One day last week, my dear friend Taffy Gould, local author and philanthropist, sent me an article by John Horvat II, titled "Baby Boomer gives Gun Protesters Something to Think About."
In the article, Horvat said: "It was my generation that helped unleash the violence that you find in your school, culture and lives. My generation produced your generation. You are following in our footsteps. You are the later phase of a process my generation began."
Horvat, the author of the book "Return to Order," continued by telling the young protesters of today, "It was my generation that redefined freedom as 'doing your own thing.' We overturned society norms, morals and manners in an attempt to achieve this freedom. However, this quest only made us a self-centered 'Me Generation,' demanding everything instantly regardless of the consequences. It filled us with resentments when the world failed to bend to our needs."
Horvat's article seems to be an attempt to warn the present generation of gun protesters of the pitfalls facing them if they are not watchful.
I was born a generation before the Baby Boomers. The protesters of my generation had a different agenda. As a follower of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., our protests were about civil and human rights. People who look like me wanted simple things — like the right to pursue happiness; to be able to get a decent education; to have the right to live and love, and be treated justly in our courts of law; and for the simple acts of being treated with dignity, and to have the right to vote our political convictions.
It didn't seem like much to ask — as Americans. Still, as Americans, it was a shame to have to ask.
Those were the days of the late 1950s and the early 1960s, when peaceful protests were met with fierce water hoses and angry, snarling dogs. Protesters were stripped of their dignity and thrown in jail. It didn't matter if you were a male or female.
One day, something changed in America: The peaceful protests, where participants prayed and sang "We shall overcome," soon were replaced by the turbulent violent protests of the mid-1960s — the Black Power movement that met violence with violence, and when all of America seemed to be going up in flames.
Then came the Baby Boomers, who, Horvat said, "looked for a world of peace and 'free' peace. To obtain this goal, we destroyed family structures, sexual morals and marriage. We tried to make love free, and it came at the high price of shattering families and destroying individual lives (including those not yet born)."
Horvat's article seeks to warn the gun protesters of the danger of not being vigilant. In other words, while you have the right to protest, young people, I, like Horvat, want to warn you of the perils of repeating the mistakes of the past.
"Now is not the time to repeat the '60s, but to reject them," Horvat wrote. "Let us join together to declare the '60s over. They have brought us a catastrophe, full of violence and politically correct intolerance. People ... yearn for order."
While I support you, our young gun protesters, and understand why you are taking to the streets, I, like Horvat, have this to say:
"Be watchful. Stay on the right path. It is so easy to get caught up in the glory of it all, and move away from the real reason you are protesting — needed gun control that will hopefully put an end to the senseless shooting of our children in our schools and neighborhoods.
Said Gould: "The decline of civility in our society, and its accompanying acceptance of violence as a response to disagreement, is a major concern and does not bode well for our future. If these young people ultimately are destined to assume positions of authority, I sincerely hope they will develop a new mindset in dealing with conflict."
"A German Requiem"
When Dr. Lee Kjelson, the beloved founder and director of the Civic Chorale, died in 2010, it seemed the music group was destined to die, too.
Not so, said chorale member Pepi Granat and Kendall Campus Community Choir member Sherri Flinn. The two contacted Dr. Kenneth Boos at the Kendall campus of Miami Dade College, and Boos, with the support of the college campus administration, assumed the role of artistic director. Longtime Executive Director Phee Price agreed to continue in her role. And as they say, the rest is history.
At 4 p.m. April 29, the Chorale and the Miami Dade College Kendall Campus will present "A German Requiem" (Eine Deutsches Requiem) by Johannes Brahams in the sanctuary of St. Andrews Episcopal Church, 14260 Old Cutler Rd. in Palmetto Bay. The concert will mark a turning point in the history of the 48-year-old Civic Choral Ensemble as the current administrative and artistic leadership retire.
This summer, artistic leadership will be assumed by a former member of Seraphic Fire, Misty Leah Bermudez, who brings extensive qualifications to the organization as a career soloist, chamber artist and operatic actress.
In her new role, Bermudez plans to continue the work of Boos, the outgoing artistic director, in growing the membership, to further augment the quality of the programs the group presents, and to broaden the impact of the group by bringing its programs to a wider array of locations in greater Miami.
Working with her will be Gleema Nambiar, who brings to the musical group two decades of practical experience building resource repertories, writing grants, fundraising, and managing various community organizations, including, ArtSouth and the Jazz Festival Fans' Website in Montreal, Canada.
The Chorale will welcome back former singers, who have been asked to sing a closing piece at the concert and to attend a post concert reception to feature pianist Mike Gerber. A special guest at the concert will be Betty Kjelson, the widow of founder Lee Kjelson.
For tickets and more information go to: www.civicchoral.info
Anniversary worship service
The community is invited to special worship services Sunday honoring Bishop Walter H. Richardson on his 53rd pastoral anniversary as pastor of The Church of God Tabernacle (True Holiness), 1351 NW 67th St. in Liberty City.
Richardson, 95, is a one of the longest-serving pastors in South Florida. He was anointed pastor of the church in 1965, after the passing of Evangelist Mamie E. Richardson.
Elder Alfred J. Richardson of Atlanta, the younger son of the bishop, will preach at the 10 a.m. worship service. The Rev. Dr. Walter T. Richardson, older son of the bishop, will preach at the 7 p.m. service. Both services will feature tributes to Bishop Richardson and music by the church's Mass Choir, directed by M. Chenise Pompey.
Trinity Trio concert
A concert featuring the Trinity Trio, will be at 7 p.m. April 27 in the Head Center at first Methodist Church of Coral Gables, 536 Coral Way.
The Trinity Trio is made of Lindsey Jones, violin; William Locke, cello; and Dr. Bob Gower, pianist. Gower is professor emeritus from the University of Miami's Frost School of Music, and currently serves as choir director of the church.
The concert is free, but donations will be accepted and will be used to benefit the church's musical program and its musical scholarship fund.
For more information contact Edward Baker, the church's lay leader, at firstname.lastname@example.org.