I recently heard a radio interview with a guy named Joe R. Hicks. I really appreciated what he had to say regarding the situation in Ferguson, MO, and the problems within the Black Community that are denied or left unaddressed in such controversial situations. Hicks is an African-American commentator & activist, former Executive Director of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (founded by Martin Luther King, Jr.), former Executive Director of the Los Angeles City Human Relations Commission, and current vice president of the L.A.-based political think-tank, Community Advocates Inc. A self-described political conservative with libertarian leanings, he is also a member of the Project 21 black leadership network, which can be found at the website for The National Center for Public Policy Research (nationalcenter.org).
Why haven’t I heard of the National Center or Project 21 before? Why haven’t I heard of Hicks before?!
Anyway, here’s an excerpt of what Hicks said on “The Kelly File” on Fox the other night:
“You heard somebody behind the camera saying, ‘this is justice.’ Somewhere Dr. King is probably… spinning in his grave, if that’s what ‘justice’ looks like. That tramples on the graves of all the old martyrs of the civil rights movement that really did struggle for real things, [against] real racism, real issues they were trying to overcome. And you’ve got thugs, and punks, and hoodlums in the street, and you’ve got somebody saying, ‘this is justice.'” [Full transcript here.]
Hicks is right! “Justice for who? How?” Since when does committing crimes — vandalism, theft, arson, etc. — constitute “justice” for anyone?
But, this post isn’t just about Hicks or his particular comments. I just wanted to highlight him for a minute to bring him and Project 21 to your attention. There are many other members of Project 21 that are speaking out on the issues of the day, too, which I found on Amy Ridenour’s National Center Blog at Conservative Blog. One particular post by David W. Almasi has several quotes on Ferguson (after the grand jury decision) that I’d like to reproduce for you:
Christopher Arps, local businessman and co-founder of Move-On-Up.org: “You had two types of protestors in Ferguson last night, and neither were peaceful. You had those hell-bent on destruction, looting and rioting. And you had those out there who were not doing those activities but who were encouraging the looters and urging them on. I was there. To me, they are both guilty of the lawlessness we witnessed last night.”
Dr. Day Gardner, media host, president of the National Black Pro-Life Union, executive member of the D.C.-based National Clergy Council: “Those rioters in Ferguson really don’t seem to care about Michael Brown’s death. They refuse to hear all the facts. They appear to just consider this a license to steal and act out. They have burned a Public Storage, Little Caesars, liquor store and more. They are laughing while they destroy their own community -– burning businesses and stealing liquor and cell phones. It’s ridiculous and so sad! All the stores and businesses that have been looted and burned to the ground mean that, as we enter the Christmas season, families are forced out of work. How many residents will be out of work because of the destruction? They will be unable to pay bills or provide for their families. Al Sharpton incited tensions in Ferguson before all the facts were known. He should have waited for the grand jury documents. He is such an embarrassment to the black community.”
Demetrius Minor, motivational speaker and pastoral assistant, former White House intern in the Bush administration, former conservative talk show host: “There was no indictment in. Ferguson for Officer Wilson, but there was an indictment of the conscience of many. Riots and violence proves our nation still needs healing. It’s shameful that the same people who are inciting –- directly or indirectly -– the protests and mob violence in. Ferguson will be quoting Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and praising his message just two months from now. Something needs to be done. Dear 21st century churches: This is your moment. Stand up for morality, but also advocate peace. Speak healing, but also be sensitive. Ferguson needs you. The world needs you.”
Wayne Dupree, internet talk radio host (aka the “News Ninja”), speaker, U.S. Air Force veteran: “Words have meaning. It seems people are too willing to fall into the media’s portrayal of the victim and the media’s own version of the truth. Allowing the media to use words that indicate one’s innocence or guilt is a very slippery slope. There is no innocence or guilt unless proven by law. And Officer Wilson has the law on his side. His life is now destroyed at the hands of a thug who died. Wilson didn’t force the fight. Wilson did what he needed to do to save his own life, but he will never seem to have the same sympathy that have been afforded to the deceased by the media and the mob. Many people saluted Obama for stepping in and asking for peace, but that executive action should have been done earlier. He was too late -– the looting was just beginning. The mob looted a beauty store, burned down a bakery and destroyed Advanced Auto Parts among other businesses. What the Hell! Agitators were angry and they wanted “justice” for Mike Brown, but instead they destroyed innocent business owners’ livelihoods. Where is the justice in that?”