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

12-13-06

THIS TIME IT’S FIFTY, FIVE AND A CAR - Part V
And Now We Organize:

 

Tuesday, December 5, 2006
Dick Gidron, the first black Cadillac dealer in New York City, was unfairly treated by General Motors, according to Dick Gidron. The building he leased was owned by GM. Fire destroyed the property. There wasn’t any insurance. GM promised Gidron if he repaired the building they would sell it to him. Once the building was completed, costing Gidron millions, GM reneged on the promise.

We gathered in a press conference in front of GM building to support Gidron. Among the participants were the Reverends Al Sharpton, Franklin Richardson, Wendell Foster, Dennis Dillon, and I and other clergy. Also Hazel Dukes, president of NYS chapter of the NAACP.

Later, at 5 p.m. at District Council 1199 on the 33rd floor, the mountains travailed but this time, they brought forth more than a mouse. Over a hundred and fifty leaders, representing a broad cross section of New York leadership, crowded into the conference room. The meeting was chaired by Rev. Al Sharpton. Other key organizers included Reverends Calvin Butts, Franklin Richardson, Bishops Lester Williams and Williams and I, also the secretary treasurer of 1199. The purpose of the meeting was to organize an appropriate strategy to end the abuse of police power.

There were many suggestions discussed: 1) Boycott (already there has been a call for 50 day boycott, a day for every bullet. The idea was put forward by the New Black Panther Party on December 2 in a march in Jamaica Queens. In another meeting an idea was floated to boycott federation stores. And still another boycott idea which came forth from the Queens leadership was to boycott stores in Southeast Queens). 2) Community Hearings. Rev. Butts had already had hearings in Harlem. 3) Special Prosecutor. 4) Fundraising for Nicole Paultre and her children. 5) Resignation of Commissioner Kelly. This idea was further expanded to include the top Escalon. It was pointed out that to remove the police commissioner and leave the same structure in place would not make a lot of difference. 6) Congressional Hearings. It was remembered we had held two special congressional hearings in the 80’s. Significantly, Congressman John Conyers who was chair of the sub committee of the Judiciary Committee is now the chair of the entire committee. The Grand Council of Guardians Incorporated distributed their 11 recommendations.
There were two agreements: 1) A March along 5th Avenue on December 16, details to be worked out. The idea was to influence Christmas shopping. 2) Organizing two committees. A) legal/policy committee. This committee would develop a legal and policy strategy and recommendation. B) Mobilization committee. This committee would mobilize and organize for the December 16 March.

All of the suggestions had been done before. In my book, No Monopoly on Suffering, Black and Jews in Crown Heights, published by Africa World Press, I discussed Black Christmas ’77 in which we called for an economic boycott in response to the killing of Randy Evans in 1976 and the subsequent jury decision to allow the killer cop, Robert Torsney, to escape the full weight of the law. There really isn’t anything new under the sun. That which is, is that which has been and that which will be is that which is. It is the convergence of events and the timing that makes a difference. Victor Hugo once said, “Nothing is so powerful as an idea whose time has come.” An idea may have been around a long time with no success but if at the right time the idea comes forward it can change the world. Let us hope that any one of the old ideas now brought forward in this meeting will be an idea whose time has come.
However, there were two major differences between Diallo and Bell.

During the Diallo struggle, there were a few of us which from the beginning and throughout led the struggle. It was on a Tuesday when Rev. Sharpton and I were returning from Albany, New York, that I suggested a daily civil disobedience strategy. He suggested the site should be police headquarters. The next day, Wednesday, we were arrested on Wall Street. The following days the arrests began at 1 Police Plaza. Over twelve hundred people were arrested.

This time the action was decided by many leaders. Thus, there is a collective ownership of the strategy, almost guaranteeing success. It wasn’t Rev. Sharpton, I and few other leaders’ program, although Sharpton was/is the major leader. It was everybody’s program. This time, at the beginning there is a mass collective leadership. And this time there are live witnesses. Diallo could not testify as to what happened to him and there wasn’t anyone else to recount the accuracy of the incident. We were left with the police story. Their story has always been “We thought he was reaching for something or we thought we saw a shiny object,” etc. This time we have two live witnesses, Trent Benefield and Joseph Gusman.

Then the meeting had a dramatic entry of Trent Benefield. He came directly from the hospital. He was in a wheel chair. One leg was extended as he was wheeled into the room to the edge of the table. His mother and a young lady were by his side. He thanked Rev. Sharpton and community leaders for “sticking by him.” He tried to say a few more words but emotions overcame him; he gave up and fell into his mother’s arms. There was loud applause.
He was wheeled out of the room and the meeting continued. The cameras which lined at the back of the room stayed for the rest of the meeting. It was an unusually cordial meeting. This is the second occasion where I have seen a broad cross section of leadership united. The first was at the meeting with Mayor Bloomberg. The second was this meeting. Let us hope and pray that the energy, wisdom and time put into these strategies sessions will eventuate into justice prevailing and a new order of things will come to past.

Wednesday, December 6, 2006
Wednesday evening there was a rally in Foley Square. Hundreds of people after the rally marched through the streets of New York. There were times when tension threatened to boil over into confrontation with the police. There were demands for the end of police brutality and the resignation of Commissioner Kelly. The rally and march was sponsored by December 12 Movement.
To be continued
12-12-06
Attend in the Darfur Organizing Meeting Thursday – 12 to 2 at the House of the Lord Church. 415 Atlantic Avenue, Brooklyn, NY
For further information call 718-596-1991

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