Category: Death

Remembering John Mack (1937 – 2018)

Civic leader John Wesley Mack was born on January 6, 1937, in Kingstree, South Carolina, to Abram Mack, a Methodist minister, and Ruth Wynita, a school teacher. Shortly after he was born, Mack’s family moved to Darlington, South Carolina. Mack attended North Carolina A&T State University, where he earned his B.S. degree in applied sociology in 1958. As a student, Mack was the head of the college’s NAACP student chapter. The following year, Mack was married to Harriett Johnson, an elementary school teacher he met through his college roommate; the couple went on to have three children together.

In 1960, Mack co-founded and became vice-chairman of the Commission on Appeal for Human Rights, an organization that incorporated members of Atlanta University, Morehouse, and Spelman Colleges, including such noted figures as Marion Wright Edelman, Julian Bond, and Reverend Otis Marsh. That same year, the students held sit-ins at Rich’s Department Store. During this time, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was arrested. 1960 was also the year that Mack obtained his M.A. degree in social work from Clark Atlanta University.

Shortly afterward, Mack and his family moved to Oxnard, California, as part of a social work fellowship established for him at Camarillo Hospital by his mentor Whitney Young. In 1964, upon completing his work at the Camarillo Hospital, Mack moved to Flint, Michigan, where a year later he became Executive Director of the Flint Urban League. It was in Flint that Mack focused on fair housing and voter registration issues.

In 1969, Mack became President of the Los Angeles Urban League, where he would serve until his retirement in 2005; the longest tenure of anyone in this position. With Mack as president, the Los Angeles Urban League became one of the country’s most successful non-profit organizations, generating an annual budget of $25 million while promoting issues of employment, education and economic development.

In 1977, Mack became co-founder and co-chair of the Los Angeles Black Leadership Coalition on Education, and in the early 1980s, he was appointed vice president of the United Way Corporation of Council Executives. In the late 1990s, Mack served as a Fellow in Residence at Harvard University, where he led a study group entitled “The Future of Urban America: Finding Solutions Through Strategic Partnership and Policy Advocacy.” In 2005, Mack was appointed President of the Board of Police Commissioners of the Los Angeles Police Department by Mayor Antonio R. Villaraigosa; he held this position for two consecutive years before being elected to the office of Vice President in 2007. Over the years Mack has been awarded by numerous different institutions, including Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund Black Women of Achievement, Operation Hope, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, and the California Afro American Museum.

 

Will White People Ever Be Labeled As Terrorists?

In light of the bombings in Boston, an article was brought to my attention that talked about race & how that impacts the way Americans view terrorism. The article talks about how “White privilege is knowing that even if the Boston Marathon bomber turns out to be white, his or her identity will not result in white folks generally being singled out for suspicion by law enforcement, or the TSA, or the FBI.”

In other words, if you’re White you won’t be labeled as a terrorist. That title seems to only apply to people with Brown or Black skin. There have been many White men who have either blown up buildings or  responsible for mass murders – think Timothy McVeigh (Oklahoma City bomber responsible for over 160 murders), Ted Kaczynski (the Unabomber who killed 3 people), James Holmes (mass shooting at the Colorado movie theater last year killing 12 people), the 2 White students who killed 15 people at Columbine, and who could forget Jeffrey Dahmer who killed 17 people back in the 1980’s. Society seems to deem these “incidents” as exceptions and proof that our government would never racially profile White people. Even Ted Kazczynski was only thought of as “militant” but not a terrorist.

It’ll be interesting to see how the Boston bombing situation plays out.

Read the article below –

Terrorism and Privilege: Understanding the Power of Whiteness by Tim Wise

As the nation weeps for the victims of the horrific bombing in Boston yesterday, one searches for lessons amid the carnage, and finds few. That violence is unacceptable stands out as one, sure. That hatred — for humanity, for life, or whatever else might have animated the bomber or bombers — is never the source of constructive human action seems like a reasonably close second.

But I dare say there is more; a much less obvious and far more uncomfortable lesson, which many are loathe to learn, but which an event such as this makes readily apparent, and which we must acknowledge, no matter how painful.

It is a lesson about race, about whiteness, and specifically, about white privilege.

I know you don’t want to hear it. But I don’t much care. So here goes.

White privilege is knowing that even if the Boston Marathon bomber turns out to be white, his or her identity will not result in white folks generally being singled out for suspicion by law enforcement, or the TSA, or the FBI.

White privilege is knowing that even if the bomber turns out to be white, no one will call for whites to be profiled as terrorists as a result, subjected to special screening, or threatened with deportation.

White privilege is knowing that if the bomber turns out to be white, he or she will be viewed as an exception to an otherwise non-white rule, an aberration, an anomaly, and that he or she will be able to join the ranks of Tim McVeigh and Terry Nichols and Ted Kaczynski and Eric Rudolph and Joe Stack and George Metesky and Byron De La Beckwith and Bobby Frank Cherry and Thomas Blanton and Herman Frank Cash and Robert Chambliss and James von Brunn and Robert Mathews and David Lane and Michael F. Griffin and Paul Hill and John Salvi and James Kopp and Luke Helder and James David Adkisson and Scott Roeder and Shelley Shannon and Dennis Mahon and Wade Michael Page and Byron Williams and Kevin Harpham and William Krar and Judith Bruey and Edward Feltus and Raymond Kirk Dillard and Adam Lynn Cunningham and Bonnell Hughes and Randall Garrett Cole and James Ray McElroy and Michael Gorbey and Daniel Cowart and Paul Schlesselman and Frederick Thomas and Paul Ross Evans and Matt Goldsby and Jimmy Simmons and Kathy Simmons and Kaye Wiggins and Patricia Hughes and Jeremy Dunahoe and David McMenemy and Bobby Joe Rogers and Francis Grady and Demetrius Van Crocker and Floyd Raymond Looker and Derek Mathew Shrout, among the pantheon of white people who engage in (or have plotted) politically motivated violence meant to terrorize and kill, but whose actions result in the assumption of absolutely nothing about white people generally, or white Christians in particular.

