Looking Back to Move Forward

African American news from Pasadena - Editorial - looking back to move forwardThe week began with my wife and I being honored by the Altadena NAACP with a Lifetime Achievement award. To the NAACP, our heartfelt thank you for noticing our work. In describing our work the NAACP used the words inspire, impact, influence and benefit the community, others, and each other. To that I can only say, I hope so. We have certainly worked hard to get here in what is our 25th year of publishing the Journal and our 52nd year of marriage, as of June 30, 2014. That is our real lifetime achievement. For that I say, thank you Miss Ruthie. Together we say, congratulations to Paul and Juanita DeVaughn on their receipt of the Community Service award for years of service they have given to the community. They have been married since 1950, a few more (12) years longer than Miss Ruthie and I.

The week also had an announcement that our son, Dr. Jamal Hopkins, and his family are returning to Pasadena, after years of living and teaching in the south. He has traveled the world and taught at universities in Memphis and Atlanta.

Locally, the announcement that Dr. Brian McDonald will be taking over as the interim superintendent of the Pasadena Unified School District is great news. He is superbly well qualified to lead the district to the next level upwards. Dr. McDonald has been quietly making his mark as the Chief Academic Officer in Pasadena since he arrived here in 2011. He is bilingual (Spanish/English), from Houston, Texas where he attended Texas Southern and Sam Houston University where he earned his doctorate in Educational Leadership. He resides in the Pasadena area with his family and two children who attend Pasadena schools.

This week has also been filled with reminders of the bitter past that Black America has had to endure. The week marks 50 years since the signing of the 1964 Civil Rights Act giving the rights of individuals to sue for discrimination because of race. We were reminded that the Voting Rights Act was signed in 1965. The present Supreme Court seems dedicated to turning back the clock on rights and voting.

CNN and MSNBC dedicated hours of air time reminding us of the struggles it took for us to get here. The 1964 Ku Klux Klan murder of Goodman, Chaney and Schwerner preceded the Voting Rights Act. The march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Alabama ended with marchers being beaten with clubs wrapped in barbed wire, electrocuted with electronic cattle prods, and shot with teargas by Sheriff Jim Clark’s horseback posse, all to keep Blacks from voting.

Ironically, this week we also saw Black folks vote in the Mississippi primary. Their votes determined which Republican nominee would be chosen. The loser, McDaniel, is still mad that Black voters voted for Thad Cochran. The real irony is that Mississippi is part of the conspiracy to suppress the Black vote.

All I can say is that the Black vote cannot be stopped. It can be rewarded by giving us justice and equality. Stop trying to stop us from enjoying our rights. Cochran is now being blamed for giving Black folks food stamps. Voter suppression and giving out pork is now being blamed as today’s recipe for keeping Blacks from voting.

In the June 17, 2014 Final Call, a Black Muslim newspaper, they reported a National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA) article, about a Eugenics program in North Carolina which is now providing reparations for their victims. Eugenics was a sterilization program that sterilized thousands of Black folks in 30 states that had Eugenics programs. North Carolina had the worst program with young people even as young as 14 years old who were victims of incest or rape. June 30, 2014 is the final day to apply for reparations for the few victims who are left. The North Carolina program was from 1929 through 1974. In 1927, the Supreme Court ruling in Buck vs. Bell said it was constitutional. I wonder what will next week bring.