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The Life of the People’s Pastor: Ten Days

July 28, 2017 by Herbert Daughtry

Part One

Thursday, July 6, 2017

On the evening of Thursday, July 6, 2017, my wife, Dr. Karen S. Daughtry, and I returned from the funeral of my brother, Jacob Samuel Daughtry. I do not know whether the sorrow is heaviest on the way to the funeral or the return from the funeral. (See my Eulogy entitled, “The Passing of Giants of the Human Spirit: Eulogy for My Baby Brother, Jacob Samuel Daughtry (October 18, 1938-June 27, 2017), the Fifth Son of Bishop Alonzo Austin Daughtry and Emmie Cheatham Daughtry,” published in three parts in the Daily Challenge on July 19th, 21st, and 26th, 2017).

One redeeming feature of a funeral is that you get to meet, greet, and see relatives and friends you haven’t seen in a long time. It seems that we can always find the resources and the time to attend funerals. Perhaps, that is as it ought to be. Thank God we landed safely at LaGuardia Airport at around 10:00pm. Thank God that I am able to sleep -almost at will, at any time or anywhere.

Friday, July 7, 2017
A major meeting hosted by Mothers’ Pain took place at 4pm at our church in Jersey City, NJ. Mothers’ Pain is a group of mothers organized by Ms. Hessie Williams whose 17-year-old son was killed last August. I have been working with the mothers almost from its inception. We’ve organized community marches and rallies, stopping at places where there were acts of violence and murder. We’ve organized a six-week truce, calling on the gangs to lay down their arms.
We’ve met with Mayor Steven Fulop. We’ve held press conferences, and the mothers have appeared on the radio. We have participated in marches and demonstrations organized by others. We also visited some of the hot spots, or war zones, to speak directly with the people, especially the youth in that area. We meet weekly, or on special occasions.
All activist mothers and fathers of slain children exhibit extraordinary courage, perseverance, and toughness. I call them superstars. I was an unofficial chaplain for the NY Jets for five years. I spent a lot of time with the players. I wondered what separated an ordinary professional football player and the superstars. I came to the conclusion that superstars play hurt. They can perform at a high level of proficiency while in pain. When I apply this to life, I find that there are people who perform optimally; they do their jobs and take care of their responsibilities. In fact, they even go beyond their duties with compassion and competence. The Biblical similarity is Jesus. We would like to refer to Him as a wounded healer. He was wounded in the most excruciating fashion, but he went about healing.

There were several issues on the Mothers’ Pain Agenda:

1) Legal Documentation – getting all of our legal papers together.

2) Preparation for the meeting with Mayor Steven Fulop – we had met with him a few weeks prior. We had placed before him concerns and demands, and an agreement to meet again. At the meeting on July 7th, we went over the objective.

3) Car Caravan of Remembrance – we confirmed that we would assemble as many cars as possible, secure a hearse and a coffin, and drive through Jersey City, touching all of the hot spots, and City Hall.
The meeting lasted two hours.

It is always a deeply moving experience being with the mothers. I had an interview not long ago with a person who is doing a book on Eleanor Bumpers. She asked me, “How do you manage to bear the pain and sorrow of these mothers and fathers? You’ve been doing it for many years. You have also sustained the relationship for years. How do you do it?”
She is right. I do sustain the relationships. The brother and sister of Clifford Glove actively participate in our activities. In fact, his sister is a member of our church, The House of the Lord Church. Clifford was a ten-year-old Black youth who was shot in the back in 1973.

I never thought about the question before. It’s something that I just do. I like to believe that it is what God has called me to do. What God has called you to do, God will give you the strength, wisdom, and all that is necessary to complete the mission. I guess it is God’s will.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

My first stop on Saturday morning is usually the National Action Network with Rev. Al Sharpton. There’s always something happening at NAN’s headquarters. NAN, is, in fact, the only game in town – that is to say, it’s the only place where there are consistent weekly meetings. There are always some of the old strugglers, the old and the young. Rev. Sharpton is always very informative, very humorous, and very inspiring. Being there with him conjures up many years of struggle. I’ve known him since he was the Youth Leader at Operation Breadbasket. He was about 12 or 13 years old. To see his growth and accomplishments is simply amazing to me.

When I arrived, I was surprised that we were celebrating Former Mayor David Dinkins’ 90th birthday. Guests were present to extol his accomplishments. One of the high points was when we sat together – Rev. Al Sharpton, Former Mayor Dinkins, Ms. Hazel Dukes, and I. Mr. Dinkins is 90; Ms. Dukes, 85; Rev Sharpton, 62; and, I, 87. We had many stories to tell.

Later in the day, we went to LaGuardia Plaza Hotel for the baby shower of the arrival of our first great-grandchild. My grandson, Lorenzo Daughtry Chambers, and his wife, Sarah Daughtry Chambers, are expecting their first child any day now.
Journeying home, I reflected on how blessed I am to have lived through many important experiences, and having met many important people. I’ve gone from celebrating 90-year-old David Dinkins to celebrating the arrival of my great-grand children, who will make a grand entrance.

… to be continued.