Journal of the People’s Pastor

“Writing The History I’ve Lived, Living The History I Write!”

DARFUR DIARY

The Sean Bell Notebook

“He Would Have Been 25”



On Sunday, May 18th, he would have been 25. He would have been married for almost 2 years, if the police had not killed him while he was in his own car headed home. There were two events that marked the occasion. The family gathered at the cemetery in Port Washington, New York. I can still see the rolling hills, the open gravesite and smell the green grass when we carried him there in November. While at the cemetery his mother brought along a New York Yankee baseball cap and placed it on the gravesite. Sean loved baseball. It is said he had a promising future in the sport. After gathering strength from her faith that Sean was very much alive and watching over them, she said some of the most profound words that I have heard from the lips of a grieving parent, “Sean would have been a famous baseball player, but now, he is famous for something much more powerful – justice.” Her action and words should be an inspiration to all who have gone through the valley through which the Bells are passing. She has extracted purpose from a purposeless killing. She has, transformed pain into power and in her own hurt she has been a help to others.

It reminds me of Mrs. Annie Brannon, whose 15-year old son, Randy Evans, was killed by police officer Robert Torsney, November 1976. The following year, November 1977, the jury pretty much acquitted the officers. The community was furious, comparable to the feelings that pervade the community today. We commenced organizing with the objectives that the memory of Randy Evans would never be forgotten. Empowering the people and creating a movement, we achieved our objective. Among the many things that were accomplished on June 28th at the House of the Lord Church we will be having the 29th Annual Randy Evans Luncheon. Since 1979, we have awarded 10 college-bound students $1,500 each in memory of Randy Evans. Our speaker this year will be Congresswoman Yvette Clarke. She was one of our awardees. Many students have succeeded in pursuing their careers. Some of them return each year. I used to say to Mrs. Brannon that if Randy had lived it is not likely that he would have influenced as many people as he has. And, the cause that came into existence resulting from his death may not have been achieved in his life had he lived.
Later in the evening, there was a birthday remembrance for Sean Bell at the 212 Club on East 65th Street in Manhattan. It is a narrow, long place with two floors. It was 7:30 when I arrived. When I ascended the small, winding stairs, seated to the front of the crowded room, about 20 feet away, were Rev. Sharpton, dressed in a black pin-stripped suite, Carl Andrews and in between them, sat Governor David Paterson.

I went directly to Rev Sharpton. Jokingly, I said, “Have you heard that David has become governor...” before I could complete the sentence, David jumped up and hugged me. We had a big laugh. It was like old times. The governor and I had fought many battles together. I always had the highest admiration for him. I was delighted to see that he has not changed. It is hard to believe he is governor.

Mrs. Bell with daughter Deloris arrived. Mr. Bell did not attend. Then came Joe Guzman, Nicole with her mother and sister. Congressman Charlie Rangel dropped by. He did not stay long. He greeted Mrs. Bell and Nicole. Also Terry Williams, from the Williams Agency, Allison Williams, whom I met for the first time and who promised she would participate in our benefit for Darfur, was introduced to Nicole.
Nicole was beautiful. She still wore black. She gallantly tried to blend in. She would smile politely from time to time. But traces of pain were evident in her face.

During the time there, Rev. Sharpton and I discussed organizing a Father’s Day contribution from the church for Mr. Bell. He said he wanted to get about 25 churches to take a Father’s Day offering for the Bell family. Also, we discussed the plans that we had formulated the day before at NAN’s headquarters. After the rally, Bishop Williams of Community Church of Christ, Mrs. Bell’s pastor, had brought a flyer in which each Borough was identified to do a Father’s Day March and Rally on Saturday, June 14th. Bishop Williams would organize Queens. I would organize Brooklyn. We have to identify coordinators for the Bronx, Manhattan and Staten Island. The plan is to assemble at a given place and march to a designated site. Each Borough would choose it’s own place of assemblage and targeted site. The march will begin from each location at 11:00am. The rally will start at 12:00 noon in the selected site of each Borough. Participants are urged to bring banners and placards not attached to sticks.

We thought this would be a grand opportunity to organize men in particular, but everybody, in general. Then we would follow up the next day with a fundraiser for the Bell family. The plans for the march, in addition to the next act of civil disobedient, will be finalized on Thursday, May 22nd at the House of the Lord Church.

Upcoming Events

Attend the Timbuktu Learning Center’s weekly Thursday Night Community Forums. All Forums are held at the House of the Lord Church from 7pm to 9pm.

Join Operation Life Line if you need assistance or know someone who needs assistance with their mortgages as it relates to foreclosures, predatory lending and/or subprime lending.

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 @ HYPERLINK "http://www.holnj.org" www.holnj.org.

On Sunday, June 1, 2008 8am & 12noon worship experience – Rev. Dr. Herbert Daughtry’s sermon will focus on his 50 years of ministry and will e entitled “Reflections on my life an Ministry.” All are invited.

On Sunday. June 8, 2008, Rev. Leah Daughtry, Pastor of the House of the Lord Church in Washington, DC and CEO of the 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver, Colorado will be the guest preacher at the 12 noon Worship Service at the House of the Lord Church, located at 415 Atlantic Avenue.

On June 19–20, 2008, in honor of Juneteenth, The Downtown Brooklyn Neighborhood Alliance (DBNA) will host its Annual Emancipation Day Celebration. At 12noon on the 20th there will be an Unveiling & Dedication of a Plaque marking the stop on the Underground Railroad at the Old Bridge Street Church, which served as a safe house for runner away slaves. Many invited guest speakers. A Luncheon (invitation only) will follow with Dr. Adelaide Sanford as the keynote speaker. At 7pm, there will be a musical concert, free to the public, at the House of the Lord Church featuring The House of the Lord Anointed Voices, the renowned singer, Minister Lawrence Craig, Bishop Nathaniel Townsley & The Gospel Jubilee and many others. Dinner will start at 5pm (No cost with reservation). Contact Peggy Iman Washington, the Program Coordinator, @ (718) 596-1991 or (718) 797-2184.

On Saturday, June 28, 2008 at 2pm the 30th Annual Randolph Evans Memorial Scholarship Awards Ceremony and Reception will be held at the House of the Lord Church. Congresswoman Yvette Clarke will be the keynote speaker.

On Sunday June 29, 2008, Rev. Dawnique Daughtry-Pemberton, Pastor of the House of the Lord Church of Bergen County in Englewood, NJ will be the guest preacher at the 12 noon Worship Service at the House of the Lord Church, located at 415 Atlantic Avenue

NEED QUALITY CHILD CARE? – Call the Alonzo A. Daughtry Memorial Daycare Center Located at 333 Second Street, (Between 4th & 5th Avenues) downtown Brooklyn, NY @ (718) 499-2066. Immediate openings in a state of the arts center.