17 December 2010
It is important during this holiday season that you and I rededicate our passion
for the family. Family is important for the survival of this nation in general
and this is particularly true for the black race. Strong families make dynamic
churches, thriving communities, better schools, and a greater nation.
Because God blessed me with great parents who taught my seven siblings and me the importance of faith, family, hard work, education, morals and a sense of purpose, I have a passion to see families flourish. My parents are now with the Lord in heaven, but their spirit of family devotion and dedication lives daily in my heart and soul. This "National Save the Family Now Movement," is designed to place emphasis on the fact that families work, and we must rebuild and reclaim our families.
My parents were married for over 60 years. During those years, I personally witnessed the love of family, the power of family unity and the power of prayer. Just last week, I eulogized my last living uncle, who pastored the New Friendship Missionary Baptist Church in Gary, Indiana for 53 years. My uncle, my father's brother, was married to one wife for 57 years. The example of commitment and longevity in marriage was demonstrated by my grandparents who were married for over 55 years until death separated them. Yes, marriage matters and family matters, and we must not allow the popular culture to destroy the influence that positive families can have in this world. Indeed, we can never downgrade the significance of marriage.
I know what some of the data is saying about the plight and predicament of the black family, such as the high rate of divorces in black families, the rise of teenage pregnancies and other critical issues. This "National Save the Family Now Movement" will not be deterred by statistics but will focus on fighting the good fight for the thriving of our families. There are many examples of black couples who have remained together in spite of life's challenges and struggles.
In February 2011, the Rejoice Musical Soul Food Network and the National Save the Family Now Movement will sponsor a "National Celebration of the Black Family" in Memphis, Tennessee, February 17-19, 2011. On Saturday, February 19, 2011, we will honor 40 families from across this country who have been married for 40 years plus.
Let me be clear here. In the United States there are many black couples who have stayed in their marriages for a long time and for the long term. You can help us by nominating a family in your community who has been together for 40 years or more. Simply write an essay of 500 words or less describing why these organizations should honor the couple and send your nomination to firstname.lastname@example.org by January 17, 2011.
Please help us show the world that marriage still works because black couples love each other, are committed to each other and together have weathered the storms of life. The black press is the organization that is most prepared and strategically placed to lift the black family and, if we don't tell this story, it is unlikely it will get told.
We are very fortunate to have over 200 black newspapers in this country. We have excellent leadership in the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA); under the dynamic leadership of Chairman Danny J. Bakewell, Sr.; and the NNPA Foundation led capably by Chairwoman Dorothy R. Leavell. The leaders of the Black Press have joined forces with the "Black AIDS Institute and the Greater Than AIDS Organization," encouraging black publishers to write weekly articles to increase awareness about the challenges surrounding the HIV/AIDS virus. I commend Mr. Bakewell and Mrs. Leavell for leading us in this venture because we cannot save the black family if we do not consistently and courageously address this grave problem.
The "National Save the Family Now Movement" will enthusiastically join this effort. I certainly encourage all of our publishers to continue to emphasize the positive people, programs and events that are taking place in our communities to strengthen and sustain the black family.
At the Capital Outlook Newspaper, where I am the publisher, we honor on a monthly basis the "Family of the Month." This program has been a great success, generating wonderful enthusiasm from our readers. My friends, family still matters and on behalf of my family, we wish you and your family a Merry Christmas and a Blessed 2011.