Executive Update

Shine a Light on America the Great

We (America) love stopping things. We love saying “No,” we love getting mad, and we’ve grown to love making up acronyms that sound good, don’t we? Here’s another one to add to the stockpile – S.T.A.R.T. – Step-up to Answer Racial Tension. I think it has a nice ring to it, what do you think? Okay, enough with the facetiousness, but do you get my point?

Ralph Yarl survived, thank God! And I pray that he gets stronger each day and makes a full recovery, but we don’t need another campaign or distraction. We’ve witnessed men, young men, and boys being gunned down from New York to L.A. and in-between, but now it has hit the heart. No! I haven’t forgotten about Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, another heartland city, I’m talking about my backyard, Kansas City, it’s home now. The elders have a saying, “Keep on living.” What they mean is, if you keep living, you too, will have the same experience. That’s a scary thought, but it’s reality. It’s the reality we have in America as a person of color, a hu-man.

I’m not calling for protests or reform, we’ve done that, nor am I calling for a ban on guns, it’s the mind behind the gun that kills. We’ve had prayer vigils, lit candles, released balloons, marched and sang. We’ve called on justice and justice hung up. We called justice back and we were put on hold. Now it’s time to make a call on high. We’ve forgotten about the power of prayer. I’m not talking about the nice or nasty prayers at a public gathering, I’m talking about heartfelt prayer. If it doesn’t come from the heart, it won’t reach the heart. We’re lost and we have to get back on course.

Once upon a time we didn’t know about social media, candlelight vigils, Zoom, and the list goes on, but we knew about a prayer closet, a bended knee, and a humble heart. We knew the struggle was real. We knew what it felt like to be cold, hungry, and outdoors as a collective. We knew that the 2nd Amendment was seated behind slavery and the rights of property owners. We knew and unfortunately, we have forgotten.

The world is a stage and we stage everything, “Let’s do it for Gram y’all – CHEEZ.” We make sure the lighting is just right, our angles are perfect, and that we’ve called the right media outlets and personnel for “Showtime,” but this show is about to end and many of us won’t like the ending.

Tension, it’s defined as the state of being stretched tight; mental or emotional strain. We all know what happens when too much tension is placed on a rubber band, it breaks. America is breaking. But the thing about a rubber band, it’s resilient, it has the capacity to snap back before it’s stretched to the limit, but you have to recognize the limit.

We want justice, but there won’t be justice until just-us realize the gravity of the time and change position. The elders used to sing a song in church and the lyrics said, “I wonder if the lighthouse, will shine on me.” Light keepers, let your light shine in this hour of darkness. Your help is needed in these choppy waters called America the Great, SOS, we need help, all-hands-on-deck.

Sailors looked to the North Star to find their way in the dangerous dark waters of the night before there were navigational tools at hand. They knew they could depend on the North Star to be a guiding light and to make it home.

Clifton Campbell
Executive Director