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 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
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
To be continued
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