Community Voices

Beautiful season marred by inexplicable violence in Fort Lauderdale, Chicago

These booking photos provided by the Chicago Police Department show, from left, Tesfaye Cooper, Brittany Covington, Tanishia Covington and Jordan Hill, four people charged, Thursday, Jan. 5, 2017, with aggravated kidnapping and taking part in a hate crime after allegedly beating and taunting a man in a video broadcast live on Facebook.
These booking photos provided by the Chicago Police Department show, from left, Tesfaye Cooper, Brittany Covington, Tanishia Covington and Jordan Hill, four people charged, Thursday, Jan. 5, 2017, with aggravated kidnapping and taking part in a hate crime after allegedly beating and taunting a man in a video broadcast live on Facebook. AP

As I write this, I am sitting near a window where the sunshine seems to float into the room. I think, “What a beautiful day.” And I am thankful to be a witness of its beauty.

Then, my thoughts are interrupted by a breaking news story — two Jewish Centers in South Dade have been evacuated because of some kind of threat was called in. While nothing was found on either property, the calls were enough to disrupt the day for hundreds. I think to myself: With all the beauty around us, some people still choose to see only darkness.

So sad.

I think back over the previous week, when it seemed that every day there was a shooting reported in the news. Still, aside from the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport shooting, where five people were killed by a man with “mental issues,” I think one of the most disturbing pieces of news last week for me, was when four young blacks — two women and two men — befriended a mentally challenged young white man, only to torture and degrade him for hours.

While I am so sorry for the loss of life in the airport shooting, I am simply appalled at the four people who tortured the mentally challenged young man. What disturbed me most is not that the perpetrators were black. I was disturbed because their actions showed a meanness that is hard to comprehend. I was disturbed because they were human beings and I find it hard to believe that anyone in their right mind could inflict that kind of harm upon a helpless human being — and then share it with the world, via social media.

It was almost as though the haters thought they were doing us a favor by sharing their crime with us. There was no shame in their actions. As the story broke and their faces were shown on the news, I didn’t see a bit of remorse from any of the four. But what really got to me was the fact that they were young people. What is happening to our youth? What goes on in the mind of someone who could do such a horrible crime and seem to feel good about it?

While all this is going on, over the weekend we celebrated the second birthday of my only great-granddaughter, Halle. She is a pretty little girl, with wide, innocent eyes and a sweetness about her that makes you want to hug her all the time. I don’t want the sweetness to leave her. I want her to grow up caring about the people and the world around her.

As a great-grandmother, I ask myself: “What can I do to insure that all my great-grandchildren will grow up to be sweet, caring individuals, mindful and considerate of the feelings of others?” How will I be able to explain away all the evil that is committed — human beings against human beings — in this beautiful world we live in?

While I am not responsible for the actions of others, I am responsible for what I, as a great-grandmother, can instill in all my great-grandchildren, Jaylen. Tavaris, Halle and the latest, Marley. It is a mammoth job. My voice will have to compete with the voices of darkness that don’t give a hoot about the feelings of others. I will have to help them see past the hate and meanness and see the beauty that God intended for them to enjoy. When I speak to them, I will have to choose my words carefully so as not to taint the beautiful souls that I believe they were born with.

On their journey to adulthood, there will be snares and hurdles and all kinds of obstacles to keep them from becoming the whole individuals they are intended to be. As their great-grandmother, I see my job as that of a navigator. I must do my best to help them find the best path along this journey for as long as I can.

Temple Judea to celebrate MLK

In celebration of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, Temple Judea at 5500 Granada Blvd. in Coral Gables will have a special gospel Shabbat at 6 p.m. Friday, Jan. 13. The celebration will feature the Legato Vocal Ensemble and Temple Judea’s cantorial soloist, Jodi Rozental.

The Legato Vocal Ensemble is directed by Antonia Wilson and is a culturally diverse group of musicians who live throughout the tri-county area. The goal of the musical group is to reach people of all cultures, races and background, linking each other together through the love of music.

According to information from the synagogue. the Gospel Shabbat continues Temple Judea’s commitment to “nurturing and growing interfaith community relations and providing opportunities to bring people of different faiths and backgrounds together for a common purpose. Now, more than ever, bringing peace and harmony to our community , and to our world, is a priority.”

The event is free, but you must RSVP by calling 305-667-5657.

Patronal Festival in Overtown

The 2017 Patronal Festival celebration at the Historic St. Agnes Episcopal Church at 1750 NW Third Ave. in Overtown will begin 7:30 p.m. Jan. 20 with the Patronal Dance to be in the church’s Blackett Hall.

The 2017 Patronal Festival will follow with a special worship service 10 a.m. Jan. 22 . A reception will follow the service in Blackett Hall.

Admission to the Patronal Dance is $15 per person for those 13 and older, and $5 per person for those 12 and younger. Tickets may be purchased at the door. You may bring your own food and drinks. However, refreshments will be on sale at the event.

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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