The shooting of 13 innocent individuals last Saturday in Buffalo, New York, is another example of the seemingly endless violence committed against people of color in our country daily.
A volatile combination of assault weapon accessibility, misguided ideologies of hate, domestic terrorism, and tactics of white genocide adopted by an eighteen-year-old resulted in the deaths of ten Blacks and three wounded.
The teenager accused of killing Blacks in the Buffalo supermarket massacre posted a rambling white supremacist manifesto that spewed a racist philosophy and outlined step-by-step plans to exterminate Blacks in the U.S. On behalf of the El Paso MLK Committee, we offer our sincere condolences to the families of the victims of this horrific tragedy.
We pray that God will strengthen, encourage, and uplift you during this extremely difficult time. As Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. stated, “Hate begets hate; violence begets violence; toughness begets a greater toughness.” We pray the El Paso Community will continue to align itself with local law enforcement agencies, faith-based groups, school administrators, school districts, parents, organizations, and entrepreneurs to eradicate the threat of violence.
Bishop Albert J. Mays, Jr., MA. ED, ED (c), D.D.
“It starts with me: Shifting priorities to create the beloved community.”
The MLK Committee celebrates and recognizes February as Black History Month, also referred to as African American Heritage Month. Black history is American history, Black culture is American culture, and Black stories are essential to the continuous story of America — our flaws, our struggles, our progress, contributions, goals, and objectives.
The Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH) has themed this year’s Black History Month as “Black Health and Wellness.” Across generations, countless Black Americans have demonstrated profound courage and resilience to help shape our Nation.
The MLK Committee would like for the El Paso Community to recognize and learn about numerous Black pioneers and their contributions in the health care industry in the United States, to name a few:
Dr. Alexa Irene Canady, first female African American neurosurgeon
Dr. James Derham, the first recognized African American physician
Dr. Rebecca Lee Crumpler, first African American woman to earn a medical degree
Dr. James McCune Smith, first African American man to earn a medical degree
Dr. Leonidas Harris Berry, as a renowned gastroenterologist
Dr. Charles Richard Drew, known as the “father of blood banking.”
The MLK Committee remains committed to cultivating a culture of service, equity, and inclusion. Also, the MLK Committee is dedicated to ensuring equality for all people regardless of ethnicity, gender, race, customs, practices, and beliefs.
Bishop Albert J. Mays, Jr., MA.ED, ED (c), D.D.
“The essence of life’s most precious treasures is: How are you serving others in your community?”
According to Gary Zimet, CEO of Moments in Time (the mid-1960s), King wrote the note after someone asked him what he believed was the meaning of “Love.” The note reads, “Love is the greatest force in the universe. It is the heartbeat of the moral cosmos. He who loves is a participant in the being of God.”
Currently, we are faced with a host of uncertainties to include the rise of the Omicron variant, political, social, economic, educational, and healthcare challenges. However, during this Holiday Season, I invite you to focus your attention on serving others. I have learned the phrase “the disease of introspection,” which means when we focus inward all the time, it becomes unhealthy and can be detrimental to our mental and physical health. But when we concentrate outwardly on other people, we feel better about helping someone. An article by C.S. Lewis states, “Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less.” Therefore, we cordially request you join the MLK Committee in demonstrating Love to the hopeless, compassion to the wounded, and kindness to the underprivileged.
God bless you all and Happy Holidays!
Albert J. Mays, Jr.
On October 29, 3:00 p.m., I received a disturbing text message indicating Pastor Jack D. Fields, Sr., has transitioned to be with the Lord Jesus Christ. I felt distraught and devastated because I have known Pastor Jack D. Fields, Sr., since 2009. Pastor Fields is highly respected throughout the El Paso and surrounding communities as an anointed preacher, teacher, pulpiteer, prayer warrior, liturgist, and community leader. Pastor Fields is most admired for bringing spiritual transformation, personal integrity, social responsibility, and the gospel message of salvation and conviction as Senior Pastor, Visitors Chapel A.M.E. Church, El Paso, TX.
Pastor Fields and I have appeared on some El Paso Community platforms, which he modeled and emulated some MLK attributes to include self-confidence, intelligence, strong verbal propensity, perceptual aptness, critical thinking and reasoning. Pastor Fields’ leadership motto is, “If God Can’t Do It, It Can’t Be Done.”
On behalf of the El Paso MLK Committee, we convey our deepest condolences to the family members, extended family members, and Visitors Chapel A.M.E. Church. 2 Corinthians 5:8 states, “We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.” Rest on Pastor Jack D. Fields, Sr., we will see you in the morning.
The POC for this letter of correspondence is the undersigned.
Albert James Mays, Jr.
During his tenure, all military service members were provided professional development opportunities and advancements in ranks. Secretary of State Powell wrote numerous bestseller books and articles. One book that comes to my remembrance is “The Powell Principles” (The McGraw-Hill Professional Education Series) December 2002, which details the decision-making habits, success strategies, and keys to Powell’s unprecedented success that include 1) Walk the talk; 2) Be a dis-organizer; 3) Let change lead growth; 4) Check your ego at the door; 5) Push the envelope; 6) Trust those in the trenches; 7) Prepare to be lonely, etc.
In 1985, I served with General Powell during his tenure as V CORPS Commanding General. I was a U.S. Army Sergeant assigned to 41st Field Artillery Brigade in Babenhausen, Germany. General Powell periodically visited units throughout his command and exhibited a strong leadership presence, which enhanced the morale of Soldiers and Officers. Additionally, in January 1991, during Operation Desert Storm, General Powell made a famous priceless quote, “Move it or lose it.” On behalf of the El Paso MLK Committee, we salute Secretary of State Colin Powell, and our prayers are with his family during this difficult time.
Bishop Albert J. Mays, Jr.
President, El Paso MLK Committee