Why I met with Jeff Sessions

4/21/2017, 7:04 a.m.

Re “April fools: Va. SCLC lauds racist U.S. attorney general for civil rights work on anniversary of Dr. King’s death” and editorial, “Buffoonery,” April 6-8:

I would like to convey my sincere appreciation to the Richmond Free Press for granting me the opportunity to share my thoughts and reflections as an individual.

I also pay homage to my friends and mentors Rev. Curtis W. Harris and Rev. Marcellus L. Harris Jr., two great men who inspired me to be a freedom fighter in the organization that was co-founded by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.

I am recycling Dr. King’s strategies because they were effective then and they are effective now.  

In reference to the recent article regarding our meeting with U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, I submit to you that any organization that has a mission as a civil rights organization will inevitably have, at some point in time, civil rights cases and also seek legal redress in the aforementioned areas. Our rationale for the meeting is that we have civil rights cases in many different areas.

Dr. King worked with diverse groups to resolve issues.

If you are involved in civil rights today, and the person who is the leader of law enforcement agencies such as the FBI and others oversees the portfolio, it’s important that we not only have a seat, but a voice at the table.

I made a commitment to God to be a voice for the voiceless! I will continue to honor my commitment to God. I must reiterate that my oath is with God, not with any man.

During the past 25 years, I, as an individual and collectively, have received a great deal of calls on various issues because of my involvement in civil rights. The telephone calls, letters and meetings are many, with discussions about criminal justice, police misconduct and public corruption, just to name a few. If we want an investigation to proceed in the highest levels of the areas of justice, who do we need talk to? I think we want our cases to be heard by the highest office in the country.

In short, this is why I drove to Washington — and I make no apologies for my meeting with Attorney General Sessions.

I have been the same individual all of my life. I have fought about nightclubs whose predominantly African-American patrons were being subjected to systemic racism and targeted compared with other establishments with patrons who are non-minorities. I am hopeful that those who are engrossed with righteous indignation will surely understand that if an injustice occurs on a bus or in a business, it is still an injustice.

At the same time, I will and have taken numerous stands against injustice involving municipal governments, mayors, vice mayors, city council members and city managers who sought to displace elderly residents, disabled individuals and working class African-Americans from their homes to curry favor with special interests and the social elite. Ironically, the perpetrators against the aforementioned were African-Americans themselves. We must not remain silent, regardless of who the oppressors are.

Dr. King led the charge on the 1965 Voting Rights Act and on the 1965 Civil Rights Act that Congress passed. Dr. King helped pass these laws by communicating, talking with people and getting involved with others. He did not isolate himself from the rest of the world. Instead, he rolled up his sleeves and made contact with others. He knew that in order to get some resolution of problems, he had to first have some sort of communication with the parties involved.

People criticized Dr. King all of the time.

I have a strong belief in God, and my faith and spiritual belief may be beyond the comprehension of any one individual.


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