THE EVENT AIMS TO EDUCATE PARTICIPANTS ABOUT CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENTS PAST AND PRESENT AND FOSTER EQUITABLE COMMUNITY BUILDING.
Essence Magazine -BY MELISSA NOEL
The Jacksonville Civil Rights Conference Wants To Inspire Advocacy and Innovation With Inaugural Event. Local race equity advocates and organizations in Florida have partnered to host the inaugural Jacksonville Civil Rights Conference in August.
The first-of-its-kind event aims to educate participants about civil rights movements through featured speakers and interactive breakout sessions across four key areas: community building, connecting historical contexts to the contemporary, connecting civil rights issues to arts and culture and providing leadership development opportunities through youth and adult partnerships.
The conference will feature notable speakers, including author and radio host Rev. Dr. Michael Eric Dyson, President Emerita of Spelman College, Dr. Johnetta Betsch Cole and the chair of the National Board of Directors of the NAACP, Leon Russell.
“Delivering on our vision to connect the historic to the contemporary while demonstrating a different, more inclusive and collective leadership, we want the Jacksonville Civil Rights Conference to propel the action,” said civil rights activist and conference founder Rodney L. Hurst Sr. “As such, our hope is to inspire action and innovation for how we move forward collectively to achieve human dignity and respect for everyone.”
The three-day event, done in partnership with organizations including Leadership Is For Everyone Inc. (LIFE) and United Way of Northeast Florida, is meant to provide new perspectives of the Civil Rights Movement, as well as inspiration and tools to make Jacksonville, Florida a more equitable community. It seeks to empower all ages and backgrounds to embrace their role in building racial equity.
“As part of United Way of Northeast Florida’s ongoing commitment to fostering a more equitable community, we are proud to help lead the inaugural Civil Rights Conference in Jacksonville,” said Robin Abbott, Interim Chief Executive Officer of United Way of Northeast Florida.
“In bringing the conference to life, our role is to amplify the work already happening in our community, uplift our local civil rights leaders, bring awareness to race equity and social justice issues affecting us all here in Northeast Florida, and, most of all, inspire action,” he said. The Jacksonville Civil Rights Conference takes place August 25-27, 2022, in downtown Jacksonville.
To register - jaxcivilrightsconf.org
Morality is not the basis upon which political decisions are made. Try political power, White privilege, and Racism at their rawest.
Brief excerpt from, "Never Forget Who You are: Conversations About Racism and Identity Development," by Rodney L. Hurst Sr, and Dr. Rudy F. Jamison Jr.
"There is no respectful way to make Whites comfortable about how Blacks are treated by them, nor will I try. Telling the truth about Racism is always central in conversations about Race.
Today we are immersed in full-blown Conversations about Racism due in large part to a former White American Racist president. Conversations about Race and Racism are requisite today, no matter how uncomfortable and painful some feel about those conversations. Racist actions, directed at those who look like me, are more uncomfortable and painful, than your hurt feelings because of words in a conversation, and being called out, because of your White Racist Words.
Respecting Blacks as human beings is the issue. Pathological hatred against my Black skin and my parent’s Black skin and their parent’s Black skin is the issue and has been the issue since the founding of this country. Racism is not something just hovering around which we can ignore as if it did not exist. Racism is the “substance” that permeates the very thought process and the existence of this country, daily; and Racism exists, born out of slavery, based on the color of one’s skin. Feigning ignorance is not an excuse for Racism. Racism is America's Original Sin.
Young Blacks today are lulled into thinking skin color has no place in the conversation about quality and succeeding and getting into college and remaining in college and “acceptance” in extracurricular social, professional, educational and civic activities. The Post-Racial Thing. But as we have seen through events in the news, White American Racism and its “sidekick” White Privilege, still mightily exists.
Whites and Blacks who deny the existence of Racism and White Privilege, do not want to admit the reality of how Black skin has been stigmatized in this country. The reactive response, “I do not see color” is specious and disingenuous on its face. When Dr. Martin Luther King said, “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character,” he knew that White America could never get passed the Black skin to judge the content of a Black person’s character. After all, Racism is taught.
America is where it is today because White America lacks courage, White America is hypocritical, White America is full of hatred, and White America looks with abhorrence at those whom White America calls “others.” Indigenous Native Americans never called Whites others, even as White Americans stole their land.
To this day, we still deal with the intransigence and the obstinacy of an America who refuses to apologize for the American Holocaust called Slavery, who refuses to discuss the paying of reparations-repaying money owed-to the millions whose Black hue of skin “made” American capitalism, and whose blood, sweat, tears, and death established American capitalism, and built Wall Street.
