Neighbor to Neighbor: Regarding racial equality, we’re halfway there

By Barbara Morris

Now it is hard to believe our present neighbors and friends were not always here. Who can believe (without the proof of calendars), that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was murdered nearly 38 years ago. He is still an inspiration, and will live on more ageless than the rest of us. If only more people here in southeast Queens would follow the path he pointed us toward…. non-violence. It is true, crime was a lot worse here years ago, but we still have a way to go before we can say we are all doing our best to make our part of the world a nicer, safer place to live, work and play. What a wonderful memorial that would be. On Dec. 15, the U.S. Post Office in Jamaica sponsored a very impressive remembrance of some of the important events that took place on the way to building a more perfect union. The unveiling of this series of 10 stamps took place at the Greater Allen Cathedral, with the Rev. Floyd H. Flake, pastor, giving an impressive keynote speech. If King had lived and could have been with us that day, I think he would have been very pleased not only by the advances made over the years for civil rights, but because each of those stamps designed and produced by the postal service is a true work of art. Examine them closely some time. I think you will see what I mean. Had he been with us that day, he would have enjoyed the rest of the program as well from the singing of “the black national anthem” by the assemblage, to listening to a beautiful soprano solo, songs by children, skits by talented older students depicting struggles toward civil rights victories and, of course, some of that delicious soul food. He would have clapped along with us when Jamaica Postmaster James Burns, in company of members of the political community and other important personages, unveiled the “stamp stars” of the day. We had one more formal treat that day. That was being part of the honoring Jack Thompson for his very able service as long time civic leader and chairman of the Jamaica Postal Advisory Council and supporter of Dr. King's advocacy of non-violence and inclusion. I had an even further pleasant surprise when I found two of my very nice neighbors, Mrs. Pennington and Mrs. Harris, doing volunteer work there at the church they both love. There is another thing that I believe would have impressed Dr. King, that would be the fact that the wife of the president of the United States, Mrs. George Bush, journeyed to Liberia (a nation formed by freed slaves) to celebrate the election of the nation's first woman president. She then went to Nigeria to help raise more funds to fight AIDS there. Yes, we have come a long way trying to overcome some of the things that are wrong. It is good we have come this far because “a house divided cannot stand.”Rev. Flake noted that the first half of the program has been accomplished, with the economic portion still to come. Minorities are increasingly held in the highest esteem and are taking their places in very level of government and business. Condolezza Rice is still being sought as a possible candidate for the presidency, even though at this time she said she would decline.Right here in southeast Queens, one of our good friends of law enforcement, Kenneth Holder, has proven himself so worthy over many years. He has been made judge. Our sincere congratulations, Judge Holder.Last, but not least, our hard working neighbors (like Joyce Lawrence) keep doing their parts and getting super cooperation from others. For example, Cooperman Pharmacy in Rosedale donated all the pretty Christmas decorations- and let Joyce pick them out – for her “public place” project.I sincerely hope everyone recognizes and appreciates this country as the land of opportunity. God bless us every one and America.

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