June 24, 2022
Morning Worship & Juneteenth
On Sunday, June 19th at 11:30am our congregation in Jersey City, NJ had its Sunday morning conference call. We have not been inside a building for over two years. First, it was covid, and in the middle of covid, the owner sold the building in which our church was housed. To the eternal credit of our membership, they have continued to be together and worship together. We are still looking for a building that we can rent or share space. My theme was Name It, Frame It and Claim It. I told the story of how the people who were enslaved were free for two years but didn’t know it until they were informed by General Granger in Galveston, TX. I used the story to underscore that many of us are still enslaved to our habits, people, ideas, etc. and we don’t know how powerful we are. That we are free and don’t know it. We must learn to name ourselves, the people and the events and never to call anything or anyone slavemaster. Secondly, we must frame in our minds what we want. Some people use what is called mapmaking, that is to say, they cut from the magazine/newspaper a picture of what it is that they desire or trying to achieve. Claim it, whatever it is you desire, claim it.
I used Jesus’ words, “whatsoever things you desire, believe that you have them and you shall receive them.” Believe that you have what you're praying for and act as though you have it and you will bring it to your existence, your objective. I told the story of Tupac Shakur, who joined our church when he was about 11 or 12 years old. His mother Afeni brought him, his sister Sekiywa and her sister Gloria. He said to me one day during his incarceration when he wanted to achieve something he’d draw a picture of it or find a picture of it and put it on the wall over his bed. He would not sleep in the bed, he would sleep on the floor, couch, or anywhere but in the bed until he achieved his objective. Name It, Frame It, Claim It.
The Juneteenth Celebration at which I spoke was in Overpeck Park in New Jersey, it is a huge park. On one side of it was where we first started playing basketball together over 35 years ago with some of the fellas that still come around and make a good effort of trying to recapture some of the skills of their earlier years. The other side of the park is a huge stage, beautifully manicured land of trees, flowers, bushes and clear space decorated over hanging trees. Also it was near the river's edge which added to the beauty of it all. The celebration was organized by Chi Chi. There was all day picnicking with music and speakers. I spoke using the same thing that I use for the morning worship, Name it, Frame It, Claim It. I stayed long enough to greet the people. Mrs. Panel and her daughter Natacha were present as was the young man that I influenced years ago and who is now a principal. His name is Lamar Thomas, he reminded me of Mayor Eric Adams and many, many others who tell the same story. I always walk away overwhelmed with gratitude and joy and a sense of fulfillment that God had used me to influence so many lives.
The weekend commemoration of the 40th anniversary June 12, 1982, is over. It was an exciting, enlightening, challenging several days. Starting Friday with the Interfaith ceremony at the House of the Lord Church in Brooklyn. There were 35-40 people present. At first, I was disappointed. But it seemed I was the only one disappointed. When it was brought to my attention that the number had quality and competition. It was Stop Gun Violence month. The same weekend was a weekend that others had focused on gun violence. In addition, global issues have never been at the top of most people's list of urgencies, especially people of African Ancestry.
The organizing committees were Mayor Eric Adams Team, Herbert Daughtry Global Ministries, Coordinator of the June 12, 1982 Demonstration, National Action Network, June 12 Legacy Committee and Hiroshima Nagasaki Peace Committee.
Mayor Adams spoke at the ceremony. He was, as usual, very eloquent. I particularly liked the fact that he detailed his involvement in the issues that the church had spearheaded or been deeply involved in. From being a young man at which I encouraged him to join the police force to the issues of police brutalities. Even to assist with security for dignitaries at the church. There were photos that I showed him to his delight.
There were other speakers including Rev. Dr. Karen Daughtry of the House of the Lord Church, Bishop Eric Figueroa of New Life Tabernacle, Bishop Orlando Findlayter, New Hope Christian Fellowship, Imam Talib Abdur Rashid, Mosque of Islamic Brotherhood Inc., Reverend Dr. Allen Hand Sr of Little Rock Baptist Church, Reverend Gilford Monrose Faith Director/Executive Director of Faith-Based and Community Partnerships, Leslie Cagan, coordinator for the June 12, 1982, Committee. Also in attendance was Minister Gregory Daughtry of the House of the Lord Church in Jersey City. The ceremony concluded with prayer and the blowing of the shofar (the ram's horn).