By Rev. Dr. R.B. Holmes Jr.
Let us thank God that HE has blessed us to almost literally witness the end of 2014. Every year brings its share of crises and celebrations. The good news is that we have a Lord and Savior, who promises to be with us through all seasons of our lives. We are fortunate and blessed to live in a country and city where we have experienced so many blessings and opportunities. First and foremost, I would like to thank you, our readers and subscribers for your support of the Capital Outlook Newspaper, as well as, WTAL 1450AM radio station. I would like to take this time to reflect upon some of the significant events and activities that took place during 2014, and point us toward the future with the attitude of thanksgiving and transformation.
Let me congratulate Governor Rick Scott, for being elected to a second term as our Governor. All Floridians should pray for our Governor. We hope that during the next legislative session that Florida will be a stronger and better state. Congratulations to our new Mayor, Mayor Andrew Gillum. Tallahassee is blessed to have a very capable and competent mayor in Mayor Gillum. Mayor Gillum our prayers and thoughts are with you, the City Commission and this great city. In the spirit of congratulations, we sincerely congratulate our new congress person, Congresswoman – elect Gwen Graham. As you know, Congresswoman Graham is the first female congress person in our district. Congresswoman Graham we are proud of you and we know you will represent your district extremely well. Also, we take time out to congratulate all of our newly elected city, county, and state officials.
We will not, cannot and shall not stand by and allow the resurgence of the Ku Klux Klan. It is disturbing to witness the spray painting of African American churches in Wakulla, FL. All citizens in Wakulla County, Leon County, and surrounding counties must speak out against this kind of hatred and cowardly racism. I commend the Sheriff of Wakulla County and the Wakulla County Commissioners for rejecting this kind of negative and ungodly behavior. I have talked with several pastors in the area; Dale Landry, president of the NACCP; leaders of the National Action Network and others. We will have a major and powerful response to the activities of the Ku Klux Klan.
All of us are very annoyed and concerned about the most recent pronouncements of grand juries in Ferguson, MO and Staten Island, NY. We must revisit the grand jury process, especially as it relates to high profile cases. In such cases, the governor where those incidents are taking place should appoint a special prosecutor. During the high profile case of Trayvon Martin, Governor Rick Scott did the right thing in appointing a special prosecutor, Angela Corey to address the murder of unarmed Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman. Perhaps, if there were special prosecutors for the Michael Brown and Eric Garner deaths, I believe the decisions would have had a different outcome. Most importantly, I believe the community would have responded differently to the decision by a special prosecutor versus prosecutors who are very close to police officers. If we are going to strengthen police and community relations, transparency is the answer. Anything done in secret, when it comes to high profile incidents, will always bring about distrust and unrest.
I am a firm believer, that we have more good police officers than bad ones. This is why we must respect and honor police officers and work tirelessly to remove those that have a history of biases and misuse of authority. Let me pause here to remember the good work of the police officers and law enforcement that saved many lives at Florida State University’s Strozier Library and in a community where a deputy sheriff was killed. Let us pray for the family of Officer Chris Smith and the other officer who is recuperating from his injuries. Also, let us remember the students injured during the FSU shooting. My point is, we cannot label all police officers as our enemies. When we are in trouble, when there is a crisis, when we need help, we call for the law enforcement community and other first responders.
Let me be clear – violence, vandalism, looting, and rioting – I can never support. We must learn to work together to solve community problems. We must all work together to encourage better police and community relations. I believe Tallahassee is a model for this country when it comes to building better police and community relations. Our law enforcement community is reaching out to the citizens and community leaders to develop stronger partnerships and better communications.
The Capital Outlook will discuss with the Tallahassee Democrat’s Executive Editor, Bob Gabordi, on how the two newspapers in this community can come together to start an ongoing conversation of addressing solutions and strategies for better police and community relations. This conversation must not end when the cameras are gone, but must continue as a way to bring this community together.
Let me proudly share with you the Person of the Year, Family of the Year, Pastor of the Year, Church of the Year, Business of the Year and Civil Rights Advocate of the Year.
The Person of the Year is Dr. Elmira Mangum. Dr. Mangum is the first elected female president of the Historic Florida A&M University. We have great expectations that Dr. Mangum will lead FAMU to higher heights. The Family of the Year is Leonard and Claudette Hamilton. Coach Hamilton is poised to become Florida State’s all-time winningest basketball coach. Mrs. Hamilton has been the leader of the international women’s bible study for the past several years. The Hamiltons are great role models for family and great contributors to the community. The Business of the Year is Florida A&M Federal Credit Union. The FAMU Credit Union has been a strong financial institution in our community for 79 years and they are worthy of our support.
The Pastor of the Year is the Rev. Joseph Wright, the pastor of the Jerusalem Missionary Baptist Church. Rev. Wright for over 20 plus years has been a steady voice in the area of social justice, economic development, and minority representation in government. The Church of Year is New Birth Tabernacle pastored by Rev. Rudy Ferguson. New Birth Tabernacle has made a major commitment to revive the south side of Tallahassee, Fl. This is a significant task by Pastor Ferguson and his congregation. The Organization of the Year, is the Boys and Girls Club of the Big Bend, led by Executive Director Lee Wagner. The Boys and Girls Club has a tremendous record of working with at risk children, by providing them with a safe place to go after school and during the summer months. The Civil Rights Advocate of the Year is Commissioner Bill Proctor. Commissioner Proctor has been a clear voice when it comes to making sure that the people on the south side and oppressed people are never left behind. During the month of January 2015, the Capital Outlook, will present special articles on the above mentioned honorees.
As we move forward toward 2015, we as a people of faith must become more involved in economic development and entrepreneurship. We must think very seriously about how do we strengthen economic opportunities for our people; how do we provide quality education for at risk students; how do we rebuild our family structure; and address mass incarceration. These will be the issues of 2015 that the Capital Outlook Newspaper and WTAL 1450AM radio station, the Bethel Baptist Church and other community organizations will address and provide solutions to these critical issues. Let me give us a point of departure…WE MUST SUPPORT THE FLORIDA A&M FEDERAL CREDIT UNION. We will have in the year 2015, a community conversation on how to strengthen entrepreneurship opportunities in Tallahassee, FL for the minority community.
In closing, let me thank you for supporting Live Communications, Inc. Let me wish you and your family a Merry Christmas and a glorious 2015. May God bless you and smile upon you.
Let us be encouraged!