My heroes this night are all strong Black men and women unafraid to step up to the challenges life presents amidst the turbulence caused by systems meant to destroy them. A planned destruction world wide which is fused and stroked by hatreds based upon greed, race, and power. A power structure which utilizes persons who looks like them, physically as fertilizer for immediate and long term goals which are not focused upon the well being of people of color who are non-white. People of all colors and cultures make up the fertilizer as they are sometimes easily duped into believing they are members of the same team.
1-The list begins with Huey P. newton who informed us that “ we can't chamge the realities, direct them,or harness their forces until we know them.” He further stated, “The only laboratory we have is the community itself and we must see ourselves as scientists as well as activists.
2-Larry Pinckney admonishes us in an article in “The Black Commentator” November 18,2010 issue 402 that we must be effective in the struggle verses getting revenge. He describes both the GOP and the Democratic Parties as the same political entity who plau everyday people, Black, White, Brown, Red, and yellow like perpetual ping ong balls in the grip of a politically bankrupt system. (Larry is my friend, a Veteran of The Black panther Party, former Minister of Interior of the RNA, and the only American to have self-authored his civil /political rights case to the UN.)
3-Kwame Ture aka Stokely Carmichael who was one of the chief orginizers of the All African Peoples Revolutionary Party (A-APRP) where he lived in Guinea, West Africa. At Howard University he was a founding member of NAG (The Non-Violent Action Group) to continue the Sit In Movement. SNCC was formed and Kwame was one of 300 freedom riders arrested in Mississippi, and Alabama during 1961. He originated the term BLACK POWER in response to saying FREEDOM for over 6 years which was not forthcoming.
4- Malcolm X whose history speaks for itself, as well as, his brother Will Little with whom I worked in Corporate America, Michigan Bell Telephone Company/Marketing-Detroit. Who upon retiring from Michigan Bell became a teacher in the Detroit Public School System. It was Will who introduced Malcolm to Islam.
5- D'Army Bailey , a world class Native Memphis Hero, attorney, judge, writer, activist, movie star, whose journey from Tennessee, Louisiana, Massachuesetts, California, and New York brought him home as his eyes saw Dr. martin Luther King Jr.'s final journey as impetus in the founding of The National Civil Rights Museum. I didn't have to meet all of my heroes to honor them, however, I meet and honor this one tonight as a true and lasting stone.
6-Percy Hooper, an ordinary man who has made extraordinary contributions to the youth in every community in which he has lived proving time and time again that all policemen are not PIGS and all teachers are not just in school for the paycheck. A man who truly defines family as more than a blood line.
7- Larry Owens , a Black man who is not the product of plantation indoctrination, an out of the box thinker with a history of over 100 years of familial history which did not include plantation living. An original man married to an original woman who dares to be original in a modern day primal environment Hughes, Arkansas, devoid of fear. He and his wife Sheryl are poised to define true leadership and claim it fearlessly as they too make history in a poverty torn community.
8-Marianita Lewis aka Mama Lewis whose commitment to youth has not been limited to just her own daughter. An in your face advocate for children and the elders who fights daily against racism,ignorance,and slothfulness who is revered and loved by youths Black and White in her small West Memphis Arkansas Community. She is sometimes abrasive but loved by many youths who affectionately call her Mama Lewis.
9-12 LaDonna Long, Bennie West, Naomi Moody, and Ruby Wilson whose artistic journeys continually inspire me to move on before I lose my memory and God given Gifts.
And last but not least Stanley Campbell whose vision has made the Stone Awards a remarkable piece in the history of The Memphis area Community. Keep throwing Stones Cam the dance continues as will the legacy you are creating.