Just as America denies the ravages of Slavery and refuses to admit to its creation, America also refuses to admit to the scourge of White American Racism, and often challenges Blacks to “prove” Racism, when Blacks rightfully charge America’s perpetually embedded Racism. The implication is, if one cannot produce irrefutable evidence of clear, blatant, and intentional bias, then Racism must be banned as a possibility. But this is both silly as an intellectual claim and dangerous as a policy standard.
In a nation with the racial history of the United States, the idea that there is no Racism as a presumption and that racial bias must be proved beyond reasonable doubt, is blatantly and intellectually ridiculous.
America elected donald trump, a president, who by any description of humaneness, and by any accepted standard of integrity, is simply a Racist in presidential clothing. If there is a question if donald trump is a Racist, there are some determinants you can use:
Does he say and do Racist things?
Does he slur Black athletes and Black celebrities who openly oppose his Racism?
Does he insult the countries of birth of both Black and Brown people?
Does he continually attack his predecessor in the White House who happens to be Black?
Does he refuse to call out White Nationalists and White Racists?
Does he give cover and comfort to Racists with a claim "there are good people" on the side of Racists and White Nationalists?
Does he single out Black members of Congress to spew his Racist vitriol?"
Easy answers to easy questions.
Don’t Judge Me...You Don’t Know Me That Well.
You don't define for me what is racist and what is racism.
You don't define for me your historical and traditional White Christian American racist disrespect toward me and those who look like me since the founding of this racist country.
You don't define for me my level of gratitude while trying to disparage my ancestors as if they made no salient contributions to this country.
You don't get to define me.
You only get to define yourself and your White Christian American Racism.
To let White America tell it, Black America imposed White supremacy, slavery, segregation, Jim Crow laws, Black codes, and racism on themselves. White America had nothing to do with it.
UNLESS WE TELL IT AND CALL OUT WHITE AMERICAN RACISM, WE WILL CONTINUE TO GET WHAT WE HAVE BEEN GETTING... NOTHING.
I have been talking about Racism since my 8th grade American History school teacher and my mentor Rutledge Henry Pearson, in addition to teaching us an INCLUSIVE American History which included contributions by Blacks instead of the Incomplete, Dishonest, and Racist American History, invited me and my classmates to join the Youth Council NAACP.
He would tell us in the classroom…” If you are not a part of the solution, you are a part of the problem.” Mr. Pearson was the Youth Council adviser. I was 11 years old.
Mr. Pearson started me on two roads…fighting Racism and Understanding the Great Legacy of Black History. He wanted to make sure that we were armed with the tools to fight a country that did not want US HERE---even though they kidnapped us from OUR country to bring US HERE.
SLAVERY-a means to an obscenely wealthy end as an evil Christian American Racist Institution.
He wanted us to understand that from Slavery, America did not GIVE US anything…WE rightfully EARNED the citizenship that America did not want to give us. And he wanted US to be proud of who we were and to know and appreciate the great legacy of those Black males and females who blazed paths of accomplishments, through the Jungle of Racism. He taught us and taught us well. And for that, I am eternally grateful.
That was 67 years ago. What is remarkable in the battle against Racism over the years is that very little has changed.
We see what is happening in the streets by police and the deafening silence by larger White America.
WE see the racist intent to keep Blacks from voting.
The problem is White America does not fundamentally respect Black America. We are still PROPERTY.
Oh…White America will tolerate us…on the football field…on the basketball court…on other athletic fields...on the performing stage…on the TV screen…on the movie screen…but sincere respect, not so much. Their crusade to keep us from voting says it all.
We have made some “strides” ---I do not call it progress—I will leave it to others to call it progress. Some even think Blacks have arrived. I don't.
But those who do, feel so because we can go where we want to go, for the most part, drive what we want to drive, be with who we want to be with, sleep with who we want to sleep with, and all in this societal culture clashing phenomenon called Integration. Some Black folks-aka BENT-BACK-take those "crumbs" as having "arrived." I still don't.
White America does not respect our history. White America does not respect our struggle. White America does not respect how much Black America has achieved in spite of, really White America's Racism. And why you ask? Because the lack of respect and the stumbling blocks for Black America have been carefully placed there by White America. The lack of respect by White police, militia patrols in the Black community is obvious, but that disrespect extends to White elected officials, White Christians, White Educators, White judges, White prosecutors...you get my drift...and are part and parcel of the larger vista of how White America sees and deals with Blacks in America.
