The Powerful Words Of Dr. King

The Powerful Words Of Dr. King

Dr. MLK had powerful words for our society

The Powerful Words Of Dr. King

By Wes & Anna Hessel


The Great Doctor

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., stands as the paramount leader of the civil rights movement.  There were many more alongside him, most notably the other members of the “Big Six”.  They were James Farmer, A. Philip Randolph, Roy Wilkins, Whitney Young, and John Lewis.  But Dr. King, or MLK, as many refer to him, was the most visible light and lightning rod.

He Still Speaks To Us

His words continue to speak volumes today, calling us to continue the fight for what is right. Most particularly right now is the need to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act and the Freedom to Vote Act.  That is the legacy that should be made to honor both these men who worked staunchly for what they believed.  Dr. King’s own family is calling for a hold on celebrating his day until these voting rights bills are made law.  In the meantime, we hear the echoes of MLK’s quotable phrases and speeches.

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BLACK HISTORY MONTH: Black and Blessed

*Celebrating Black History Month

**At the close of Black History Month let’s take a look at ourselves and our country. DSM/Calamity**

BLACK HISTORY MONTH: Black and Blessed

By Wes & Anna Hessel


A Black Mark Not On Our History

As Black History Month comes to a close, we must actively insure that the true history of Black Americans is told. All of it. The dark and the glorious. How this story ends will be a predictor of how our nation embraces our black brothers and moves forward.  We all recall as children eating peanut butter spread on crackers as we learned about George Washington Carver, but no other significant Black history was ever taught, at least any school I ever attended. African-American history remains mostly hidden and not taught in schools.

Inventors and Heroes

It is not a significant part of any school curriculums and it should be.  An accurate depiction of the history and culture of African-Americans must become part of American history classes.  Teaching a truthful history lends respect to those activities could over a generation change core attitudes. The history of blacks in America is our history, some dark and tragic, some brilliant and glorious. It is time we as a country accept that not all history worth being written down and taught was that of  white men.   The poem that became the lyrics of our National Anthem was written by an attorney who had little or no respect for Black people.   We now must educate about the atrocities of slavery and the important roles Blacks have played and continue to play in our history and our future.

Nothing New

Various peoples of Africa were brought to the “New World” as slaves, bought, sold, and treated like the property they were considered to be, not the persons of rich culture and tradition they had been.  The “first” African slaves brought to what is now the United States is typically thought to be a load of captives from what is now Angola, sold to Jamestown Governor George Yeardley and Abraham Piersey, the colony’s trade head, for food, near the end of August 1619.

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Zitkala-Sa: An American Indian Voice

Zitkala-Sa: An American Indian Voice

The legacy of Zitkala-Sa lives on as one of the most influential Native American activists of the 20th century. She left an influential theory of Indian resistance and a crucial model for reform. It was the activism of Zitkala-Sa that made possible crucial changes to education, health care, and legal standing for Native American people and the preservation of Indian culture.

Life Story: Zitkala-Sa - Women & the American StoryZitkala-Sa’s Literary Work

“Much of Zitkala-Sa’s work is characterized by its transitional nature: tensions between tradition and assimilation, between literature and politics. These tensions are most notable in her autobiographical works. In her well-known “American Indian Stories”, for example, she both expresses a literary account of her life and delivers a political message. The narrative expresses her tension between wanting to follow the traditions of the Yankton Dakota while being excited about learning to read and write, and being tempted by assimilation. This tension has been described as generating much of the dynamism of her work.” Wikipedia

Zitkala-Sa: An American Indian Voice

By D. S. Mitchell

Who was Zitkala-Sa?

Zitkala-Sa was an American Indian woman who was an influential voice for indigenous people. Red Bird was a writer, editor, translator, composer, musician, educator, and political activist.  She struggled with her cultural identity and took that struggle to the written page. She also wrote books about traditional Native American myths and stories. Her writings were well-known  to a white English-speaking readership. She is considered among one of the most influential Native Americans of the twentieth century.

