Heights and Valleys: Sunday, July 10, 2016 – Sunday, July 17, 2016
August 10, 2016 by Herbert Daughtry
About a month ago, I had a week of highs and lows, agonies and ecstasies. I’d like to share them with you for your information, interest, and history’s sake. There were experiences which took me from the heights of hope and promise to the valleys of pain, anger, prayers, prisons, politics, parenting, and penitentiary.
Sunday, July 10, 2016 – A Day of Prayer
On Sunday morning, I observed my customary prayers with the basketball players. This practice started about five years ago when I could no longer play because of an operation. I heard the Lord say, if you can’t play, pray. Thus began what has become a tradition. This year, there are two different places. First, there is prayer in the gym. Then, there is prayer in the park. Both of these are held in Teaneck, NJ. They happen between 7am-8am.
After the prayer, I preached at our church mission in Jamaica, Queens held at the Afrika Poetry Theatre at 9am, and do the same at 11am at our church in Jersey City, NJ. Then, I go to Brooklyn if there’s a program or a ceremony later in the day.
1pm: The National Black United Front (NBUF) concluded its 37th Anniversary as it had done 37 years ago at my church, The House of the Lord Church, in Brooklyn, NY. There was a four-day convention which convened delegates from the various cities in America. Mr. Kofi Taharka is now NBUF’s Chairperson. He succeeded Dr. Conrad Worrill who was my successor. What stood out to my mind was the predominance of youth. It seemed that 60% of the attendees were under 30; 25% under 40. Thus, NBUF’s future looks promising.
Monday, July 11, 2016 – A Day of Promise and Politics
9:30 a.m., I was in the Court in Jersey City, NJ. I was there to witness the finalization of an adoption procedure. One of my members in Jersey City had been going through the bureaucracy of adoption for three and a half years. Now, the day had arrived to consummate the process. There were two little children (six and seven years old), the adoption parent, and her mother,
After about 20 minutes of questioning from the judge and paperwork, it was culminated. The beaming children seemed to have grasped a momentous occasion. They were, in fact, legally and morally, grafted into a loving family. It was a joyful time to participate in the hugs, kisses, smiles, and laughter. It was a moment I will never forget.
After photo sessions, I headed to Brooklyn and a day of office work. As I drove, I thought of the promise that these children represented and what would have happened to them had these parents not intervene.
Later in the evening, accompanied by my assistant, Brother Derrick Benjamin, we attended a fundraiser for Public Advocate Tish James at Brooklyn Tap House. We didn’t stay long. I wanted to make sure I got my contribution in before the deadline.
Tuesday, July 12, 2016 – A Day of Reacting to Police Killings
My assistant, Brother Benjamin, and I attended the funeral of Delrawn Small Dempson in East Flatbush, Brooklyn. Over 300-400 people had crowded into the space. It was standing room only. In the vestibule, there was a crowd that could not get into the ceremony. Outside, people lined both sidewalks. Some of the mothers of police-killed loved ones were represented – Mrs. Gwen Carr (the mother of Eric Garner); MS. Constance Malcom (the mother of Ramarley Graham; Ms. Hawa Bah (the mother of Mohammad Bah); and, others. Reverend David Brawley of St. Paul Community Baptist Church officiated. In addition to Councilwoman Inez Barron and Assemblyman Charles Barron, friends and relatives offered remarks.
Delrawn was shot by an off-duty police officer on July 4, 2016. The incident was precipitated by a car-related incident. The officer claimed that Delrawn approached him while he was seated in the car and commenced punching him. Later, a video revealed that Delrawn was shot before he had reached the officer’s car. The officer has been relieved of his duty and is awaiting an investigation of the incident.
Wednesday, July 13, 2016 – A Day of Reflections, Writing, and Researching on Recent Killings of and By Police
I completed my article to be published in the Daily Challenge. I write at least two articles a week on Wednesdays and Fridays.
Thursday, July 14, 2016 – A Day of Pain and Promise
I was interviewed on NY 1 by Mr. Errol Louis. The subject was “Police-Community Relations.”
Preparing for the interview, I did a lot of research which caused me considerable grief as I thought about the many police killings and brutalities in which I have participated; the many, many mothers I’ve tried to console; and, yes, I’ve even consoled the families of the police officers who were killed by members of the community.
To watch the interview, visit: http://www.ny1.com/nyc/all-boroughs/inside-city-hall/2016/07/14/ny1-online–the-rev–herbert-daughtry-discusses-crisis-involving-policing-and-communities-across-country.html
Friday, July 15, 2016 – A Day of Organizing for the 2nd Anniversary Eric Garner March
I spent part of the day organizing for tomorrow’s March and Rally. About six weeks ago, Mrs. Gwen Carr the mother of Eric Garner, had asked to have a march, starting at my church and concluding at Prospect Park. It would be in recognition of the Second Anniversary of Eric Garner’s death. Last year, we had a candlelight ceremony at my church.
Saturday, July 16, 2016 – A Day of Hope
The mothers came from different parts of the country. They introduced themselves, where they were from, and recounted how their loved ones were killed. When Rev. Al Sharpton arrived, we commenced the March to Flatbush; and, from Flatbush, to Prospect Park. At the entrance of the Park, we paused for Rev. Sharpton to make his remarks. He was headed to the funeral of Mr. Ron Harper, the radio personality. After he departed, we continued down Flatbush Avenue to Ocean Avenue. We entered the park and a huge screen was set up to show pictures of Eric Garner’s family and the Movements. I made my remarks and departed. I later learned that the mothers gave me an award.
Sunday, July 17, 2016 – A Day of Penitentiary and Promise
After doing my usual prayers with the basketball players, I made my monthly visits to two correctional facilities in Upstate New York. I conduct Worship on every 3rd Sunday. The drive to Sullivan Correctional Facility is about one and a half hours. From Sullivan to Eastern Correctional Facility, it’s about half an hour.
Leaving the correctional facilities, I made it to my church in Brooklyn in time for the annual Randolph Evans Memorial Scholarship Awards Ceremony. It was the 37th year that we have been able to give out scholarships to college-bound students. We started with $1500 each for ten students. Over the years, we encountered funding problems. We had to reduce it to $1000 for ten students. This year was our worst. We could only give $1000 each to five students. Hopefully, we will do better in our fundraising in the future. The scholarship program was named after Randolph Evans who was killed in 1976. We vowed that he would not be forgotten.
Driving home, I reflected on the week – the pain and promise, the agony and ecstasy = the stuff of which life is made. Hopefully, always, and at all times, there is hope. I remember a quote from Goethe, “In all things it is better to hope than to despair.”
There were a couple of important police-related events which occurred after the abovementioned week.
On July 27, 2016, I attended the funeral of Mr. Phillip Pannell. His 16-year-old son was shot in the back and killed by the police. I am sure that the death of his son contributed to Mr. Pannell’s demise. The pain resulting from these killings do not end when we put the loved ones in the ground. The continuing impact on the family is immeasurable.
On August, 4, 2016, I visited Kwadir Felton in Southwood, NJ’s State Prison. He was shot in the temple by a police officer. He is permanently blind, but at least he survived.