On Sunday, September 17, 2007, after preaching
at the 8am and 12noon worship services at the House of the Lord Church,
we marched in the Annual African American Day Parade in Harlem, New
York. Each year, the brotherhood of our church organize a contingent
for the parade. This year, we added another group that marched under
the SAVE DARFUR banner as we had done in the West Indian Day Parade
on Labor Day 2007. The National Religious Leaders of African Ancestry
Concerned About Darfur (NRLAA) sponsored the marchers.
In the evening, we funeralized Senior Minister Josephine Madison.
She was a 45-year member of our church. Primarily, she was responsible
for raising funds for our weekly radio broadcast. The broadcast is
aired Sunday mornings at 10:30am on WWRL 1600AM. Monday, September
18th, we carried the remains of “Sister Joe” to Evergreen
Cemetery, where she was laid to rest. She will be sorely missed. She
was an integral part of our church. She was consistent, committed
and generous. The church occupied the top place in her life. She was
Jamaican and exhibited the spirit of the great Marcus Garvey.
On Tuesday, September 19th, I spent the day in a series of meetings
regarding the Atlantic Yard Project. As time progresses parts of the
Community Benefits Agreement (CBA), where our organization, the Downtown
Brooklyn Neighborhood Alliance (DBNA), is concerned, near time for
On Wednesday, September 20th, I conducted our weekly Noon Day Prayer
and Meditation Worship. I spoke on, “Putting God First.”
I said, “If we put God’s business first, God will put
our business first.” I quoted one of Jesus’ statements
from the Sermon on the Mount, “Seek ye first the kingdom of
God and all these things (material things) shall be added unto you.”
In the evening, I spoke at the 13th Annual Commemoration of the MAAFA
at the St. Paul Community Baptist Church, pastored by the Rev. Dr.
Johnny Ray Youngblood. The theme was “The Year of the Jubilee
and the MAAFA; a Time of Reflection, Reconciliation, Renewal and Recreation.
The MAAFA (pronounced Mah-ah-fah) is a program that offers varied,
creative expressions designed to remind and educate regarding the
horrors of the trans-Atlantic slave trade and to motivate and inspire
people of African Ancestry to personal heights of achievement and
racial solidarity. I was embraced with affection and appreciation
that bordered on reverence. Rev. Youngblood gave me over 3 hours to,
as he put it, “stretch out” or to speak on various subjects.
The over 2000 people in attendance, sat in riveted attention, except
for frequent ovations, sometimes standing, and verbal responses as
I made my presentation.
I was asked, among other things, to say who I am and what I have been
about, answer questions, then take a break. “The people love
you here and just want to know more about you; where you were born,
where you were raised, and why you do what you do,” said Rev.
Youngblood. “So take you time. Feel free and say what’s
on your heart.” Then I was told to take a break, for another
part of the program, then come back and preach, or lecture, or whatever.
I did it all. There was another first I am compelled to mention. As
I was speaking, near the end, a person came forward and dropped a
$10 bill at my feet. Playfully, I paused, picked it up, looked at
it, before I could put it back, people from all aisles of the church
enthusiastically moved to the stage and dropped money at my feet.
I asked, “Will this continue for as long as I speak? For I can
be here all night. Do I need to send home for a suitcase?”
It was the first time in my near 50 years of ministry that I had been
given such liberty. I cannot thank enough, Rev. Youngblood and the
St. Paul Membership. Not only for an unforgettable evening on the
MAAFA program, but for all that they have done, and they have done
a lot, on the Darfur crises.
On Thursday, September 21st, I joined hundred of black clad protestors,
who had assembled at the Borough President’s Office in Brooklyn,
New York, to demand justice for the Jena 6. The rally was organized
by Assemblyman Karim Camara. 12noon, Bob Law organized another rally
at City Hall, which was well attended. On Monday, September 17th,
Councilman Al Vann convened a Press Conference at City Hall. The significant
attendance at these rallies reveals the deep pervasive concern that
people have about this issue. Thousands gathered in Jena, Louisiana.
