Community Voices

Thanksgiving message for President-elect Donald Trump: Let’s make America greater

In this 1955 file photo, Mamie Mobley, mother of Emmett Till, pauses at her son's casket at a Chicago funeral home. The 14-year-old Chicagoan was killed in 1955 after reportedly whistling at a white woman during a visit to his uncle's house in Mississippi. Nearly 100,000 people visited his glass-topped casket during a four-day public viewing in Chicago. Images of his battered body helped spark the civil rights movement.
In this 1955 file photo, Mamie Mobley, mother of Emmett Till, pauses at her son's casket at a Chicago funeral home. The 14-year-old Chicagoan was killed in 1955 after reportedly whistling at a white woman during a visit to his uncle's house in Mississippi. Nearly 100,000 people visited his glass-topped casket during a four-day public viewing in Chicago. Images of his battered body helped spark the civil rights movement. AP File

Happy Thanksgiving, everybody! I don’t mean to spoil your turkey day festivities, but this has been on my mind since the election:

Never in my lifetime, have I ever seen Americans taking to the streets to protest the election of a United States president. Oh, we have voiced our opinions on talk shows and other media, but never have I seen people taking to the streets in protest.

I thought that by now, even those who didn’t vote for Donald Trump would have settled down and come together, to work shoulder-to-shoulder with those who did, for the good of the country.

Meanwhile, life goes on, and President-elect Trump is busy filling in his inner circle, putting into place those who will work closely with him. I must admit some of his appointments really scare me; the people he has selected don’t seem to be those who will hold Mr. Trump accountable for his actions — people who will be unafraid to say, “Mr. President, you are wrong” when he is.

His selections have caused me to think more and more about his campaign theme of “Making America Great Again.” What does this theme really mean to people who look like me? I am a black, female southerner, born and bred, and have lived in the South my entire life. I can’t ever remember America being greater for me, and other minorities, than it is now.

Tell me, Mr. Trump, does the theme mean that we will go back to being a country that treats its minorities, especially blacks and women, with so little respect; where signs in public places will un-invite blacks to even an equal drink of water?

Does making America great again mean that lynch mobs will once again be a constant threat and that it will be open season on black men — like it was prior to the Civil Rights movement? That wasn’t that long ago. I was 15 when Emmett Till, 14, a black boy from “up North” was lynched while visiting relatives in the rural south. There were other lynchings, but the Till lynching outraged many in the country, including whites. The trial of his murderers was a disgrace to American justice.

Does making America great again mean that you, Mr. Trump, will work to bring back the days when opportunities for blacks were so few that even many of those with college degrees were relegated to back-breaking works for pennies a day?

You wouldn’t know the late Judge L. E. Thomas, the first appointed black judge in Florida. But I remember a story he once told me about the day his name was listed with those who had passed the bar exam in Chicago. He was working as a janitor in one of the city’s hotels while attending law school, and was ridiculed daily by a white doorman, who only called him “boy,” although he knew his name.

On the day the list was printed Thomas was sweeping the lobby of the hotel when the doorman mockingly said to him, “Hey, I see here where somebody who has the same name as you passed the bar exam. Is that you?” he asked and then laughed, mocking him. Thomas said he simply stopped sweeping the floor long enough to say, “Yes, that’s me” to the doorman, who was so shocked at the answer, his jaw nearly dropped to the floor.

I tell you this story Mr. Trump, because there are millions of similar stories out there of people who lived back in the day when you thought America was so great. And it was — for people who look like you. But back then, blacks rode in the back of the bus and on other public transportation. There were signs posted that instructed us to do so.

I don’t want your theme to mean what I think it means, Mr. Trump. But as a black woman who is now a great-grandmom, I have lived long enough to have witnessed some unjust laws topple because of brave young blacks (and whites, too), who were unafraid to sit-in at lunch counters, or to wade-in at public beaches, or to desegregate schools and universities with their brave and peaceful protests. I have watched armed guards escorting brave little black children to school while angry, white mobs amidst the vulgar shouting of name-calling from racists whites.

I have great-grandchildren now, and I don’t want them to ever have to witness such days. While there is still a lot of work to be done, America is already a great country. There is no need to go back to the days of Jim Crow and unequal opportunities.

So, Mr. Trump, as we celebrate this wonderful American tradition of Thanksgiving, please think about your theme. And as you fill your inner circle and cabinet, think of making America greater. I, and a whole lot of other folk, can live with that theme.

South Dade Christmas concerts

Even as we celebrate Thanksgiving, Christmas music is in the air.

The South Dade Community Choir will present the first of two Christmas concerts at 7 p.m. Dec. 2 at the Homestead Mennonite Church at 30695 SW 162nd Ave. in Homestead. The choir, which has been performing for many years, consists of singers from several local churches.

The choir will also perform 7 p.m. Dec. 9 at Silver Palm United Methodist church, 15855 SW 248th St.

Admission to the concerts is free, but offerings will be accepted at both concerts to help pay for the music.

Also, the Silver Palm UMC Choir will present its Christmas cantata “Come Let Us Adore” at 10 a.m. Dec. 18 during the worship service. Everyone is welcome to all three events, to share anew the greatest story on earth, the birth of Jesus.

Miami Shores Living Nativity

One of the longest-running Christmas events in South Florida is the annual Living Nativity, now celebrating its 60th year, Dec. 9 and 10 at Miami Shores Presbyterian Church.

The Living Nativity is a spectacular depiction of the Christmas story, with angels and live animals, and is an outdoor event with a cast of 100, including prophets, angels, the Three Wise Men, live camels, donkeys, goats and sheep. The presentation also has an elaborate, innovative compilation of audio-visual elements.

The event is free to the public. If you go, please bring canned goods which will be donated to Pass It On Ministries, a local food bank.

Miami Shores People of Color

You are invited to the final session of Miami Shores People of Color (MSPoC) Unity 360 series from 9 to 11 a.m. Dec. 3 at the Brockway Memorial Library, 10021 NE Second Ave. in Miami Shores, when Dr. Tameka Bradley Hobbs will moderate a discussion on her book, “Democracy Abroad, Lynching at Home: Racial Violence in Florida.”

The book, recently released in paperback, won the 2015 Florida Book Award, Florida Nonfiction — Bronze, and the Harry and Harriett Moore Award from the Florida Historical Society. Hobbs recently spoke at the Miami Book Fair.

The event is free to the public. Space is limited. Register at http://unity360.eventbrite.com or by sending an email to miamishorespoc@gmail.com.

Send all items at least two weeks in advance to Religion Notes, c/o Neighbors, 3511 NW 91st Ave., Doral, FL 33172 or email bea.hines@gmail.com. Pictures are accepted but cannot be returned.

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