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Living for Hope Get out and Vote

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This coming Sunday the bible study lesson is taken from Ezekiel 37:1 through 14 and speaks of The Valley of the Dry Bones with a title “Living for Hope.” Ezekiel describes...

... a valley where bones lay with no skin on them and definitely no life.

But he was commanded to prophesy to them in order to arouse them to get up out of their misery and press forward and do what they had been called to do as a nation. Now Ezekiel did his job then the right spirit was placed in them so they began to move and obtain that which had been promised them.

I read that and view our situation in the Inland Empire somewhat in the same light. We have some 250,000 Black Americans living here in the Riverside and San Bernardino Valley surrounded by gracious mountains. All of us from time to time have this pessimistic view that all is hopeless for our people. At first in some regions we outnumbered Whites, but we were enslaved and had no power. Then came the Emancipation Proclamation we had the right to vote and we were voted into office to the Congress and the Senate. But then came the rise of the Ku Klux Klan and through a series of events Blacks were intimidated, and barriers set up so they could not vote. Poll taxes were initiated, some were asked how many bubbles in a bar of soap, some were given Chinese newspapers to read in order to vote. Soon Blacks just could not register. Floyd Brown, Sr. and Walter Jarman, Sr, fathers of Walter (President of the local branch of the NAACP) and myself had to sneak and register. They were the first Blacks since Reconstruction to register in Jones County, N.C.

Soon, however Whites out numbered us but the law was still not on our side when it came to discrimination in employment, housing, education and health care services. We had no elected officials serving on any city councils and no Blacks working on their staffs. In 1964 after the Civil Rights and Voting Acts were passed, we now had the right to vote but no one to vote for. We had the right to go to school but our teachers were blocked from the classroom so there was no one who looked like us to teach our kids. We had federal jobs and good money but could not live where our money could buy. We were in a beautiful hot valley and felt somewhat like the dry bones Ezekiel spoke about.

Then people like Robert Stokes, the Carters, the Goodwins, (in the earlier days of the Inland Empire) and later Dr. Henry Holder, Chauncey Spencer, Dr. W. Wright, Dr. John Woods, George Williams, Rev. Jessie Walls, Jack Clarke, Sr., Dr. Lula Mae Clemons, Devonne Armstrong, Norris Gregory, Art Townsend, Rev David Campbell and others came together at different times and said we want representation on the city councils, school boards and on your staffs. There were some of us and many of them who said this cannot and will not happen because these bones will not come together and vote. They were wrong then and now we vote. Thank God for those who did not listen to the naysayers but followed their vision of “we must get involved and change things.”

Now we have those who say we are outnumbered by Hispanics and once again have this dry bones mentality that we are doomed. Just like we forged alliances with the White population we must do the same with Hispanics. Some of them realize it takes more than their own to win elections in the public arena. I know and believe that most people want to live happy, productive lives, provide for their family, educate their children, live in safe neighborhoods, have the best health care, have good honest elected representation and serve in the religious faith of their choice. We can only be somewhat sure of that happening if we participate in the political process that we have. If you do not get involved then our dry bone bodies will only lay in the valley and whither away.

Kim Carter has registered over 700 ex-felons to register to vote in this election. She looked out in this valley and said these ex-felons can live and she began to prophesy to them. They heard her voice and came together. Have you prophesied to anyone about the importance of voting or do you believe that these bones cannot live? I believe my people can come together and vote in greater numbers than ever before. Remember this is your valley so get up and do as Paul instructed us in Philippians: 3. Watch out for the dogs, forgetting that which is behind us, press toward that which is in front of us and live up to what we have already obtained, Live by Hope come together and Vote on November 2, 2004.

To contact Hardy Brown email: hardybrown@blackvoicenews.com or call (909) 888-5040.

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