There are many blessings tied to being an American, the greatest of which is freedom: freedom of speech, freedom of protest, freedom of religion.
During the State of the Territory address, our honorable Governor Charles W. Turnbull stated: "The protest against the [pay raise] measure was in keeping with the tradition of American democracy, of which we are part." However, he continued, he would be remiss if he "did not note the great disrespect to God, country, homeland and people of African descent that took place during some of the demonstrations."
As a female of African descent, I too feel great disrespect was given. However, Governor, it was given by you on Dec. 23, 2002, when you, the lieutenant governor and the Senators of the 24th Legislature chose to use the holiday season — when Christians, Jews and people of African descent celebrate festive occasions that center around religion and Afro-centric traditions — to seek prosperity at the taxpayers' expense.
This act of disrespect took place while we were focusing on three things: loving, caring and sharing. Where was your focus, Governor? Where was your respect? Where was your God? Yes we heard the Black National Anthem being sung and we followed the directions of the song as it clearly said to
"lift every voice and sing till earth and heaven ring,
ring with the harmonies of liberty.
Let our rejoicing rise,
high as the listening skies;
let it resound loud as the rolling sea."
Governor, if you were listening to our singing/ chanting, you would have known that we were not being disrespectful, we were simply "lifting our voices … loud as the rolling sea." Remember protesters, when Martin Luther King led the March on Washington, he too was labeled by government leaders as being a disruptive force to our country, and he was a man of God. Therefore, be not dismayed, "Let Freedom Ring."
Our next song: "No VLT for We."
Oneida Granger/No Stranger
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