The fight goes on

Published: Thursday, December 1, 2011 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, November 30, 2011 at 2:37 p.m.

As the president and founder of the Rosa Parks Quiet Courage Committee, and on behalf of the entire committee, I want to sincerely thank the Gainesville and Alachua County community for coming out last month to support our 6th annual Rosa Parks tribute and awards program.

The entire program was truly memorable and historical, as well as educational, especially for the young people in the audience. We once again salute and congratulate our recipients, Denifield Player, Kali Blount and our high school honoree, Kalyn White, and all of the local Freedom Riders and advocates for justice who also were present.

There are so many people to thank, I don't know where to begin, but I should begin first with the dedicated members of the committee, most of whom have been involved since the beginning in 2006. These committee members have worked from day one to keep the spirit of Rosa Parks alive. Then there are the numerous volunteers who help in so many ways, including typing and printing, ushering and assisting in making our program the great success that it was. Without them, we would not have been as blessed as we were in honoring a great icon.

Thanks also go out to all of our special actual program participants who performed their tasks well, as asked, and added dignity and honor where it was needed. They were a most valuable asset to the entire event.

Last, but not least, I would like to thank all those from the community and surrounding areas, our past recipients and those elected and appointed officials, former office holders and current candidates for office who sacrificed the time on a Sunday evening to attend the program and also to those who gave donations to help offset costs and expenses associated with organizing such an event. Every donation is much appreciated, no matter the size. It is still the thought that matters.

Toward the end of the program, I gave brief reflections on the theme, "Freedom Riders — Destination: Justice," and because I had to condense my remarks, I would like to state here what I did not say. In terms of what the freedom riders did 50 years ago, after all of the violence and bloodshed and other indignities inflicted upon them, justice still came because the Goliath called racism was brought down by the brave "Davids" who stood up for justice and who stood up with "quiet courage."

And justice did come to Gainesville, and the dark ugly walls of segregation came down and the bright and glorious rays of final justice at lunch counters and other places of segregation shone through and cast a beautiful light on places once off limits to the black citizens of Gainesville because these places were not the actual destinations, but the real and eventual destination was justice.

Even with such history made right in Gainesville, there are still way too many people, especially young people, who have no idea who Rosa Parks is, don't know about the Negro National Anthem, or who wrote it or why we still sing it to this day.

Because of these wide education gaps, I am calling on all schools in Alachua County to increase their curriculim to include black history education and also a tour of the Rosa Parks RTS Downtown Station and the wall murals as a regular part of that school curriculum.

As I end my comments here, I will finally say that the fight for justice goes on, and as we continue the ongoing journey for that real and meaningful concept called justice, let us all go forward with faith and resolve to become even stronger and have unwavering courage in the spirit of Rosa Parks and so many others, because as we go forward, we have a power greater and mightier that our own who will not leave us or forsake us. He is the subject of a well-known hymn that the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. often used during those dark days of the struggle for equality:

"He has sounded forth the trumpet that shall never call retreat;

he is sifting out the hearts of men before his judgment seat;

O be swift, my soul to answer him, be jubilant, my feet, our God is marching on.

Glory Hallelujah, Glory Hallelujah, Glory Hallelujah, his truth is marching on!

The Rev. Milford Lewis Griner is president and founder of the Rosa Parks Quiet Courage Committee.

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