And white privilege is being able to know nothing about the crimes committed by most of the terrorists listed above — indeed, never to have so much as heard most of their names — let alone to make assumptions about the role that their racial or ethnic identity may have played in their crimes.

White privilege is knowing that if the Boston bomber turns out to be white, we  will not be asked to denounce him or her, so as to prove our own loyalties to the common national good. It is knowing that the next time a cop sees one of us standing on the sidewalk cheering on runners in a marathon, that cop will say exactly nothing to us as a result.

White privilege is knowing that if you are a white student from Nebraska — as opposed to, say, a student from Saudi Arabia — that no one, and I mean no one would think it important to detain and question you in the wake of a bombing such as the one at the Boston Marathon.

And white privilege is knowing that if this bomber turns out to be white, the United States government will not bomb whatever corn field or mountain town or stale suburb from which said bomber came, just to ensure that others like him or her don’t get any ideas. And if he turns out to be a member of the Irish Republican Army we won’t bomb Belfast. And if he’s an Italian American Catholic we won’t bomb the Vatican.

In short, white privilege is the thing that allows you (if you’re white) — and me — to view tragic events like this as merely horrific, and from the perspective of pure and innocent victims, rather than having to wonder, and to look over one’s shoulder, and to ask even if only in hushed tones, whether those we pass on the street might think that somehow we were involved.

It is the source of our unearned innocence and the cause of others’ unjustified oppression.

That is all. And it matters.

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The article can be found here: http://www.timwise.org

“There Are No Atheists In The Foxhole”

As a military man, my dad told me a long time ago that there is no such thing as an atheist when you’re on the battlefield. It has been declared that whenever someone is in distress regardless of their religious (dis)beliefs, they call on the name of God. Whether someone is in severe pain or has a family member on their deathbed, they often call out God’s name. Why is it that someone who has no association with religion whatsoever would even utter the name of Jesus or God? Well today is the day that proves JESUS is real. Real & alive!

Today is Resurrection Sunday, otherwise known as Easter, and I am proud to say that as a woman of God I am excited about what this day means for you & me. Resurrection Sunday is the MOST important day to all Christians.  Christians, Protestants, Lutherans, and even Catholics can all agree on the purpose of this day. Resurrection Sunday is the day that Jesus Christ rose from the grave, redeeming the entire human race. You see, the reason that I believe in Jesus Christ instead of any other religion is because Jesus is alive! What good does it do to worship a god who promotes vigilantism? Why believe in a god who is dead?  Why would I bow to a statue? Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism and the Muslim faith are vastly different but I serve the only living God.

So, what does this mean to you? This means because of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ and through his resurrection, we have the opportunity to receive the gift of salvation directly from the Lord.  Not from the Pope, not from a priest or a pastor but directly from God himself. Salvation guarantees us eternal life with God himself. This is so much better than getting an invitation to the White House! John 3:16 tells us “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son that whosoever believe in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life.”

Happy Resurrection Sunday! CHRIST HAS RISEN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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I Learned How To Drink & Drive

A couple of weekends ago, a friend was telling me how she was driving under the influence on New Year’s Eve. Of course, she knows better than to drink & drive but I suppose she thought she hadn’t had too much to drink and was perfectly capable of driving. I asked her why she didn’t give her keys to someone else and her response was “No worries, I was taught how to drive while drunk”. When I heard that, I almost dropped the phone!

At the time her comment seemed ludicrous but the more I thought about it, the more I thought about how parents are teaching their children things with the disclaimer of “Don’t do this but in case you do, here’s how.” In my friend’s instance, I’m sure she was taught not to drink & drive but in the event she found herself in a predicament where she did have a few drinks, then she should drive slowly and carefully.

Another illustration of this is when parents tell their teenage children not to have sex, but still arm them with birth control just in case. How can you teach someone NOT to do something but still give them the tools to get it done? I know, I know – kids are having sex anyway so it’s up to the parents to teach them about using protection. The flaw with this argument is that parents are essentially saying that it’s okay to have sex as long as you protect yourself – and that’s dead wrong.

I think that you should reinforce what you teach to your children and if they rebel, let them realize the consequences of their actions for themselves. It’s called “Tough Love” folks…

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What’s The Point of Living A Long Life?

I think that living too long is pointless. Old & young people alike often say that they want to live to be 100 years old. But why?! What can you possibly do at 89 or 93 that you didn’t get done when you were 75 years old?

Don’t get me wrong – it’s nice to be able to boast about how long you’ve lived and all of the things you’ve seen in your lifetime, but there aren’t too many other advantages of old age. I just think that everything that you wanted to accomplish should have been checked off your list when you were younger.

We all know that once you pass a certain age, quality of life diminishes. So what good could it possibly do to live a life of diminished quality? There are so many things that go “south” as you get older. Everything from deteriorating health to losing your longtime friends (who are also very old). Even your own family members probably aren’t visiting you that much. Your grandchildren & great-grandchildren have a life of their own and may only see or call you on your birthday or around the holidays, at best. As you get older, you just can’t do as much as when you were younger. And that’s just the normal cycle of life.

Personally, I’m afraid to get old. I know that aging is inevitable, but I’m not looking forward to all of the physical ailments that come with the aging process. I don’t want to live too long for fear that I’ll lose relevancy in this world.

I’m more concerned about having a full life, not a long one…

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