“No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money. Matthew 6:24 (NIV)
By Bobby R. Henry, Sr.
On the issue of the LA Lee YMCA given the go-ahead to tear down the Mizell Center and move its services into it. Where is the City’s Historic Preservation Board? Why are they silent? Where is the Inspector General?
Can we not depend on our institutions created to stop these types of atrocities from doing their job?
As we met and discussed and then attended meetings held on the City of Fort Lauderdale’s behalf, we saw how broad and far reaching the tentacles of exploitation can reach.
I wanted to see for myself how positions change when “other” people are in the room.
There comes a time when people will be exposed for who they are and our brothers and sisters, old and young, are among them.
Their betrayal of the economic interests of our people while directly sabotaging friends and organizations that some of their family helped to start is shameful, a fact that will be cemented if the LA Lee Branch of the YMAC gets its final vote of approval in August.
But, do we really want to take full inventory of all the regrets associated with this situation?
Between you and me, none of this would have been possible if a plan presented almost four years ago with two years of effort to create a center for economic development for our people had been rewarded with the same final vote to get a lease that the Fort Lauderdale City commission may deliver to the LA Lee YMCA.
It’s regrettable that Commissioner Bobby Dubose ran out of time before he left. It’s also regrettable that the new city commission came behind him and dismantled almost two years of progress in a matter of weeks. It’s also regrettable that we wouldn’t be in this position divided/split community, if that project hadn’t been slowed down by some of our own people who thought the project was not worthy of their support because they perceived it as a “welfare” project for personal benefit – this is so imprudent but even more asinine was that the project call for personal sacrifices to make it happen.
Ultimately, that original display of disunity within our community has been exploited by some of our very own to benefit people outside our community. These are facts that are hard to overlook as we proceed to see the full picture.
Right now, it is appropriate to focus on betrayal from our elected officials. But you and I know they were given this opportunity by us when we elected them.
We must continue to push our economic interests, including pushing back on our people who think it’s okay for us to settle for symbolic social amenities while others are getting real economic advantages.
I assure our readers that I understand and I respect leadership. However, given leadership is not earned, it, therefore, can be taken away at a grave cost. I feel that our leadership has stooped to a lower point than I would have ever thought possible. The shameful actions that have been committed to prevent historical icons in our community from being recognized because of selfishness and personal vendettas against those who don’t support their agendas really shows that it’s not about our community but about them.
So, we have to move forward. I’m not going to allow anger or resentment to blind me. I do show respect and whoever gets caught up on the other side we have to deal with – not out of anger – but out of love for our community and with politics.
I really hope this situation leads to us asserting our values for economic advancement in our community in a way that makes our Black elected officials and non-Black elected officials, who pander for our vote, more accountable to serving our economic interests. Otherwise, this horribly embarrassing moment in Black Sistrunk history will be in vain.