Monday, January 15, 2018

The LuLac Edition #3697, January 15th, 2018

Today the light shone bright in Wilkes Barre on an icy, dreary day in January as NAACP Chapter #2306 held its first annual Unity Breakfast at Genetti’s. More than 150 attended the event to celebrate the life and works of Doctor King. The wide ranging program featured members of the local NAACP Leadership as well as Community Leaders who took part in the program.
As Joe Biden would say, this was “big deal” for a number of reasons. The first Unity Breakfast celebrated the fact that this was the first year that Wilkes Barre City Hall was closed and City Administration workers had the day to reflect, play, sleep, or do whatever. As Ron Felton, long time head of the local unit said, “Do whatever you want on this day, sleep, go to the Mall, go to a community event, do what you want to do but just know why you’re doing it.”
Cassandra Coleman Corcoran was the key note speaker and listed the ways the immigration of all ethnic groups made this country stronger.  She stated the diversity and unity made this country what it is today. She talked about how each one needs to combat the backward slide that some leaders want us to take. She also highlighted her background and how the Wolf administration brings both women and minorities to the same table. Her essential message was "diversity is our strength”.
Constance Wynn gave an impressive history of the NAACP. Personally I was so glad she singled out my good friend (gone too young) Bob Crawford, a broadcast buddy of mine who was the first African American teacher in the Wilkes Barre Area School District. (Also the first Black American on The Mighty 590, WARM) Her recitation of all of the leaders gave those in the audience a sense of history of the activism this organization has produced.
Ron Felton gave an impressive acceptance speech having been the first Annual recipient of the Freedom Fighters Award. Felton started out very deliberately but finished with a crescendo giving the audience an inside view of the “Mountaintop” speech Martin Luther King, Junior gave the night before he died.
The current President of the NAACP, Attorney Guerline Laurore began with a rather playful stance asking Veterans, NAACP members, Politicians both incumbents and candidates, and others asking to stand to be recognized.
At first I wasn’t sure where she was going with this but her point was to outline the diversity in the ballroom. She then spoke about her Haitian roots. She highlighted the words of nullification and ignorance spoken on Thursday, and now being denied yesterday spoken by the current occupant at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Referring to the blood that flows through all of us, slaves, slave holders, abolitionists, etc., Laurore said that it was time to stand up against blatant racism. When I heard her call him a racist, I thought “good for her”. Right now, the Trump defenders say “he says what his supporters are thinking but won’t say”. After her speech, I thought that we should not just think he is a racist, but scream the fact that he indeed is from the Mountaintops. There is plenty of video tape to back us all up!
Another corner heard from was from young Max Laurore who gave the “I have a dream speech”. The child was flawless and got a standing ovation from the crowd.
Well, many of the speakers got standing ovations because the messages resonated with those in attendance.
I first became a member of the local chapter of the NAACP last year. My advancing age has given me time to join groups I couldn’t because of other responsibilities as a young man. It was a natural progression for me to join the NAACP. My youth was crystallized by the 1960s. At the age of 9 battling a childhood illness, quarantined in a room, I became aware of King listening to news accounts of his fight for equality in 1963. That’s when my relationship started with him.
There was no baseball for me on that hot August summer day when, on our behemoth black and white TV tuned to CBS, broadcasted the speech. My fascination with King came in part to my own religion. Growing up as a Roman Catholic, the sermons I heard were staid, somber and scared me half to death. But when I first heard a King speech on NBC Monitor weekends in its entirety, I thought, “This cat is a preacher?” Once I got past the theater, I listened to the content. My 10 year brain translated the words into, “Wait, hold it, my favorite left fielder for the Phillies couldn’t eat with his team mates? My favorite Yankee, Ellie Howard, had to stay in a separate hotel?” But then Selma happened. I saw the violence. Like, was this Christian, beating people to death? Then King came out, one year to the day before he died against the Vietnam War because of the inequality of the soldiers fighting.
On April 4th as I sat doing my homework, I was jarred when I heard the news from Chet Huntley that King had been shot dead. His funeral pretty much stopped everything at our Slovak school in Pittston. To be truthful, some of us were paying attention, others were not.
That was fifty years ago. Sadly, still 5 decades later there is much work to be done. We need now more than ever to pay attention to what is said. We cannot stay silent when people make racist comments. Whether it is tepid or it is blatant, we cannot normalize it!
With Luzerne County giving the current occupant essentially this state, perhaps people here in The Lu should heed the words of Laurore who said, “make sure the next person we elect, doesn’t call them ****hole countries. 
 Doctor King is essentially frozen in time. Having been killed at 39, his image will not change. That's frozen. It is our job though to thaw out the hate he fought, and we still fight to this day with as another one of my boyhood heroes, Hubert Humphrey said, "By walking forthrightly into the bright sunshine of human rights!"  

 Ron Felton accepts award and gives a stem winder with Cassandra Coleman Corcoran looking on. 
Here's Mayor Tony George with Councilman Tony Brooks and NAACP Secretary Erika C. Petrole. 
County Council Members Shelia Saidman and Tim McGinley were on hand. 

WBRE/WYOU's Crystal Cranmore served as MC. Great job. 

Former County Councilman Rick Williams spoke with 11th Congressional Democratic candidate Alan Howe. 
 David Barber Senior, one of the organizers of the event gave remarks. 

I sat at the LCCC table with President Tom Leary and former board member Jim Bryan and Dave Usavage. Seated next to me is Susan Spry,  Vice President of Workforce Development. President Leary shared with the group a photo exhibit that will be on loan at the school through February. 
Max Laurore gave a speech of his own bringing down the crowd. Max is part of the youth group. 
Finally, this event was all about them. The future. 



At 2:54 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Now that Stormy Daniels, the porn star, has admitted that Trump had an affair with her while his wife had only recently given birth to their son, what is left of his credibility or that of the lawyer who repeatedly denied this? How long will evangelicals continue to be tainted by their support of this reprobate?

At 9:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jeez, the guy doesn't even have good taste in porn stars.
Fifty years ago we had King, RFK and for God sakes even Nixon.
Now...................down the crapper.


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