It does not mean that Blacks are so readily accepted; it simply means that White America has a higher level of toleration for Black folks…NOT RESPECT… TOLERATION. In part because it is politically, economically, and socially expedient to do so and because it makes good financial sense to the White Big Boys.
The Black community generates billions of dollars every year and the White Big Boys are always standing ready to reap this financial windfall. It does not mean you are highly respected; it just means you are a means to an end…and that end is lining their pockets with your money.
Unless and until White America understands and RESPECTS US, we will continue to see Blacks killed by police for reasons that do not approach the need for an arrest, let alone deadly force. And now, they have created ANOTHER Racist Bogeyman to hide behind called Critical Racist Theory, which most Whites cannot describe or define.
It is also fear which inflames the core racist attitudes in White America. A fear that Noah Chomsky says, "Whites have internalized that when Blacks get numbers, they will do the same thing to Whites that Whites have done to Blacks since the founding of this country.
We will continue to see White elected officials CONTINUALLY disrespect Black voters because they are Black.
We will continue to see distasteful caricatures of Blacks in roles on TV and in the movies because it pleases Whites to laugh at us while we are ignorantly laughing at ourselves. DISRESPECT.
Until Respect is at hand for Black America, we will continue to see these scenarios played out in the streets and on FOX and CNN and NBC and CBS and ABC and MSNBC etc etc etc and those racist local newscasts by insignificant Black and White minions called local news reporters but doing the bidding of White news and TV administrators who only see ratings and profit for their stakeholders.
We need to learn to withhold our money from Racist White America, withhold our votes from Racist White elected officials, stop watching racist TV shows, don't pay to see the racist movies, and don’t allow White elected officials with their LIES to rush to our Black pulpits.
WE need to tell our preachers we do not want the Liars in our church and if they do not get the message, JUST LEAVE.
The most ridiculous thing I hear from Black folks is, “The Black Church should not be political. I come to church to hear the word.”
Clueless Black folks who call themselves Christians, yet they are not prepared to work and sacrifice and fight for who they are and even whose they are, and they incredulously hide behind the Christian Cross.
They really need Black Bible Study…not just Bible study …but Black Bible Study.
And then America Elects a Loser Racist White president and continues to kneel at his Loser former presidential racist throne even after he is unceremoniously dismissed.
Enough Said. We MUST continue to fight and demonstrate and strategize and vote and figure the different ways to MAKE America Respect us.
Every Civil Rights demonstration is an indication that things are not right, and they will never be right until WE can also say “Life Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness” and know those words apply to US. It is not easy.
Fighting the War of Racism is not easy and has never been easy. Yet it is a fight and a war for which we must continually declare. As Mr. Pearson would say, "If you are not a part of the solution, you are a part of the problem." Forget that...and WE PERISH AS A PEOPLE."
"And the police are simply the hired enemies of this population...This is why those pious calls to 'respect the law,' always to be heard from prominent citizens each time the ghetto explodes, are so obscene. The law is meant to be my servant and not my master, still less my torturer and my murderer. To respect the law, in the context in which the American Negro finds himself, is simply to surrender his self-respect."
--- James Baldwin, "A Report from Occupied Territory", July 11, 1966.
White people, would Y'all feel better if Black folks just Lied and said Y'all were enslaved, and We were the enslavers? Would that lie make you feel better, because that lying Y'all continue to try and tell that slavery never happened will not work, no matter how much the truth hurts your children's feelings.
There is never a problem telling the truth. You can tell the truth over and over again. Lying is your problem.
Oh, what dangerous web you weave when first you practice to deceive.
When first you lie to deceive, you have to continue to lie to reinforce your first lie-like enslaved persons, my ancestors, were "agricultural workers" and "involuntary immigrants" and were treated "better" in this country than in their native land, from which you kidnapped them.
You White folks cannot LIE yourselves out of being the Oppressors, in slavery and racism. But don't worry, we will continue to "help you" by telling the truth.
The violence on January 6, 2021 came about because White law enforcement officials, would not consider White Racists with a proclivity for violence, Domestic Terrorists.
When a Republicant "conservative" (aka Racist) after touting in her campaign ad how much of a conservative she is, then ends her ad with a voice-over saying, "She will fight for us." What "us" is she talking about?
How many times must the case be made that donald trump is a racist, a treasonous Russian asset, and a disgusting loser former president who gives less than a tinker's damn about American Democracy?
"A system cannot fail those it was never meant to protect." – W.E.B. Du Bois
WHY IS IT, there are no White Christian American prayer vigils for White Christian American Racism?
"I am not concerned with your liking me or disliking me. All I ask is that you respect me as a human being." - Jackie Robinson
Rodney. L. Hurst, Sr.