The black communities live in a state of crises. It is a wonder or to
the glory of God, we have been able to make the progress that we have
made. Sometimes when I am tempted to despair, as I study the conditions
of our people, I remember where we were, the enemies that we have had
to face, and then hope and gratitude returns. I am convinced that we
as a people would have been annihilated or in a far worse state than
we are, had not God been on our side.
I know that there are those who question the Thanksgiving season or
who believe that to recognize or participate in traditional thanksgiving
exercises are dismissing or treating lightly the bloody history of Thanksgiving
as it relate to Native Americans. Without trying to address the criticisms,
I believe that everyday should be an occasion for thanksgiving. However,
it does help to reinforce daily practices when there is an annual or
periodic time where there is a greater concentration upon the daily
practice. There is a Scriptural reference, which says, “In all
things give thanks.” Granted that some people may think it is
impossible to achieve, others do not even try, still others may think
it is stupid or illogical to try to be thankful in a time of crises.
Still most would agree that while the crises is real but an internal
crisis can be avoided with an attitude of gratitude. We may not be able
to stop a crisis or change crises, but what we think about the crises
will influence our internal state of being.
With the above consideration, I want to discuss what I believe to be
the major crises in our community. I know that there are those who would
argue that violence, internal and racist violence, occupies the top
place. Others would argue that it is substance abuse, others would put
it in economic terms, and others would say AIDS. There are those who
would say incarceration, and still others would point to natural disasters,
etc. Still others would put the emphases on racism in it various manifestations.
While all of the above are serious, but I believe the #1 crisis is health
related. A long time ago, I remember a very rich man in our community;
in fact, the rumor was he owned everything in the block, including the
poolroom. Repeatedly, he would say, “I would give every penny
if I could buy my health back.” He was a very sick man. If you
want to know, what we lead in, it is sickness. And while I am sure,
there are those who would agree on the importance of health, even if
they would not put it at the top. Yet, it is the crises that we seem
to give least attention.
This morning, as I write this article, I conversed with a man who is
going into the hospital tomorrow. It is for a prostate operation. He
said, “We need to take care of ourselves. I gave greater attention
to my dogs than myself. I felt alright, but when I went in for a test,
they discovered I had prostate problems.” I have watched, and
I know we all have, people taking greater care of their cars than their
bodies and minds. People will put anything in their stomachs and minds,
and will put only premium gas in their cars. I have seen people eating
health-destroying sandwiches while polishing their cars and checking
beneath the hood. They want to make sure that their cars are “looking
good and running good.” While their bodies and minds are deteriorating.
Someone has said that if we do not address our health crises, when we
arrive at the promise land it will be on crutches or in ambulances or
on some life-saving machine. We will not be able to celebrate our liberation
the way the Hebrew Israelites did when they were delivered from the
bondage of Egypt according to the Bible.
In 2005, in conjunction with the Million More Movement, I walked from
Brooklyn to New York. (I was interrupted by Katrina and devoted a week
to addressing that crises.) I wanted to call attention to the crises
of health in our community. I was 75 years old when I made the walk.
I remember a conversation that I had with Minister Louis Farrakhan.
I conveyed to him my intentions to make the walk and my concern for
the state of health in our community, in particular, but in America
in general. He almost came out of his chair as he exclaimed, “If
you do that at 75, it would deliver a powerful challenge to our people
and I will surely help. I will put it on satellite.” When there
is a discussion regarding health, it is generally made a governmental
or corporate responsibility. Surely, government and corporations should
be held accountable for their actions or non-action. There is a governmental
responsibility to protect the people and to promote programs and policies
that make for health and corporate American should be held accountable
for its responsibility to participate with government in promoting practices
to effectuate optimum health. However, it should be emphasized, we have
an individual obligation to take care of ourselves.
With that bit of background, I want to sound a note of urgency regarding
two relatively recent health related developments:
Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA)
or “The Super Bug”
As if we did not have enough super challenges, now we have the challenge
of a “Super Bug.” This super bug, a bacteria, is a devious,
persistence fighter. It has developed the capacity to survive former
penicillin shots. I am almost tempted to reflect on nature or God as
giving every living thing intelligence. Thus enabling the survival of
living creatures. Some of us remember Charles Darwin’s theory
- Survival of the Fittest. This was done according to Darwin, paradoxically
to ensure life at its highest quality. I say paradoxically, because
one would think that with the death or the removal of certain elements
of life, it would weaken life. But, this is not the state of the case.
In some sense, it is similar to cutting away branches on a rose bush
to get better roses. So we, homosapiens (thinking creatures), having
developed the highest intelligence, must live with competitors or adversaries
who too want to survival.
Now we must take heed to ourselves to protect ourselves against the
super bug, while our scientists find another way to outsmart these invisible
The Timbuktu Learning Center, in its weekly forums, has had one (1)
workshop on the Super Bug. Another is scheduled for Thursday, November
29, 2007 from 7pm to 9pm. You should plan to be there. In the meanwhile,
become informed regarding MRSA. Wash your hands often. Stay home if
you are ill. Shun, as best that you can, people and places where the
bug maybe operating.
To be continued next week…
Attend the Timbuktu Learning Center’s weekly Thursday night forums
7pm to 9pm held at the House of the Lord Church.
Attend NRLAA’s monthly forum Focus on Africa the 2nd Saturday
from 2pm to 4pm.
Organizing Meetings regarding Darfur every Thursday - 12noon @ the House
of the Lord Church
Keep abreast of our Darfurian activities by checking our web page @
For further Information on all events, contact The House of the Lord
Church @ (718) 596-1991.