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“Healing the racial divide”

Pastor Rasheed Baaith

Pastor Rasheed Baaith

“Healing the racial divide”

By Pastor Rasheed Z Baaith

    “Be of the same mind one toward another” (Romans 12:16)

What if America finally had an honest and open conversation about race? What if non-Black people would finally listen to Black people recite the impact racism has had on their lives and the lives of their families and listened without anger? And what if non-Black people would admit they benefit from the legacy of slavery without their having ever owned a slave?  What if 7,000 people, Black and white have already begun that conversation?

You may not have heard of the Fort Lauderdale Community Center, located at 1033 Sistrunk Blvd. but I’m sure you will.  Under the leadership of Hope Gary, the Center is presenting during Black History Month two important and major events. One is “Healing the Racial Divide,” a learning tool event “focused on educating non-Black people to the effects slavery, racism and discrimination has had on society.” I cannot think of a more needed elucidation. There is a group think among both Black and non-Black people about the enduring effects of slavery that needs a new filter for thought. This event is a real step towards shifting the way we think about what slavery has done to America.

The sites will be the African-American Research Library and NOVA Southeastern University.

As part of “Healing the Racial Divide” the First Annual Black Empowerment Summit is also being held. It too is part of the Fort Lauderdale effort to educate our people. The summit is “focused on education the Black community on their identity, unity, what has happened to them, the importance of taking an active role in our children’s education, the importance of supporting Black businesses and going into business, the importance of politics and what politics is supposed to produce, and after acquiring all that knowledge, what do we do now?”  Ms. Gary says the summit is a “community education” event.

To that end, the Center is bringing in educators of the first rank.  They include Dr. Umar Johnson who will speak on the “ADHD Wars against Black Boys;” Dr. Joy DeGruy, author of Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome: America’s Legacy of Enduring Injury and Healing; Dr. Claud Anderson, who will speak on Black Economic Development; and Tim Wise, author of Dear White America: Letter to a New Minority”and whose new book is Culture of Cruelty: How America’s Elite Demonize the Poor, Valorize the Rich and Jeopardize the Future.

We do a lot of things during Black History Month. We have parades, we will invite speakers who have notoriety and renown because of how they have struggled for the freedom of our people, we have breakfasts and we will have dinners, there will be countless recitations of Dr. King’s “I Have A Dream” speech by very talented and undeniably adorable children all over America. But rarely if ever do we have occasions where there is something of value to be learned and people of educational worth to be heard. The Fort Lauderdale Community Center is offering our community a new door to consciousness.

There is something else that needs to be noted. This event is the result of someone with vision; with awareness the needs of our community are unique but necessary. Someone who is willing to move away from the crowd but even more importantly, someone who understands that if we do not move to save ourselves, we won’t be saved. Hope Gary is a sister-warrior determined for us to redeem the time.

Do yourself a favor and register online; the costs for each presentation go from $10-$15 in advance and from $20 – $25 at the door. Before you grumble, just remember anything of value has a cost and while we can never pay the full cost of knowledge, we should be willing to make a contribution. Think about it.


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