One Flag Coming Down, One Flag Going Up

Someone once told me to understand the moment when you are in it. Thursday, June 24, 2015 was one of those moments. As if being born the Negro child of Colored parents, raised in a time of the Civil Rights and Black Power movements, and surviving long enough to witness the election of the first African American President wasn’t enough, the unthinkable happened – a white, Republican Governor of Alabama, Robert Bentley, ordered that four confederate flags be removed from the state capitol grounds. He didn’t wait to debate the issue or reach public consensus, he just said “take it down.\”

It’s clear that the murder of nine bible study worshipers, and the forgiveness the victim’s relatives displayed, played a major role in this drastic step. But why now? Wasn’t the stage already set when Travon Martin was gunned down by a supposed neighborhood watch zealot and his killer set free? His grieving parent’s cried out for calm and showed a grace many of us wouldn’t have been able to. Let’s go back even further to the beating of Rodney King where the police brutality, many minorities had claimed for years, was exposed publicly. Didn’t he even question “why can’t we all just get along?”

But, as if being born the Negro child of Colored parents, raised in a time of the Civil Rights and Black Power movements, and surviving long enough to witness the election of the first African American President, and debates growing to relegate the rebel confederate flag to museums wasn’t enough – the Supreme Court ruled in favor of same sex marriage. Little did I know when I arrived in San Francisco on a foggy night nearly forty years ago to attend college that I was glimpsing into the future.

These are indeed unique times and everyone has their own opinion on whether they are good times, bad times, or the end of time. History is the true arbiter. But after being born the Negro child of Colored parents, raised in a time of the Civil Rights and Black Power movements, surviving long enough to witness the election of the first African American President, debates to relegate the rebel confederate flag to museums, and a Supreme Court ruling in favor of same sex marriage isn’t’ enough… always recognize the moment in time when things change.

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