Red Bird

Zitkala-Sa was born February 22, 1876 on the Yankton Dakota Reservation in South Dakota. Zitkala-Sa means “Red Bird”.  She was later given the missionary name of Gertrude Simmons.  Ellen Simmons, a Yankton Dakota woman whose Dakota name was Thate Ivohiwin (Every Wind or Reaches for the Wind) was her mother. Her father was a German-American man who left the family when Zitkala-Sa was very young. Gertrude later married Raymond Bonnin and is often known as Gertrude Simmons Bonnin.

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We Share A Dream

Honor MLK today by doing something for someone else. Make today a day of service.

We Share A Dream

By Anna & Wes Hessel

Thank You, Dr. King…

We celebrate the birthday of one of the greatest and most humble human beings to ever live, Dr. Martin Luther King, a Godly man of peace and gentle warrior.  He selflessly championed for civil rights and worked to change the world into a better place.  Many hard won civil rights from that time have been attacked during the Trump administration but now with the inauguration of President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, Dr. King’s legacy will continue to live on.  The Biden-Harris inaugural team has instituted a day of service to honor the remarkable Martin Luther King, Jr.

 The Son of a King

Born the son of a preacher man, Michael King, Jr., entered life in 1929 on January 15th in Atlanta.  His father, Michael, Sr., was himself the scion of a pastor.  Junior joined senior in 1934 on a sojourn through  Rome, Tunisia, Egypt, Jerusalem, and Bethlehem, commissioned by the church the elder King pastored.  The final stop was in Berlin for the Baptist World Alliance’s international conference.

The Fight for Reform

There both Kings saw firsthand the spread of Nazi influence.  The BWA issued an official policy statement, saying, “This Congress deplores and condemns as a violation of the law of God the Heavenly Father, all racial animosity, and every form of oppression or unfair discrimination toward the Jews, toward coloured people, or toward subject races in any part of the world.”  Having visited sites in the German capital which were involved with the Reformation movement started by Martin Luther, Michael Sr. began to call himself, “Martin Luther King, Sr.” and renamed his son accordingly, making it official on junior’s birth certificate in 1957.

Growing Up Black

Junior had befriended a Caucasian boy before they both entered first grade, but because of their skin color difference, they went to separate (segregated) schools.  The white child’s parents a short time later then cut off contact between the two, citing race as the deciding factor.  When the younger Martin Luther went to his parents about the break, they sat him down to detail the slavery of blacks and resultant racism.  When confronted with all that had been perpetrated against people of color, MLK said later he became, “determined to hate every white person”.  His father and mother, though, taught junior that Jesus called for the love of everyone.

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Gay In America


Trevor K. McNeil

Not Ashamed

Shame is one of the strongest human emotions. It has long been a key weapon used by the powerful, particularly those in religious authority. The Catholic Church was a prime offender. Popes even stooped so low as to peddle Papal Indulgences.   Papal Indulgences were basically ‘Get Out of Hell Free Cards’ for so-called infractions the church decided were “sinful.” Queer behavior was often targeted as “sinful” by religious leaders.

Targets Of Shame

Two of the biggest targets of shame through the eons have been women and members of the Queer community (or LGBTQ+ if you prefer). As with all unjust behavior comes opposition, injustice inflaming those who fight to bring about change. That push for change culminated recently when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that civil right’s law protect gay and transgender individuals, making it illegal to dismiss individuals from their employment for being homosexual.

Death Sentence

All has not been rosy for our dear friends of Dorothy. For a sickeningly long time, in even the alleged “land of the free”, it was illegal to be gay. Punishments ranging from torture and death to imprisonment, depending if it was the courts, or a posse who decided an individual were “deviant” as it was then called. Prison often being the best of the options available.

Kenneth Anger

A 2oth century warrior against gay discrimination was filmmaker Kenneth Anger. Anger is an open Luciferian (he has the word LUCIFER tattooed across his chest). He is a life-long contrarian with a near-suicidal need to thumb his nose at oppressive authority. The fact that Anger (still kickin’ at 93) is also gay is actually the least interesting, or controversial, thing about him.  He was used to being hated and knew his life was at risk for speaking out.  But still, Anger had no qualms and pulled no punches in terms of overtly gay imagery in his films, knowing full well he could be arrested or even killed.

They Said What Now?

