Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Kings take back seat to Ferguson

Aug. 19, 2014 I’m a firm believer that things happen the way they should when they should and really we have little to no control over how. Monday, I spent much of the day working on a few things but mostly it seems as if at least an equal time was spent listening to folks explain how I needed to blog and why it was important for me to do so. Different folks of different genders and backgrounds and careers and jobs with seemingly no common agendas as it pertained to me other than harassing me about blogging or communicating as the case may be. So it was a day when Pierce Welch explained that he was going to an Oak Park outing under the name “Indivizible,” billed as an African-American assembly”. My man Brian Bedford had opened my eyes to the concept a couple of months ago, but I’d slept on attending until Monday. When I decided to go, I was unaware the speaker would be author and entrepreneur John Hope Bryant, who grabbed the terms powerful, poignant and relevant and made them his when he touched the crowd at The Guild in Oak Park. Nor did I know Mayor Johnson would bring in Dr. Claybon Lea, Jr., a pastor from Mount Calvary Baptist Church in Faifield. And I didn’t know Dr. Lea was Pierce Welch’s cousin. Welch and I were supposed to go to the gathering together but a communication gaffe prevented that from happening. And Welch didn’t know Dr. Lea would be there until Mayor Johnson introduced him. When I approached the theatre, immediately I saw Mayor Johnson walking inside and then brother Larry Lee from the Sacramento Observer. Quickly, there was a feeling this would be a different night. I’d already planned to blog about the Kings and how they’d made more than a few moves this summer I viewed as questionable. Omri Casspi’s name came to mind immediately. Yet, the Kings quickly took a back seat on this night when topics such as Michael Brown and Ferguson, Mo., and the images of impact brought to mind by the words of Bryant and the pictures of CNN. The situation in Ferguson is so overwhelming it is almost beyond belief. We have an unarmed 18-year-old with no previous record walking down the street during the late Saturday morning hours suddenly murdered by a policeman. We come to find out the policeman is white, the 18-year-old is black and the town of Ferguson (which I’d never heard of before last week) is predominantly black, while the police force is predominantly white. What roles any or all of those factors played in the situation’s outcome no one truly knows. We all can speculate. I just know the Ferguson deal became even more real when I was told that one of my son’s better friends currently is working on a house in the same neighborhood of the killing and the subsequent turmoil. The fact that I was an 18-year-old African-American male and that my now 23-year-old African-American male son walks around the neighborhood going from point A to point B adds relevance to the story. The fact my son’s friend who is working in Ferguson is white also clouds the situation because who knows how all of this is affecting him. It makes me wonder if whites ever wonder or imagine what it is like to be black and vice versa. Hands up – Don’t shoot. I'd never heard the phrase before the past couple of weeks. However, I’ll never forget its significance.

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