Speech By Rev. Ronald V. Myers, Sr., M.D. at Beverly Hills Temple of the Arts
Rev. Ronald V. Myers, Sr., M.D.
Beverly Hills Temple of the Arts
Friday, January 16, 2015
THANKS TO RABBI DAVID BARON, STEVE, GABRIEL AND ARI MACHT
THANKS TO MY WIFE SYLVIA
ACKNOWLEDGE THE PRESENCE OF JUNETEENTH LEADERS
ACKNOWLEDGE TO PRESENCE OF THE FRENCH AMBASSADOR AND FRANCE'S RECENT TRADEGY
FREEDOM IS UNDER ASSAULT AROUND THE WORLD
WE ARE THANKFUL FOR FRANCE'S LEADERSHIP IN RACIAL RECONCILIATION AND HEALING FROM THE LEGACY OF ENSLAVEMENT
French President, M. Jacques CHIRAC, during the
first day of remembrance of slavery and its abolition in France stated:
"Let us face up to our past, it is one of the keys to our national cohesion."
Along with the United States, France was one of the countries deeply involved in the slave trade.
Referring to the geographic triangle of France, Africa and the Americas, President Chirac stated:
"The triangular trade dehumanized people over several centuries, and in several continents. A tragedy which saw the mass deportation of men, women and children, torn from their land and families, and transported like animals."
France was the first nation to celebrate and devote a day to the memory of the slave trade, slavery and its' abolition.
President Chirac also stated:
"Faced with the infamy of slavery, France took the requisite action, was the first to do so."
"Let’s make no mistake here: today still, this tragedy finds echoes."
America and President Obama need to follow the example of France and President Chirac in honestly, with integrity, confronting our racist enslavement legacy.
As we again gather to remember the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., reflecting on a time when America was deeply divided by racism and discrimination, the Civil Rights Movement became the instrument of change, leading to the removing of barriers of ignorance, hate and intolerance.
Dr. King's commitment to non-violent social change has brought all humanity together to break down the barriers of injustice and hate. Dr. King's life has been the inspiration behind our coming together as Jews, Christians, Ethiopians, Africans and African Americans, in a spirit of brotherhood and love.
This was the cause that cost Dr. King his life.
However, the root of racism in America goes back to the evil arrival of Africans in the belly of slave ships.
Following the end of the Civil War and the presence of union troops throughout the south, from 1865 to around 1877, there were 20 black members of the U.S. Congress. 2 black U.S. Senator's and 18 black members of the U.S. House of Representatives.
When Union troops were ordered out of the south, the racial backlash of white society through the lynching and murders of the Klu Klux Clan and other white supremacist groups, led to the "whites only" and "colored only" signs of racial discrimination as the rule of the day for American society.
Jews and African Africans both shared the injustice of racial and religious bigotry and discrimination.
In his historic speech, "I Have a Dream", Dr. King stated:
"Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksand’s of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God's children."
Dr. King's sacrifice has made it possible for America to confront a dark history of slavery and racism through the celebration of freedom, Juneteenth.
Juneteenth, the "19th of June," celebrates the day in 1865, in Galveston, Texas, when Union General Gordon Granger read General Order #3, announcing that all slaves were free - 2 ˝ years after Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation.
As the leader of the "Modern Juneteenth Movement," which began in New Orleans with a meeting of Juneteenth leaders in 1994, state and national recognition of Juneteenth as a National Day of Observance became our goal.
Today 43 states, including California, the District of Columbia and the U.S. Congress recognize Juneteenth.
Last year, thanks to the support of Senator Barbara Boxer, the U.S. Senate unanimously passed legislation to recognize the "19th of June" as Juneteenth Independence Day in America.
The "19th of June" completes the cycle of Independence day celebrations in America, beginning with the "4th of July."
As Americans, we all share and fight for our common bond of freedom.
Those who celebrate Juneteenth, are reminded of the painful past of America's dark days of enslavement and the need for reconciliation and healing.
In response, our "Modern Juneteenth Movement" has embraced the term "Maafa", a Kiswahili term meaning "terrible occurrence" or "great disaster", to tell our own story as African Americans about our enslavement and the sustained attempt to dehumanize us.
The National Day of Reconciliation and Healing from the Legacy of Enslavement has been established on the "18th of June," the day before freedom on the "19th of June," Juneteenth.
We have the same attitude as modern Israelites have about the holocaust - "never again,” because if we forget, it may happen again.
Through Juneteenth, African Americans are connecting with our family in Africa, severed from us because of the tyranny enslavement.
The first Ethiopian Jewish woman to be crowned Miss Israel, Yityish "Titi" Aynaw, visited America in 2013 as our guest. She traveled to Los Angeles and warmed our hearts with the story of her leaving Ethiopia as a young child and moving to live in Israel.
Titi has provided African Americans the opportunity to connect with our Ethiopian and Hebrew roots.
Traveling to Netanya, Israel last year, I was inspired by Titi's work with at risk Ethiopian Jewish youth through "Project Titi."
I met with an Ethiopian Knesset member and other government officials, who provided a tour of an Ethiopian absorption center and an inspiring Ethiopian cultural preservation project.
The Church of God in Christ, the second largest black church denomination in America, under the leadership of Bishop Charles Blake and Bishop George McKinney, will be joining me on our 2015 Juneteenth Israel Missions Outreach, from August 31st through September 10th.
We are anticipating over 100 pastors and black church leaders to travel with us to Israel.
Greater support for Project Titi and developing closer ties between the African American church and the Ethiopian Jewish community in Israel remains our goal.
A Juneteenth medical Missions Outreach to Ethiopia has been scheduled for January of 2016.
As we celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., let us commit ourselves to continue the dream of bringing all of humanity together to fight injustice, discrimination and racial bigotry.
Support the effort to establish Juneteenth as a National Day of Observance in America for the purpose of reconciliation and healing from the legacy of enslavement.
Join us in support of Project Titi in Israel and to develop closer ties between the African American church and Israel.
Support the Myers Foundation to the provide health care to the poorest of the poor in the Mississippi Delta.
Let us bring the gift of love to the people of Ethiopia through medical missions outreach.
Let us support the rights of chronic pain patients to receive the health care they need without prejudice and discrimination.
As we work together, Dr. King's dream remains alive in America, Israel, Africa, France and the world.
Rev. Ronald V. Myers, Sr., M.D.
Temple of the Arts
Beverly Hills, California
The Myers Foundation
P.O. Box 269
Belzoni, MS 39038