In 1968 playwright Mart Crowley’s groundbreaking play The Boys In the Band premiered off Broadway. The play focused on a group LGBTQ+ males but every one of the characters is a fleshed out human being, going well beyond the stereotypes of the time. Some of those stereotypes enforced by law, such as the section of the Hays Film Code which dictated that all gay characters be villains and/or tragic. Crowley presented neither.  The Boys has long been credited with inspiring what would come just one year later.

I Predict A Riot

There is still some disagreement about when or how the modern LGBTQ+ Rights Movement started. After years of police intimidation in the summer 1969 the gay community fought back. On the morning of June 28th police raided the Stonewall Inn. Yet another in a sustained pattern of harassment against New York City’s sizable LGBTQ+ community. On that day, years of abuse came to a head and the Stonewall Inn occupants started fighting back. What was supposed to be a routine raid, at least from a police perspective, turned into a full-on, brick throwing riot.

White Night Riots

The Stonewall riot happened four years before San Francisco politician Harvey Milk became the first openly gay man elected to public office in 1973.  The election became a bitter-sweet victory when Milk was murdered by his colleague Dan White. White, a former police officer, claimed he was in a psychotic state from eating too many sweets. According to White he killed Mayor George Moscone and Harvey Milk while on a “sugar” high.  It would later become known as “The Twinkie Defense.” White was ultimately convicted of man-slaughter, sparking off what became known as the White Night Riots in 1978. White committed suicide in 1985.

The Value of Persistence

Things are moving in the right direction for  LGBTQ+ rights. Certainly miles ahead of where they used to be. Though it is important that we not get complacent. All my Queer brothers and sisters, along with our allies and friends, must keep an eye on things to ensure that the advancements made over the last few decades remain intact.



The Ugly Face Of RACISM 

By Trevor K. McNeil

Dark History

America has an ugly history of racism, on both the systemic and individual level. Even the Irish, who are known to crackle audibly in the sun, were not considered “White” in the capital W social-economic sense in America until the late 19th century. One of the most diverse places in American cities during the Victorian era were the ghettos. Irish, Scots, Pols, Blacks and Asians all lived side by side, often in close quarters with little animosity between them.   A grouping galvanized by their common enemy. The White Anglo-Saxon Protestant elites who thought they owned the land because their families fended off the British after stealing it from the natives. It wasn’t until after the Civil War and enforcement of Jim Crow Laws that black and white separation was solidified.

Not Exceptional

This situation is not, of course unique to America. There have been many instances of the intentional segregation of “othered” minority groups throughout the history of the world.  Two groups often targeted for exclusion are the Jews and the Roma. The oppression of Africans, while mostly limited to nations involved in the trans-Atlantic slave trade, primarily Britain (who abolished it in 1833), the United States of America, and the islands of the Caribbean, have been among some of the longest lasting and most brutal.

Shockingly Similar

An example of colonialism on Africans in Africa, is South Africa. Despite constituting roughly 8% of the overall population, the Dutch and British settlers in the southern tip of Africa managed to dominate the entire area. At least that is the simplest description of what happened.  The white colonialists created the segregated state that the Republic of South Africa was to become. A long history of separation of the races in South Africa was perpetuated after the Boar War which ended in 1902.  The National Party election in 1948 led to enforcing policies of formalized segregation.  Control allowed them to push through the notorious Apartheid doctrine.

South Africa

Change would eventually come to both America and South Africa, though it would come in very different ways at different times. Both nations have gone through years of unrest. Many black groups including the African National Congress battled against the government of South Africa and the apartheid model.  The world took notice and placed paralyzing sanctions on South Africa.

Facing the Truth

The Apartheid era in South Africa was deeply and openly racist. No one denied it, least of all white South Africans. Though it is easy to forget that the end of the Afrikaans Party was spelled by the party itself. First came the release of Nelson Mandela form prison in 1990 and then the opening of the 1994 general election to the native population for the first time since colonization in 1652. The election ended in a historic moment of poetic justice, when Nelson Mandela became the nation’s first black president. There is still a long way to go to repair the damage of hundreds of years of colonialism but they are at least aware of this and taking the first steps.


The general belief by white Americans has been that systemic racism ended with the Emancipation Proclamation and went away entirely, including on the personal level, some time in the late 1960s. The names changed but the situation hasn’t. The policy of segregation turned to red-lining, voter suppression, mass incarceration and veiled police brutality.

