First off, once again let me wish all of you a Happy King Day. For those of you who did not know, I was recently honored by the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) with the Drum Major for Justice Award.
I want to thank Board Chairman Tyrone Freeman, President and Executive Director Eric Lee and all of the agency’s board of directors and committee members at SCLC who thought enough of me, and the work I do to find me worthy of such a prestigious honor.
As I sat up there on the stage I remembered the first time I ever attended an MLK Day Dinner. It was in the early 80s and my dad was receiving this prestigious award and at the time I really did not understand the significance of the day. Well now, flipping the script and receiving the award (with my dad watching me accept the award) I probably still don’t really understand the honor, but I am humbled and proud to be part of such an incredible group.
The truth for me is that I was brought up at the knee of some of the greatest civil rights organizers that Los Angeles or any other part of this country has ever seen. I grew up not only watching Danny, Sr. build the Brotherhood Crusade, but I was there when Walter Bremond first made the decision to start an organization committed to the concept of Black people helping Black people. I also watched Lillian Mobley build up South Central Community Center, I watched Mary Henry fight for our people and at the same time build up Avalon Carver. As a teenager, I can’t tell you how much fried chicken I ate at fundraising dinners (some of y’all remember them as suppers) sponsored by Johnnie Tillman and ANC Mothers. I remember having long talks with Dr. Thomas Kilgore about marching with Dr. King as he worked to strengthen The Black Agenda. I recall Ophelia McFadden having strategy meetings with
Brenda Marsh-Mitchell and Danny Sr. working to insure that labor unions not only fought for workers’ rights, but particularly the rights of African American workers.
I tell all of you all of this because the truth is, working and caring about the quality of the Black community and Black people is like breathing. It is just what I do. In recent years I have been blessed to have the Sentinel as the vehicle I use to promote and advance the quality of life for African Americans, but whether it is via the Sentinel or via Bakewell Company development or construction projects I have always been committed to the advancement of the Black Agenda.
This ideology is something we have all been taught at a very early age. Even before I learned it from Ms. Mobley, I learned it from Grandpa, Pa, Mamee and Granny (these are the names of my grandparents), we all learned it. We learned if from Madear, Big Momma, Uncle Earl, or any other family name of those who came before us. They are the ones who laid the foundation for everything I do, and everything we all MUST do to make our community better.
So as we all pay tribute to Dr. King this week, think back to those people in your life and those life lessons who not only told you about the greatness of Dr. King, but also lived and taught you about the greatness of the life lessons Dr. King so vigorously tried to teach all of America. Lets pay tribute to all of our family and forefathers on King Day, by not only paying tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, but by also paying tribute to those family members who paved the way between Dr. King and us who lived and died so we could all live the American Dream.
So, whether you agree or disagree, now more than ever I really need your input. I need to hear from you. I need to know what is going on in our community. I also need to know what other stories we need to tell, and what is on your mind. I really do want to hear from you, I want you to “Talk to Danny.”
Sincerely, Danny J. Bakewell, Jr. President & Executive Editor