I share a flashback from 1978! My seventh grade math teacher at Adams Junior High School sent my home an Impairment Report because my grade was a “B” and he felt my potential was an “A”!
When my grandmother opened the mail, she came to school immediately, out of the blue, wearing white chipped-leather go-go boots, a plaid poncho, gauchos, a wig that exposed her gray hair. natural and had a cigarette in his hand! I might add that it contrasted sharply with my tie outfit, white shirt with cufflinks and blue suede Stacy Adams; accessorized with a briefcase. Indeed, I was not the “average” seventh grade student and my peers attest to this truth even today. It didn’t take long for word to spread around the building that there was a crazy woman looking for me.
With the teacher and administration gathered in the main office, like Tyler Perry’s Madea, my freestyle rapper grandmother says, “You eat my bread, I’m gonna break your head!” To the approval of the deputy director who shared: “You are my mother in a way!” I knew now was not the time to correct it and say it’s my grandmother. Yet I still couldn’t imagine all this drama for a B grade! Needless to say, my final mark was an A-minus – no bragging, just fear to death!
I share this memory when I recently discovered that Mr. Joseph A. Sculli Jr., my former math teacher, has passed away. He gave me a lesson in life, especially in personal responsibility and expectations, which I have never forgotten. He was small in stature but tall in integrity. I am grateful for the lesson in life that I still embrace today. Hopefully my family understands the source of my “extra-ness”. More so, I am grateful to have shared my appreciation with Mr Sculli for the frank challenge of never accepting minimum standards. Don’t settle for good when you can be taller. May his memory remain a blessing.
I was browsing through old files and fondly remembered that the Mahoning Valley Association of Churches was once responsible for the weekly programming of “Reflections”, WKBN-TV’s inspirational messages from religious leaders in the area. . I had the honor of participating in 1998 and here are the two shared sermonettes:
- “Unlike Superman, our Lord has x-ray vision that goes beyond reach and focus. He is able to look past our faults and examine our needs. Trust his all-seeing eyes. His supernatural sight is shared with his superlative love for us.
- “We can be likened to coupons, each having redeeming value by the hand that holds it. You are appreciated and worth the savings. His hands covered with nail scars bear the marks to prove it. It has been declared: “Do not be afraid for the Lord has redeemed you and called you by your name; you are his. ‘”
It is my renewed hope and interest that MVAC, under the leadership of Dr Thomas Sauline, considers re-establishing these inspiring expressions delivered by the religious community.
Martin Luther King: Civil Rights 54 Years Later
A Martin Luther King worship service is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. on January 16, 2022, at the Price Memorial African Methodist Episcopal Church, 920 Dryden Ave., and will be broadcast live. There will be selected readings from local youth and special music. The preacher for the service will be the Reverend Dr. Marvin McMickle of Cleveland, a revered theologian, preacher, pastor teacher and author. Dr McMickle recently retired as President of Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School, Dr King’s alma mater.
People are urged to check online if they are not vaccinated. Temperatures will be checked at the door. Masks must be worn.
A Martin Luther King workshop is scheduled from 8:45 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. on January 17, 2022, at the First Presbyterian Church of Youngstown, 201 Wick Ave. The opening session will be broadcast live. There will be focus groups on criminal justice, health care and youth empowerment. Dr McMickle will be in attendance and will examine the impact of the redistribution.
We thank co-organizers Jaladah Aslam, Reverend Kenneth Simon and Penny Wells for coordinating these efforts with the MLK Planning Committee, which meets year round.
As the National King’s Day approaches, we must revisit the message Dr. King shared in the pursuit of the beloved community. It continues to require that all hands be on the bridge to make this a reality. King once said, “What makes me happy is that this is not a nigger struggle. God has inspired many of his white children in this struggle, and they are here with us.
He went on to say, “We must always make it clear that the tension in our nation is not just a tension between black males and white males, but it is a tension between justice and injustice.”
That said, we must continue to build coalitions and foster collaborations to advance justice for all. We are wrong if we view the civil rights movement as a program led and embraced only by African Americans. Dr. King cultivated relationships that extended beyond his Baptist roots. In particular, the Jewish community responded to King’s call and made a significant difference. During many marches, Jewish demonstrators marched side by side with blacks. Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, a prominent Jewish theologian, was a friend of King and was pictured walking with him on the march from Selma. He presented the Prize for Judaism and World Peace to King in 1965.
This relationship forged efforts beyond marching and protest, such as helping to found and fund the NAACP, the United Negro College Fund, the National Urban League, and the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee. Let us not forget that we must continue the fight for freedom and justice for all. May the visual of this rendition of The Balm in Gilead Inc.’s “Lift Every Voice and Sing” inspire you to keep the dream alive. As it is written in Amos 5:24: “But let righteousness flow like waters, and righteousness like a brook which flows always. “
A summit experience
The Youngstown Playhouse will present The Mountaintop, a fictional tale of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s last night on Earth. Named after his last speech and taking place at the Lorraine Hotel on April 3, 1968, the production reveals the human side of MLK Jr. The performance, directed by James Major Burns, will star Tae Stubbs as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Tasia Ford as Camae, a housekeeper for the hotel.
The Mountaintop, written by Katori Hall, will take place on the weekends February 18-20 and February 25-27. Friday and Saturday performances are at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday mornings will start at 2:30 p.m. Guests are encouraged to stay afterward for a stakeholder discussion moderated by Thomas Fields, a communications specialist for Case Western Reserve University.
A passing thought
America took a New Years Eve hiatus to honor the legacy of artist Betty White. A few days earlier, the community was discussing their next centennial celebration. The passing three weeks before this milestone supports my position: “Don’t wait to celebrate! »Live each day like the last because there are no repetitions. Share, show and express your love to those you meet daily and ALWAYS KEEP THE FAITH!
– Reverend Lewis W. Macklin II is the senior pastor of Holy Trinity Baptist Missionary Church, chaplain of the Youngstown Police Department, president of the Baptist Pastors Council and local coordinator of the African American Male Wellness Walk in the Mahoning Valley. He resides in Youngstown with Dorothy, his marriage and ministry partner. They share the love and joy of six children and eight grandchildren and their mischievous dog, Sir Winston.
– All Bible quotes are New Living Translation, unless otherwise noted.