Civil Rights

In America the Civil Rights movement fought for change with aggressive activities in the 1960’s. Two factions evolved. One militant and one peaceable, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King occupying opposite ends of the spectrum. MLK and Malcolm bravely stood  up against government oppression, most clearly represented by the segregation doctrine of Jim Crow.  This era of activism peaked with the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

 Devils In the Details

Recent events have shown racism is alive and well in America.  Numerous high profile murders of African Americans by the police or individuals claiming to be making citizen’s arrests on the behalf of the police have inflamed activists. George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and Rayshard Brooks have spotlighted police brutality. These murders have slapped complacent white America in the face. Nearly nine minutes with a police officer’s knee on a black man’s neck caught on video shook up the American psyche. White America for the first time has been shaken to its core. Black Lives Matter activists have filled the streets with protesters. For the first time, protesters are as much white as black.  Hopefully, America is finally looking racism in the eye and is willing and ready to do something about it. The demand for a multi-racial democracy is louder in the United States than ever before.


Trump Turns Religion Political

churches have been closed during coronavirus pandemic

Trump Turns Religion Political

God’s Word

Trevor K. McNeil

Rights, Right?

It takes the sense of a perceived attack to bring the issue of civil rights into focus.  The measures used by states to stop the spread of COVID-19 and save lives are now being challenged as unconstitutional. Those arguing against lockdown whining about their rights to do things that aren’t actually rights by any known criteria. Trump tacitly supporting all of them, as part of his half-cocked campaign to downplay the pandemic crisis in case it makes him look bad. While in fact, magnifying the fact that he is an incompetent boob who is not qualified to run a school bake sale, let alone a country.

God Save America

Most recently, Trump has hitched his rickety re-election wagon to the push to reopen churches. A notion on par with putting oil drums in front of the target on shooting ranges, in terms of terrible and deadly ideas. How many pastors and parishioners need to die before people get it though their heads that meeting in large groups in an enclosed space with an airborne disease killing tens of thousands is not the best of ideas? The right to religious freedom not at all withstanding.

Narrow Definition  

That isn’t to say that the right to religious freedom isn’t important and should be, or indeed has been, suspended. Trump has said, “we need more prayer, not less,” but I know lots of religious folks who know full well that this is a false dichotomy. One does not need to be in church to pray. And if there is anyone who is praying less because their holy house of choice happens to be closed at the moment, says more about them and their religious conviction. Trump’s statement is yet another example of the depths of his religious ignorance, including and especially the one he claims to practice in a cynical attempt to appeal to his evangelical Christian base. Going so far as to argue that church is an “essential service.” An absurd statement, not least in terms of the separation of church and state.

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I’m A Liberal–And Here Is Why

I’m A Liberal, And Here Is Why

D. S. Mitchell

The resurrection of the GOP attack on Health Care, Trump’s UN speech, and a nasty Twitter exchange with a rabid Trump supporter, or maybe, a Russian troll, has caused me to sit down and pout for a few minutes, kick my feet and wonder if the fight is worth it.  I, like many of you, get so tired.  Some days it seems like Trump, in 10 short months is on the precipice of destroying the backbone of this country, our laws and our media. In the midst of my pout, I remember what President John F. Kennedy said about his core values and I perked up and finished calling my list of potentially five persuadable Republican Senators; in an effort to stop the GOP effort to repeal the ACA. 

The JFK quote has been seen a million times, but it is worth another view.  If you are a liberal and are taking a breath, forget it. The GOP and all their ‘effing money are out to screw us all. So get up, dust yourself off, drag the sign out of the basement, and hit the streets. Or, the phone. You can have a big impact if you make those Senate office phones ring.

So, my sweet liberal friends, gather courage from the words of one of our greatest presidents, “If by a ‘liberal’ they mean someone who looks ahead and not behind, someone who welcomes new ideas without rigid reaction, someone who cares about the welfare of the people–their health, their housing, their schools, their jobs, their civil rights and their civil liberties–someone who believes we can break through the stalemate and suspicions that grip us in our policies abroad, if that is what it means to be a ‘liberal’ then I’m proud to say, I’m a liberal.”

Keep up the fight, the road will be hard and the results slow in coming, but a determined heart will protect health care and the social contract our government has with its citizens.

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