By Beverly Gadson-Birch
Good Morning, Charleston! What ‘da heck is going on in this country? We barely got through the hurricanes then another church shooting and now the Las Vegas slaughter have rocked the country. How could someone gun down innocent people out for an evening of fun? Is there anywhere safe? While America has been focusing on building wealth and walls, she has failed to build morals. Without morals, this country is headed down a slippery slope without any means of stopping.
If the Vegas shootings don’t start a serious movement for gun control in this country, I don’t know what else will. I am not holding my breath on this one because nothing was done when the children at Sandy Hook Elementary were murdered. I thought my focus for this week was all wrapped up until the Vegas shootings became front and center. Either we live within the law or we die without it!
I don’t know if y’all remember but old folk used to gather around pot-bellied wood stoves back in the day singing a song called “Packing Up”. Even as a child, I understood the message in the song. What was there not to understand when I saw poor folk already broken down returning home from picking cotton and tobacco all day in sun scorched fields. The expressions and scars on their faces told their story. Packing up meant “We are soon to be through with the troubles of this world”. There comes a time when you must face reality head on. It’s like looking at yourself in a mirror; and, you already know how you look. It doesn’t matter how much make up you put on, you can’t cover up the scars of slavery, oppression and exclusion. Some things are inevitable. Either we abide by the rules or perish as fools. We are living in a runaway society where laws are only applicable to the poor and disenfranchised. The National Rifle Association and money rules this country. Politicians are not about to bite the hands that feed them.
After folks were jumping on the donation wagon for Houston, I jumped on it too. I was trying to figure out just the right organization to donate to. I wanted my donation to go directly to the source and not get bogged down in red tape. Although I have family in Houston, I could have donated directly to them but I knew they would be alright; but, shortly afterwards here comes Irma creating major destruction to Florida, Puerto Rico and other US islands.
Public Service jobs are thankless jobs. If you aren’t motivated to give, that’s fine but don’t complain when your time comes around. You have to be driven by a force greater than self to serve. In spite of all that we are going through, thank goodness for the heroes among us. Elder James Johnson, State Director of National Action Network, at a press conference asked the public to donate to flood stricken Houston through a Federal Credit Union. Then the folks in Florida, Puerto Rico and some of the hardest hit areas also needed help. And, let’s not forget the earthquake in Mexico. With all the catastrophic events taking place almost simultaneously, it was going to take a ton of money to help folks recover. I applaud Elder Johnson for the hard work that he does not only in our community but around the state. He was one of the first ones to react to the Katrina disaster. I know because we loaded trucks of supplies that were distributed directly to the people.
I have been getting feedback from the community about NAN misappropriating funds. Let’s talk what we know. Stop trying to tear down folks’ character! Why don’t you take on the job and see what folks say about you? Some of the very same people you help are those that try to destroy you. A lot of effort goes into getting supplies and money to pack trucks and pay drivers. Stop listening to folks who don’t give a dime to help others but engage in character assassination. Y’all know how the game is played. Basically, some folks will have you believe that white-sponsored organizations do not misappropriate funds but black organization do. At least 90% of what you hear about people isn’t true.
If you aren’t going to give or assist during disaster efforts, don’t cloud folks’ reputation who do. Elder Johnson decided to take the supplies to Miami since the distance was shorter and the disaster just as great. The decision cut transport expenses almost in half. This would allow more supplies to reach the people desperately in need of assistance. Not only did he get a tractor trailer to deliver the goods to Miami, he drove ahead in his personal vehicle to ensure that the supplies reach those truly in need. And, he also has money going to Houston. Hats off to our Public Servants! Nobody knows the trouble they see, Mercy!