Rev. Daughtry's weekly article that appears in the NY Daily Challenge every Wednesday and Friday

THIS TIME IT’S FIFTY, FIVE AND A CAR - Part I

The report I heard said fifty bullets were fired by the police into a car, in which, three unarmed young black men were returning from a bachelor’s party, killing one, critically wounding another and injuring a third, Sean Bell, Joseph Guzman and Trent Benefield respectively.


I immediately thought about Amadou Diallo. It was forty-one bullets fired by four police officers at an unarmed African male in a vestibule. It was what, the late attorney Johnnie Cochran called a “death chamber.” And before Amadou there was Eleanor Bumpers, a three hundred-pound arthritic grandmother, killed by the blast from a police shotgun while seated in her own apartment and before Ms. Bumpers there was Luis Biaz. Several police officers emptied their revolvers into his frail body while he was corralled behind a fence. There have been many many others. Many of the victims’ faces and their loved ones came to my mind as we journeyed to St. Mary’s Hospital in Jamaica, Queens.


Rev. Sharpton had called for a prayer vigil. I had spoken to him the night before. He conveyed to me all of the information he had been able to gather. “When I heard it,” he said, “it took me a half an hour to digest it all. I couldn’t believe it.”


When I arrived at the hospital, the crowd had already begun to assemble. Media was everywhere, interviewing sundry persons and taking pictures from all angles. When Rev. Sharpton arrived we went into the hospital to meet Ms. Guzman. Going outside we walked across the street to a park. Standing on a bench we addressed the hundreds of supporters. As we spoke, the crowd kept swelling. Sean Bell’s family, mother, father, grandmother and fiancée were led straight from the church by Bishop Lester Williams joined the crowd. Nicole and her mother stood on the bench with Rev. Sharpton, State Senator Malcolm Smith, Council Members Sanders and Barron, Viola Plummer and me.


There were speeches and prayers. Periodically, Rev. Sharpton would call out to the crowd, “How many bullet?” Then would commence the count, one, two, three . . . . . until fifty was reached.


Nicole had on an old jacket, jeans and sneakers. It was obviously not much attention had been paid to her appearance. The day before, Saturday, November 25, it would have been different. It would have been wedding clothes, with great attention given to all aspects of beautification.


With family members, we walked to our cars. The crowd was pushing trying to get close to the family and the ubiquitous cameras. Later, we gathered at the Christian Center Baptist Church. The church was packed, outside people milled around, weeping, whispering and shaking their heads in unbelief. A constant flow of people tried to console the family. There were more speeches, prayers and even an altar call. Afterwards, Ms. Bell invited all the supporters to her home.


It was now three p.m., for the third consecutive Sunday I had been absent from my pulpit. I had decided that I would be where I was needed most -that would be at the St. Mary’s Hospital with the family and supporters. I was confident that my parishioners would understand. Driving back to my church, where our ministers were waiting for the meeting I had convened, I couldn’t get Nicole out of my mind.


To Be Continued: SAVE THE PEOPLE OF DARFUR


Human Rights’ Day Prayer & Rally
December 11, 2006

Where: Assemble for Prayer:
11:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
(Isaiah Wall)
East 42nd Street & 1st Avenue NYC
Save Darfur Rally:
Noon – 2:00 p.m.
Dag Hammarskjold Plaza 47th Street & 2nd Avenue, NYC

Attention Clergy: participate in Sabbath on Sudan II. . .in your religious ceremonies on December 8, 9 & 10 we ask that you include reference to Darfur
For further information call l (718) 596-1991or our see website: www.holnj.org

The Rev. Dr. Herbert Daughtry is featured in The Daily Challenge’s Wednesday and Weekend Edition. Reverend Daughtry, known as the “People’s Pastor,” is the National Presiding Minister of the House of the Lord Churches (HOLC). He also pastors the Brooklyn Church. A prolific writer, his books include “No Monopoly on Suffering, Blacks and Jews in Crown Heights,” “My Beloved Community,” “Effectual Prayer,” and “Tupac, Letters to a Son.” HOLC has a weekly broadcast which airs on WWRL 1600 on Sunday from 10:30am-11:00am. He is also on BCAT the 2nd and 4th Sundays at 2pm. Website: www.holnj.org