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Saturday, August 6, 2016

Best Black Lives Matter Ever

Best ever Black Lives Matter picture
(Erin Haynes, right)
So how do I know that the Tavares, Florida, Black Lives Matter is the best one ever? I’ve only been to this one but it’s the only one I need to go to. Here’s why. No one was killed, no one was overtly angry, no marchers were bussed in from Orlando, there was no hatred, no yelling, no riots, no guns, no danger – not even a hint of it – and no incivility on anyone’s part. It didn’t make the nightly news across the nation but Tavares’ Black Lives Matter March was a first rate act.

People were friendly, smiling, kind to each other, excited to be able to have a march to express their rights and their thoughts. It was well organized by 26 year-old Erin Haynes, who attended Florida A&M University for two years and plans on studying broadcast journalism at Lake Sumter State College in the fall.

Marchers began assembling in the park by the lake at 6pm (Sunday, July 31) where Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” played through speakers. At 6:15 Erin made a short speech where she insisted that the march was to be peaceful, saying, “We want to relay a message of peace, unity and equality. That’s what it’s all about. No acts of violence will be tolerated.” In addition Haynes said that she wanted people to know that while the march is focused on the Black Lives Matter movement, she believes that all lives matter and blue lives matter. All races, religions and ages of people were welcome in the march.

Prayers before the march
Reverend Michael Watkins, pastor of Tavares Friendship CME Church, said a prayer before the march where people held hands. By 6:15 we were on our way to the courthouse followed by a police escort who had cleared the road so marchers could walk in the street. A police vehicle followed along behind to make sure no cars, unaware of the presence of people in the road, would try to pass. No traffic was held up because, being Sunday, there was no traffic and also because there are several ways to go around Main Street. The white policeman driving the police vehicle was smiling and friendly and seemed to personally know several of the black marchers.

A few Tavares BLM marchers
From l to r: two marchers, Rev Michael Watkins,
David Schoenberger with golf cart of cold bottled water

All the marchers (young, middle aged, older) were pleasant and happy. First Baptist Church of Tavares’ Director of Outreach, David Schoenberger, (white) who knows Rev. Watkins, the black pastor of the CMC Church, provided a cooler filled with ice cold bottles of water since it was quite hot. Schoenberger followed along in his golf cart with the water and was incredibly and genuinely friendly.

There were approximately 45 marchers, 35 black and other races and 10 white. The overall number of marchers was proportionate to our small town population.

Erin chose to hold the march in Tavares after her mother reminded her it is the county seat, therefore the Lake County Courthouse steps was the march’s destination. After a brief stop in front of the Lake County Jail, the march ended 
about 6:40 on the courthouse steps with a short speech by Imam Azhar Subedar, the first Muslim to pray the opening prayer at the Florida Senate (March 18, 2014).

I found the Imam’s courthouse steps’ approximately five minute speech to be less than spectacular in that while he spoke of injustices in the world, he neglected to mention the myriad injustices that Islam itself inflicted and still inflicts upon mankind. He said that we have two choices – “to move forward or go backward,” and that the "best teacher is history".

Imam Azhar Subedar speaking to BLM marchers
on Tavares, FL courthouse steps
He mentioned going back into history of the past 100 years and the injustices of Hitler against the Jews, the bombing of Hiroshima, and the causes of the Civil Rights Movement, but neglected to go further back into history to the injustice of Muslims selling their African slaves to the slave traders. Yes, Imam, the best teacher is history.

Next he mentioned going forward with “today’s ideals and values” and that where people have a voice they must use it. However, he did not admit that under Islam people never have a voice and that under today’s Islamic “ideals and values,” Islam slaughters Christians - black Christians, white Christians - and Jewish people, and that today ISIS Muslims continue salve trade by selling women, children and young boys into slavery, sexual and otherwise, while adult males are brutally killed.

Erin Haynes
I would much rather have listened to Reverend Michael Watkins but then I was not the organizer of this Black Lives Matter march. Erin Haynes was and she, a young woman with a promising future, did a spectacular job.

Erin made one final statement ending the march with, “I love you guys so much!”

1 comment:

Mary Ann Kreitzer said...

With all the horrible Black Lives Matters marches, it was a real delight to read about this one. Thanks, Susan, and a big thank you to all the folks who joined together to show that we're one human family!