Farretta further noted, “I found Mr. King’s observation that our humanity is not continuously improving, but rather dips and peaks, both intimidating and encouraging; we’re not crazy—things really are this bad.  But true American values—not Make America Great Again values—true American values of free speech and worth inherent to all skin colors, all cultures, and all classes—have carried us through low times before.”

Overall, this is the message America needs right now.  In the last couple of months, I have been encouraged by high visibility, high privilege leaders using their status to denigrate intolerance.  And while that outpouring does not heal the divide, and does not stop the police killings of unarmed black men, and does not balance out other transgressions; it offers hope that the scales will tip and we will emerge again from what Mr. King calls “The Dip.”

At one point in the evening King asserted that we needed to stay “woke.” He stopped and turned his attention to the interpreter who was seated at the far right side of the stage. King then stated, “I’m curious. What did you sign for “woke?” The interpreter repeats the gesture and King smiled and replied, “That’s cool, I like that.” Both the audience erupted with laughter.

Shaun King visiting Southern California was truly a breath of fresh air. Hearing him speak was not only a modern-day history lesson, but also a call to action that each and every one of us have the opportunity to participate in. It does not have to be grand in scale to be effective, nor does it require an army of people,” explained Barbara Franklin, graduate student at A.T. Still University.  “It simply takes everyday people, like you and me, who are sensitive to the critical condition our country is currently in and are committed to finding small, simple ways to make sure our tomorrow is better than today.”

By the end of the evening, that lone, self-identified Trump supporter that entered the Chapel wearing the distinct red baseball Make America Great Again now blended in with the otherwise diverse, yet likeminded group of social justice activists. Apparently, he had decided to take off his hat at some point during the evening. This writer wanted to inquire about what exactly made him remove his hat but he amalgamated into the sea of individuals. Maybe that night was the first time that he actually sat down and took note to the real issues at hand.