The Glover Report: Empowerment Temple's Dr. Bryant Rallies Hearts for Chris Brown and Other Murder Victims
Rev. Dr. Jamal Harrison Bryant Delivers a message of love
By Doni M. Glover, www.bmorenews.com
(BALTIMORE - August 8, 2012) - Say what you want about Rev. Dr. Jamal Harrison Bryant. No, the brother ain’t perfect. Guess who else is not? Last night, the man of God spoke a truth to power that the entire nation needs to hear. And for the record, I think he was the best man for the job.
At last night’s rally for the memory of Chris Brown, the Empowerment Temple pastor silenced critics who pointed out how he gained national attention during the Trayvon Martin phenomena. There, in Sanford, Florida – Dr. Bryant joined National Action Network’s Rev. Al Sharpton and others as the nation wept and tried to make some sense of the senseless murder of another young black male teen; Trayvon Martin’s murder put a nation on-point before the entire world about its reputation for ill-treating young black men.
At Empowerment Temple last night, Jamal Bryant brought the message home, literally.
He wasted no time bringing attention to us as black people and the harm we cause each other. More often than not, the prime perpetrator of black teens’ murders across the nation – besides those killed by the police - is other black people – mainly young men. And these vicious crimes by blacks on blacks leads to another glaring statistic we continuously note: the fact that 39% of America’s prison population is comprised of black men. Given that black people only comprise 13.6% of this nation’s population, something is fundamentally and disproportionate wrong with these numbers. In any other community – besides, I guess, the Latino community – this would be a 9-1-1. Blacks and Latinos dominate America’s prisons numerically in a system that is noted for it’s world record-breaking over-incarceration rate.
Bottomline: Yes! There are miscreants in our community who refuse to do right. The twisted enigma is that the days of white people killing black people are replaced with the days of black people killing black people. Go figure! I imagine our ancestors are rolling over in their graves. They bled and sweat for black people to act like this?
Paulo Friere alludes to this in his seminal text, Pedagogy of the Oppressed. This is that Stockholm syndrome feature/characteristic whereby after a certain point the oppressed take on the role of the oppressor and start oppressing each other.
For instance, in my 99% black West Baltimore neighborhood – in East Baltimore – up Park Heights, the drug dealers peddling on the corners are not white boys.
Add to this strife on the streets the very quiet black leadership that has dwindled in political power and influence since the days of Howard Pete Rawlings, Clarence Blount, and Kurt Schmoke. Truth be told, black Baltimore’s genuine leadership – made up of those who ultimately love the people in the places they serve – hasn’t made much noise in too long.
The concerns of the people have become best articulated by a handful … like Dr. Bryant.
And we see that all the time in the black community. As of late, this become the norm: a leadership missing in action and yet voting and pushing an agenda that hardly benefits the black community. Truth be told, black people don’t know who to trust. Quite often, those charged with leadership are on the take. In a day and time when pastors are usurped by politicians just to gain access to their congregation, last night’s service was a pleasant reminder that somebody still gets it. Somebody still cares.
And that leads to another beautiful aspect of last night’s ‘Come to Jesus’ meeting: the real genius of Dr. Bryant was bringing together the heart of the people – including dozens of people who have lost loved ones to murder in the streets of Baltimore. It was the community embracing the community. It was love – the very first thing Jesus commands of his followers.
I personally believe that the solution to all of our ills is the very thing that has gotten black folks this far and what anoints us amidst an often hostile territory both domestically and abroad: love. And what better person to capture the essence of the horror of the Chris Brown murder by an off-duty copy who was slapped on the wrist, thus far, in the family and community’s eyes – and still call the people to love … than the sharp, charismatic personality and beloved son of Bishop John Bryant.
Dr. Jamal Bryant led the people last night. And other soldiers were nearby – including Civil Rights activist Marvin “Doc” Cheatham and WOLB 1010 AM Morning Host Larry Young. The message: Well, the message was simply love. And it was also about protecting our seeds and healing our families … “for the sake of the future of this city” and cities across the world.