Michael Bell was to be sentenced on this day. (As we continue to inform
and organize around this issue, on this Thursday, September 27th,
there will be a rally on the Jena 6 at the House of the Lord Church,
at 7 pm. The organizers includes Councilman Charles Barron, Assemblyman
Karim Camara and Councilman Al Vann. As well, people who participated
in the other rallies, will also be present.)
At 12noon on the 21st, the National Religious Leaders of African Ancestry
Concerned About Darfur, Inc. (NRLAA) celebrated its 50th consecutive
meeting with a luncheon at the House of the Lord Church. It was also
a pre-anniversary reception. The anniversary will take place on October
18th, at the HOLC. It is a remarkable achievement that the organization
has been able to sustain a consecutive weekly meeting for such a long
period of time. Particularly, when the issue is thousands of miles
away. Later in the evening, at the Church, we funeralized Orlando
Watkis, the older brother of our Senior Minister, Renaldo Watkis,
our churches Northeast District Leader.
On Friday morning, September 22nd at 6am, I flew to Kansas City, Missouri,
for a 2-day conference on Africa, sponsored by the National Black
United Front (NBUF). I was a founder and the 1st chair of the organization.
I resigned in 1985. Miraculously, NBUF has continued for 29 years.
It has done so without a paid staff or grants from any foundation
or charitable organization. It has sustained its independence, grassroots,
nationalist, pan-Africanist, radical and revolutionary spirit that
has made it effective across the years. Friday was devoted to the
organization’s Central Committee concerns. The agenda included,
1) A look at history, 2) highlighting NBUF’s achievements, 3)
organizing the Youth, 4) strengthening local chapters, and, 5) the
transition of NBUF’s leadership, etc. Dr. Conrad Worrell, who
is the chairman of the organization, succeeded me. On Saturday, the
focus was on Africa. In the morning, Dr. Margaret Lee, delivered a
brilliant lecture on the “Modern Scramble on Africa.”
She focused primarily on the USA and China.
In the afternoon, Minister Akbar Muhammad and I debated the crises
in Darfur. Each of us was given an hour to present, after which we
were given 15 minutes each to exchange questions, and then an hour
to respond to questions from the audience. Minister Akbar Muhammad,
who is the international representative for the Nation of Islam, was
most informative as he discussed his living and traveling in Africa.
Minister Muhammad’s position is really the government’s
position. He has traveled extensively and spoken forcefully in defense
of the Sudanese government. Several months ago when I returned from
Chad, he had led a government-sponsored trip to Sudan. We had a rather
fiery debate on KISS FM. It was this fiery exchange that precipitated
a conference, called by NBUF’s leadership, to consider continuing
the debate at its Annual Conference in July ‘2007. Later it
was thought, it would be better to spend a day on Africa, with Darfur
being the major focus.
I responded to Minister Akbar on this wise… To be continued…
On Thursday, September 27, 2007, @ 7pm there will be a rally at the
House of the Lord Church, 415 Atlantic Avenue, Brooklyn, New York,
in support of the Jena 6 sponsored by Rev. Dr. Herbert Daughtry, Council
Members Charles Barron and Al Vann and Assemblyman Karim Camara.
Hold the date – The National Religious Leaders Concerned About
Darfur will sponsor its first Anniversary Celebration on Thursday,
October 18, 2007, from 6pm to 8pm at the House of the Lord Church,
located at 415 Atlantic Avenue, Brooklyn, New York.
Organizing Meetings regarding Darfur every Thursday - 12noon @ the
House of the Lord Church
Keep abreast of our Darfurian activities by checking our web page
BCAT Program every 2nd and 4th Sunday @ 2p.m.
For further Information on all events, contact The House of the Lord
Church @ (718) 596-1991.