Fort Worth Get Real, It’s Time for a New Deal.
By Rev. Kyev P. Tatum, Sr., President & CEO
Southern Christian Leadership Conference in Fort Worth, Texas
Tarrant County Courthouse in Downtown Fort Worth, Texas
February 18, 2017
Our Beloved Malcolm X once told us “that of all our studies, history is best positioned to rewards our research.”
It was 168 years ago in 1849, General William Jenkins Worth envisioned several forts built on the American frontier, including a fort right here on the banks of the Trinity River which is his namesake.
The intention was to attack our Native American brothers and sisters and seize their land and water through government-sanctioned manifest destiny, eminent domain and excessive use of deadly force.
Today we gather here on this hallowed ground near the bluff of the Trinity River with the intention of protecting our community from attacks of city-sanctioned racism and injustice. We declare and we demand that the old “Fort Worth Way” has seen its last day. It is time for a “New Way,” in the city where the west begins and racism ends.
It’s time for Fort Worth to get real, it’s time for a new deal.
Several years ago four African-American clergymen came together to begin the process of creating equity and equality for everyone.
Not just for some but for everyone.
Not just for the upper class but for every class.
Not just for the haves but the have nots.
Not just for most but for everyone.
At the request of Mayor Betsy Price, Dr. Michael Bell, Bishop Billy George, Bishop Robert Sample, and yours truly Rev. Kyev Tatum gathered together with the former chief of police of the city of Fort Worth to hammer out the historic Fort Worth 3E Plan of Action that was eventually approved by the city manager, the mayor, and city council. It was created to help Fort Worth to begin the journey towards racial reconciliation, to put an end to police brutality within the disenfranchised African-American and Hispanic communities.
Yet on December 21, 2016, the nation and the world witnessed Officer William Martin violating the civil and human rights of Ms. Jacqueline Craig and several of her young children.
To add insult to injury, the system failed to properly charge the neighbor or Officer Martin with felony assault, and failed to terminate Officer Martin.
In a real sense, our city leadership felt confident that history would repeat itself and that the good people of Fort Worth would remain mistreated but silent, violated but hushed-up with regard to yet another example of gross mistreatment and injustice.
Let me be clear, we will not remain silent, we will not hush-up. We will turn our unhappiness and mistreatment into action as we seek to frack the Fort Worth facade.
No longer will we allow folks who do not have our families, our children’s, or our communities’ best interests at heart speak for us or represent us.
We are tired of being the least, last, lost and left out. Frederick Douglas said it best when he said,
“If there is no struggle there is no progress.
Those who profess to favor freedom and yet deprecate agitation are men who want crops without plowing up the ground; they want rain without thunder and lightning.
They want the ocean without the awful roar of its many waters.
This struggle may be a moral one, or it may be a physical one, and it may be both moral and physical, but it must be a struggle.
Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.
Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have found out the exact measure of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them, and these will continue till they are resisted with either words or blows, or with both.
The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress.
In the light of these ideas, Negroes will be hunted at the North and held and flogged at the South so long as they submit to those devilish outrages and make no resistance, either moral or physical.
Men may not get all they pay for in this world, but they must certainly pay for all they get.
If we ever get free from the oppressions and wrongs heaped upon us, we must pay for their removal.
We must do this by labor, by suffering, by sacrifice, and if needs be, by our lives and the lives of others.”
We cannot buy courage, yet our freedom is never free.
We must learn how to value each other and to value our voice.
God has blessed us with a voice to speak truth to power.
God has blessed us with a voice to speak victory in battle.
God has given us a voice for the voiceless.
Most importantly, God has given us a voice to declare and demand, as did the Prophet Amos to, “let justice roll down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”
We must have the courage to overcome our faults, flaws, and failures with faith in our heavenly father and we will find favor if we faint not.
We must not allow our hurts, habits, or hangouts to hinder us from standing up for our son and defending our mothers and our daughters.
We must have the resolve to resist the harmful, hateful, and hurtful hearts of these heathens.
We must sustain our strength through our stresses, strains, and struggles.
We cannot and will not allow our pressures, pain, and problems to keep us from remaining fit to plow forward.
As I leave you today, I want to encourage you, in the spirit of our elders who came long before us, to:
Dream like Dr. King – Lead like Harriet
Fight like Malcolm – Think like Garvey
Write like Maya – Preach like Peter
Reach like Booker T. – Teach like W.E.B.
Speak like Frederick – Debate like Thurgood
Build like Nehemiah – Bank like Bill McDonald
Do Business like Madame CJ Walker
Sit like Rosa
Run like Jesse
Win like Obama
Pray like Paul
And Rise Up Like Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!
Fort Worth Get Real, It’s Time for a New Deal! Fort Worth Get Real, It’s Time for a New Deal! Fort Worth Get Real, It’s Time for a New Deal! Fort Worth Get Real, It’s Time for a New Deal!
Because our history demands it, our times require it, our children deserve it, and God is still watching.
May God bless you and keep you is our Prayer.
Rev. Kyev P. Tatum, Sr.
President and Chief Executive Officer
Southern Christian Leadership Conference of Fort Worth, Texas
White House Ally for the My Brother’s Keeper Initiative: https://northtexan.unt.edu/content/my-brothers-keeper