Neither bombs nor the hate they represent will take away our vote

Bomb-sniffing dogs investigate a bomb threat in Tacoma, Washington, on Thursday, Oct. 25, 2018.
Bomb-sniffing dogs investigate a bomb threat in Tacoma, Washington, on Thursday, Oct. 25, 2018. joshua.bessex@gateline.com

As I drove out of the parking lot of the North Dade Regional Library where I went to vote, one of the poll workers said to me, “Thanks for voting.”

I replied, “It was my privilege.”

Just a short, casual conversation between two strangers. And yet, what a profound conversation it was.

As a black American, I understand all too well that it really is a privilege to be able to vote in free elections in America. It wasn’t too many years ago that people who looked like me were not allowed to vote. And before that, it was women who weren’t allowed to vote.

I thought to myself, we have come a long way. Then, I was reminded of the bombs that were found earlier this week where prominent Democrats either live or work. As the news of the bomb threats spread, many people voiced their opinions as to why this violence is happening now. Some blamed President Trump for creating an atmosphere of hate with his frequent tweets.

Because these messages come from the president of the United States, it is easy to understand why a person who is already filled with hate and loathing for people who don’t look like him or her, or who think differently, would think it right to perpetrate violence. I wish our president was aware that words can hurt and that they can be powerful.

But then, maybe he is. Maybe that is why he so frequently demeans people by calling them names — women in particular — and sends out bullying tweets. As he is the leader of the free world, I hold our president to a higher standard. I so wish he would live up to it. If he doesn’t, life in America will only get worse under his leadership.

Whatever good he does will be diminished by the cutting and hurtful words he sends out over social media and at his rallies. There is an atmosphere of hate permeating the very core of our country. And it seems to be getting worse.

What we need, Mr. President, is a rally to bring people together. You should encourage the Democrats and the Republicans to reach across the aisles and work together for the good of our America. You need to know, and America needs to know, that a country divided cannot stand.

When I said voting was my privilege, I meant it. It is your privilege, too, my fellow Americans.

I am old enough to remember the voting rights campaigns in the deep South during the 1950s and 1960s. I remember the countless people — black and white — who rode buses from cities in the North to rural country towns in the South just to get blacks registered to vote.

It wasn’t a joy ride, people; some of them were beaten and others were killed. Still, they kept on coming, organizing rallies in black churches, singing and praying first, and then telling the people that it was their right to vote; that if they voted, things would get better for them.

Some blacks were frightened and didn’t register. They knew that if their white employers heard they had registered to vote, they would be out of a job. But some did register. And they risked their lives and voted, paving the way for me to be able to vote without fear of retaliation.

Now, some deranged person or persons would like to take away our freedom by threatening people with whom they disagree. The bombs are threats to the very liberty and freedoms that our foreparents fought so long and hard for.

We cannot let this happen. We must get rid of the atmosphere of fear that is threatening to bound us once more with the chains of hate and racism.

Mr. President, you say you want to make America great again. Here is your chance.

Stop the hateful tweets and the name-calling. Be the grand president you were elected to be and keep the country together. America wants to respect you and the great office that you hold. But you make it hard when you resort to actions that are unbecoming to a president.

We can’t, won’t, let bomb threats, or threats of any kind, take away our privileges. We must keep America free, so that our children will enjoy the same privileges we enjoy today.

We can do this, America. Our vote speaks volumes

Trick or Treat

On Sunday, South Miami Lutheran Church will partner with Redeemer Church at 67th Avenue and Miller Drive from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. for a “Trunk or Treat” event, where children will be able to to trick and treat at the church parking lot. Chips, sodas, empanadas and BBQ sandwiches will be served.

Also, at 7 p.m. on Nov. 15, South Miami Lutheran Church and Redeemer Church will come together for a special Spanish service. Pastor James Dunham, pastor of South Miami Lutheran, will preside over the event. He will be joined by Pastor Edwin Collado of Redeemer. The service will consist of live music. South Miami Lutheran is at 7190 Sunset Dr. Call 305-665-2562.

Celebrating our diverse roots

Unity on the Bay, 411 NE 21st St., will celebrate Oneness and Diversity in an interfaith service at 9:30 and 11:15 a.m. on Sunday, Nov. 4. he service will include Jodi Rozental, a cantorial soloist from Temple Judea, and Dr. Abdul Hamid Samra, the imam and director of religious services at the Islamic Center of Greater Miami in Miami Gardens. Call Jason Weeks at 305-53-3101, or email him at, jason@unityonthebay.org

Honoring black Catholics

November is Black Catholics History Month. During the month, blacks in the Archdiocese of Miami will celebrate the long and proud history of Black Catholics, who can trace their faith back to Africa centuries ago.

In keeping with the celebration, the Archdiocese’s Office of Black Catholic Ministry invites the community to participate in the following activities:

A special Mass at 10:45 a.m. Nov. 4 at Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church, 11701 E. Oakland Park Blvd. in Fort Lauderdale to celebrate St. Martin de Porres Feast Day.

The St. Martin de Porres Awards for Excellence Luncheon at noon Nov. 17 at Stadium Hotel, 21485 NW Second Ave., Miami Gardens. Tickets are $50 per person or $500 for a table of 10.

Call Katrenia Reeves-Jackman at 305-762-1120 for tickets and more information.

Giving thanks

The Universal Truth Center for Better Living will have its last Prayer Vigil of 2018 on Nov. 3. It will begin at 11 a.m. and will end at noon. The vigil’s theme is giving thanks. The church is at 21310 NW 37th Ave. in Miami Gardens.

Pancake breakfast

The United Methodist Men (UMM) of the First United Methodist Church of Coral Gables will have their Annual Pancake Breakfast Fundraiser at 8 a.m. Nov. 3, at Founder’s Hall, 536 Coral Way. The cost is $10 per person and $20 per family.

The breakfast will include pancakes, sausage or bacon, grits, fruit toppings and coffee and or juice. The breakfast will benefit the Light-A-Village solar-powered home lighting project; Messenger5, solar-powered audio Bible scripture devices in 45 languages; free reading glasses for the underserved; Christian youth activities, and U.S. and international mission trips. Call the church at 305-445-258 for information.

A family picnic

The first Doggy Day Family Picnic, hosted by Palm Springs United Methodist Church at 500 W. 12th Ave. in Hialeah, will be from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Nov. 3. The event will include a blessing of the pets in attendance. The event is sponsored by the church and the Girl Scouts of the Hialeah-Miami Lakes community. Girls interested in becoming a scout will be able to join. Contact Deb at girlscoutDeb42@gmail.com.

Meet the new sorority president

The Eta Phi Beta Sorority invites the community to a Meet and Greet reception in honor of the organization’s newly elected 18th National President Colette McCurdy-Jackson at 4:30 p.m. Nov. 4 at Florida Memorial University, Smith Conference Center, 5800 NW 42nd Ave. in Miami Gardens. The event is co-sponsored by the sorority’s Alpha Gamma Chapter and Florida Representative Soror Sharon Pritchett. Hors d’oeuvres will be served.