Let Freedom Ring: Raising Up a New Cultural Standard

“Stand, in the end you’ll still be you One that done all the things you set out to do Stand, there’s a cross for you to bear Things to go through if you’re going anywhere . . .” — Stand, Sylvester Stewart aka “Sly Stone” of Sly and the Family Stone

Welcome to the Grand Jubilee Year of Emancipation— 2013. These are exciting times, enchanting times, indeed the best of times! We are the very generation to witness the convergence of three historic events within a single month: the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, the 30th anniversary of the Martin Luther King Holiday, and the Inauguration of America’s first black president to a second term in office. We are the people to whom the culmination of Almighty God’s love, divine guidance and bountiful blessings are revealed—from slavery to present!
Dawn of a New Age Yes, we have reason to rejoice in this sacred time, for it can truly be said, “We Have Come this Far by Faith”. A milestone achievement of this magnitude in our American journey is worthy of celebration; complimented by a grand commemorative event! In November, the Grand Jubilee Committee of NJ will produce a great event—in cultural terms, a mighty “Function at the Junction”—a 2013—Jubilee Gala in Newark, NJ. The very best and brightest in our community, our state and the entire New York/New Jersey metropolitan area should be involved. Cultural literacy remains our focus. We must raise funds to promote ongoing literacy initiatives in the church, our institutions and in the home. The progress of our children and the integrity of African American culture mean everything! We must, with great enthusiasm, boldly proclaim the Dawn of a New Age! In today’s negative, media dominated, cultural environment, we will resolve to come together to promote the positive: cultural literacy, music literacy, theater, media presentation, research, financial literacy, health initiatives, education and achievement; vocational training, ideals of marriage and family life; etiquette, business development, job training, etc. And yes, we’re introducing Emancipation Sundays programs (every third Sunday) throughout the year!
A new organization should rise-up to compliment and augment our existing institutions. On the day of our gala, we seek to launch the National Association of African American Descendents of the Emancipation Proclamation1863 (NAADEP) or the African American Culture Commission. It should be convened at the highest level in order to arrest ominous decline in American culture and values. Included in its membership would be every single forward-thinking, man, woman and child of God! Together, we will raise-up a new cultural standard!
Good Business Most important, we must raise funds among ourselves to support our own programs and initiatives. Of course, we invite corporate sponsorship and government grants for plans of this scale. Good corporate citizenship values warrant support of this noble and worthwhile cause. But there is nothing more impressive than a demonstration of a community-building ideal through teamwork. If we can do this, I personally assure you that no fair minded corporation that does business with black consumers in the marketplace will turn away from such an opportunity—its good business—a positive step forward! Our people must be prepared to invest their own money into a low-cost high quality product that delivers a return of lasting value. The Grand Jubilee Committee’s 2013 commemorative calendar, We’ve Come this Far by Faith will be ready for distribution over the MLK holiday weekend. We’re taking orders now. Our goal is to raise not less than $100,000 in calendar sales as a primary fundraiser. The calendar will cost only $20.00. The objective is to sell 10,000 calendars before February 28th. How do we get there? We’re already there! Reports are still coming in; churches that participated in the Watch Night initiative (see www.thepositivecommunity.com Nov. issue page 10) in New York and New Jersey have already exceeded 1800. Hundred

of churches have included the reading of the cultural narrative by a young person into their service. The Positive Community’s 18 month Countdown to Freedom, campaign (inside back cover) coupled with the untiring, selfless efforts of our committee members, produced the desired effect. Just like the Watch Night initiative was a life-affirming exercise in spiritual and cultural unity, our calendar fundraising drive is an exercise of believing in ourselves and mutual trust – selfacceptance, self-reliance and self-respect. Let’s put the ideals of the economics of culture to work for us!
Say “Yes” to the Future! As we move forward into a year of promise and hope, along with the must-have commemorative calendars, we will continue to make Countdown to Freedom posters available to churches, schools and households. Frame it, hang it on the wall of your home, office or classroom. Special thanks to our community partners for their contribution toward the printing and distribution of the posters: MMBB Financial
Services, New Jersey Education Association (NJEA), Horizon NJ Health, American Heart Association, American Diabetes Association, United Health Care, United Federation of Teachers (UFT) and African Americans for Health Awareness (AAHA). Most of all, our heartfelt thanks to the many, many churches, organizations and clergy leaders that have said, “Yes” to the future! Know the Cultural Narrativefor yourself and then teach it to a child. See to it that a young person reads it aloud at family gatherings, in the classrooms or before the assembled congregation. Cultural literacy—who we are; and whose we are – will stimulate a sincere quest for knowledge and wisdom along with true thirst and hunger for righteousness. So in spirit and in truth, let the words of 20th century prophet, Rev Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. echo far beyond our years; generations upon generations into the future! Today, we herald the dawn of a new age: “Let Freedom Ring” . . . Save the children! Save the country . . . ”Let freedom Ring!”

—Adrian A. Council, SR.

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