Saint Sabina’s YAM Remembers King’s 46th Anniversary With Historic Movie – Questions Future of America

YAM President questions future of America

By Chinta Strausberg

To commemorate the 46th death anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Mack Julion, president of Saint Sabina’s Youth Adult Ministry (YAM) Friday showed a film of the life and legacy of the fallen leader ending with questions about the status of the civil rights movement and the lack of interest by the youth.

Illinois State Senator Jacqueline Collins (D-16th) was among those who watched the film shown in the McMahon Hall at Saint Sabina. She explained that back in the 1960’s many of the parents were domestics who feared losing their jobs if they participated in the Civil Rights movement.

“So, if it were not for the youth who filled up the jails facing water hoses and the dogs, we would not be sitting here today witnessing Barack Obama as the first African American president,” Collins said.

“As to how we reconnect with our youth and still the importance of their engagement in the process…there is so much apathy out there,” she said. Collins said unemployment among black males is 89 percent and between the ages of 19 and 24. “Education,” she said is key.

Born in McComb, Mississippi, Senator Collins said she remembers the white and colored signs on the water fountains. “I’ve had the exposure to racism that shapes our experiences. Many of our youth,” she said have not seen the vestiges of racism.

Julion said there has been a moral breakdown in today’s generation for they were never taught to love themselves including their moral values. “Somewhere along the line, moral dropped” he said has been replaced by “hate spewing out into the streets, crime, violence and the type of music and video” that demoralizes women and blacks.

Asked if the reason for so much apathy among young and older people can be attributed to the killing of the Kennedy brothers and Dr. King, Julion said, “America was founded on violence, founded on bloodshed” pointing to the murders of the Kennedy’s, King, Malcolm X, Medgar Evers, Trayvon Martin, Julion said, “This is what America’s principles are.

“It is very hard to trust a system that has that history and not just bloodshed on American soil but abroad…,” Julion said. Saying he cannot speak for his generation and Julion is around 28, he said younger people “don’t trust America at all.

“The 2008 election may have been the last time” they were able to trust, he said explaining with the election of Obama “they thought he was it but they didn’t see the trickle down effect. Violence is still” going on and poverty prevails. “I am not sure that trust of America’s system” will ever be restored.

Father Michael Pfleger said, “Any fight for justice be it the Vietnam War, the Civil Rights movement…a conviction and righteousness and courage” are key today in seeking fairness.

Having just left a press conference at 116th and Halsted given by Pam Bosley, the mother of 18-year-old Terrell Bosley who was killed outside of is church eight-years ago “almost at the same exact time Dr. King was killed 46-years ago, Father Pfleger said, “This continuance of violence is no better than it was in 1968.”

“If we are going to change things we have to stop accepting less than. I think we believe things were better than they were…. People are still dying,” said Pfleger pointing to last week’s statistics that showed 33 people were shot and 5 killed in 6 days.

“You walk down some of our streets” like Marshfield…You walk down some blocks and it looks like a third world country. Some people go through garbage cans outside of my window. Things are not good. Things are horrible. People are dying. People are drugged up, sexed up to try to escape the realities of life right now, this weekend.

“We have to stop accepting conditions that are evil and unjust and get mad about it,” said Pfleger. “We’ve lost our fight…our courage. We need to use our faith to fight with and to stop accepting less than what God promised us to be….”

Saying Dr. King had convictions, Pfleger said that is why he spoke against the Vietnam War and why he went back to Birmingham when his friends told him not to. King, he said, “sat in a basement just like this in 1955 with less people who are here right now…when his family and his dad told him not to do that.” King, he said, had convictions and principles, which “kept him and drove him.”

“We got to get back to individuals driven by principles and not by greed, success or popularity,” said Pfleger. “I think we got to get angry…and get principles for what is right. Is it possible to follow Jesus and be silent…”?

Overall, the group felt this generation has a lot of work to do if Dr. King’s dream of equality, fairness and social justice will prevail.