Citizen Journalism with a Better Flavor
Volume VIII, Issue X
Finding the C.U.R.E.
Star Parker's Mission to Give People a Voice
As the wreckage of Watts smoldered in the wake of the riots of 1992, a young woman's dream lay shattered in the ruins. Star Parker had dreamed of creating an urban Christian magazine and that enterprise was now a casualty of the violence. As a teen she had had a troubled life, influenced by crime and drugs. She came to Los Angeles with a dream to become a dancer on Soul Train, but ended up as a single mother on welfare instead. Her life was forever changed when she gave it to Christ. She credits her G-d-given Faith for everything that happened after that.
Ms. Parker was motivated by her Faith to do more than simply cash her check and languish for the rest of her life on public assistance. She worked under the table and found a way to put herself through school, earning a degree in marketing. She launched her magazine, only to see her business destroyed in 1992. But Star Parker was only defeated temporarily. She continued her writing and her activism. Taking on the welfare system she had escaped, she wrote her autobiography, Pimps, Whores and Welfare Brats, published in 1997. Her second book, Uncle Sam's Plantation, was released in 2003.
Star Parker founded the Coalition on Urban Renewal and Education, or CURE,
to: "provide a national voice of reason on issues of race and poverty in the media, inner city neighborhoods, and public policy." As a social policy consultant, Star Parker has given regular testimony before the United States Congress, and is a national expert on major television and radio shows across the country. She recently RAN for Congress but was unsuccessful. Star is a regular commentator on CNN, MSNBC, and FOX News. She has debated Jesse Jackson on BET; fought for school choice on Larry King Live; and defended welfare reform on the Oprah Winfrey Show.
Today Ms. Star regularly publishes compelling commentary on issues of the day. Many of them appear on the website of CURE [click to read] and provide a welcome contrast to the repetitive tomes of Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton. Her story is amazing. Her writing is clear and lucid. She seems like a woman who has stepped out of the Harlem Renaissance and into our century! She is on a mission to inspire black pastors so that they might inspire their congregants.
So why don't we hear more about her? Her story of overcoming does not square well with the 'victim' narrative favored by so many contemporary activists. Also, her Christian Faith, the catalyst in her amazing life story, is problematic to modern Liberal narrative as well!
Could it be that the modern activist narrative, perpetuated by writers like Howard Zinn, conveniently ignores the sin, violence and retribution that lies outside of 'Western' activity. His 776 page A People's History of the United States [click to read] is required reading on many college campuses. No doubt, his philosophy has influenced many an aspiring journalist in their own activism. But Zinn must be seen for the Marxist that he is, and his convenient 'omission' of important history needs to be corrected.The problem is that Zinn, not sin, has become the basis for the activism of men like Sharpton and Jackson, who for the media serve as icons of the Civil Rights Movement.
First of all, it must be noted that Zinn himself admits: “Once I was bar mitzvahed, and I had done my religious duty, and my family needn’t be ashamed of me anymore…. that was the end of my religiosity.” He further perpetuates the marginalization of Faith in his works. Bob Cheeks [click to read] writes: "Rhetorician Richard M. Weaver in his essay, Up From Liberalism, explained the spiritual discernment that gave birth to his intellectual epiphany: “Original sin is a parabolical expression of the immemorial tendency of man to do the wrong thing when he knows the right thing.” By acknowledging Original sin, Weaver, abandoned a youthful dalliance with what at that time (the 1930’s) was called liberalism. Unfortunately, historian/activist Howard Zinn had no such epiphany."
The problem becomes most apparent when 'history' focuses on slavery in the Western world, conveniently forgetting its long-standing existence both ancient and primitive societies. Ignored is the fact that it was the Western world that created conditions for the dialogue and activism that largely ended the foul institution. Faith was the catalyst in the lives of men like John Newton and William Wilberforce. It was the catalyst for Martin Luther King's dream as well.
Indeed, Star Parker finds herself swimming upstream (as far as the academy is concerned) with her message of personal responsibility and empowerment. Her message and indeed her own life story serve to deconstruct the 'victim' narrative so essential to the perpetuation of the modern Liberal philosophy. Where they would focus on reforming 'corrupt' (as they see it) institutions, Parker seeks to reform the man! We would do well to remember that our great universities were founded on this principle, to bring the Gospel into practical practice in the hearts of individuals that make up our society. Star Parker is merely picking up their original mission in the work she does. Her message resonates with that of Martin Luther King's 1962 Speech, given at the Lincoln Memorial:
I am happy to join with you today in what will go down in history as the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation.
Five score years ago a great American in whose symbolic shadow we stand today signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beckoning light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of their captivity.
But one hundred years later the Negro is still not free. One hundred years later the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination.
One hundred years later the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity.
One hundred years later the Negro is still languishing in the comers of American society and finds himself in exile in his own land.
We all have come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of now. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to change racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice ring out for all of God's children.
There will be neither rest nor tranquility in America until the Negro is granted citizenship rights.
We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force.
And the marvelous new militarism which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to a distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers have evidenced by their presence here today that they have come to realize that their destiny is part of our destiny.
So even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.
I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: 'We hold these truths to be self-evident; that all men are created equal."
I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit together at the table of brotherhood.
I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.
I have a dream that little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.
I have a dream today.
I have a dream that one day down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its Governor having his lips dripping with the words of interposition and nullification, one day right there in Alabama little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.
I have a dream today.
I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places plains, and the crooked places will be made straight, and before the Lord will be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.
This is our hope. This is the faith that I go back to the mount with. With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the genuine discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to work together, pray together; to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom forever, )mowing that we will be free one day.
And I say to you today my friends, let freedom ring. From the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire, let freedom ring. From the mighty mountains of New York, let freedom ring. From the mighty Alleghenies of Pennsylvania!
Let freedom ring from the snow capped Rockies of Colorado!
Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California!
But not only there; let freedom ring from the Stone Mountain of Georgia!
Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain in Tennessee!
Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill in Mississippi. From every mountainside, let freedom ring.
And when this happens, when we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring from every village and hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of G-d's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, "Free at last! Free at last! Thank G-d almighty, we're free at last!"
The Divine Plan of Redemption
If my people, which are called by my name shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then I will hear from Heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land." -- 2 Chronicles 7:14
The Great Depression of the 1930's in America...
What does redemption really look like? "The greater the struggle, the more glorious the triumph" -- Mr. Mendez.
"What this world needs is a little Wonder!" -- Mr Mendez
This beautiful short film has much to say about the mission of G-d's people in the world today. Do we grasp the wonder of Imago Dei in those around us? Do we seek to encourage and nurture it. The Butterfly Circus should be seen as a challenge to all of us in this regard.