July 23, 2010
An opened letter from Curtis Everette Gatewood, Ordained Minister
2nd Vice President NC State Conference of the NAACP
NC NAACP “HK on J” Mobilization Chairman
curtislovesjustice @yahoo.com ~ 919 939-6311
Re: “Outside Agitators”, another tactic from the old Jim Crow Playbook
I would like to address questions regarding how certain media and political entities are now interestingly raising the question of whether those “outside” Wake County should concern themselves with what goes on with the thousands of innocent children who make up the Wake County Schools System (WCSS), North Carolina’s largest school system.
Those of us who have proven we possess the social intelligence, moral consciousness, spiritual faith, and child-centered willingness to care for the poor beyond the constraints of our own dwellings, race, “neighborhoods”, zip codes, geographic boundaries, or comfort zones, are being portrayed as “outside agitators”. What did we learn from history?
As a nation we have seen the blistering whip of oppression offer up the undesirable gifts of trickery that were hidden under the giftwrap paper of flawed public policy. We received an unwanted gift dressed up with red, white, and blue ribbons and decorated with pretty lies claiming “liberty and justice for all.” A similar gift was given to former slaves and their descendants, which had been selected, packed, and wrapped by the evil and deceitful hands of Jim Crow, Sr.
We learned that a particular form of oppression would first be packaged and sold within a certain vicinity or principality before it would grow to become a larger state, or federal gift. This is why it often took federal legislation or “amendments” to stop certain states who simply pressed the dagger of injustice every inch into the backs of the oppressed until the exact point of resistance.
It took in-”siders”, “outsiders”, God’s heavenly up-“siders”, and righteous voices from EVERY mountain-“side” to stop Jim Crow as this federally funded criminal would for decades stand with his race-muddy feet on the necks of poor African Americans regardless of which county or state they came from.
African descendants of this generation are disproportionately offered the gift of “neighborhood schools”. It is another unwanted gift, decorated with paper from flawed policies which have no factual ingredients; a gift whose container is filled with rhetorical hot air and lacks any supporting empirical data that would have added to the gift’s value; an unwanted gift deceitfully presented as a “solution” forward, but backwardly shoplifted from the old but well stocked shelf of racial politics and presented by the filthy hands of Jim Crow, Jr.
Historically, the oppressor has sought to confuse and divide potential freedom fighters through divide-and-conquer tactics. Those who seek to rebirth the “outside agitator” labels are using the concept and even the same terminology used by domestic terrorists who during the Jim Crow era, sought to keep out progressive national organizations such as the NAACP and fearless civil rights leaders such as Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. It was in the face of being portrayed as “outside agitators”, Dr. King offered us this indisputable thought – “A threat to justice anywhere, is a threat to justice everywhere.”
Wake County Schools’ unjust and backward direction is without a doubt “a threat to justice everywhere” for poor children who depend on moral beings without regard to their geographical territories to look after their best interests. A child is not going to feel better if his future was robbed by a resident in his own county. Neither will a child regret the help of a distant friend or relative who seeks to save him from unjust policy makers who happen to live in his vicinity. Additionally, Jesus asked that we “go ye into all of the world” and carry forward the “gospel for the poor” and tend to the “least of these”.
We join Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, II, religious leaders, the NC NAACP, its more than 90 HK on J coalition partners, youth organizations such as NC H.E.A.T., and all other community servants who choose to obey God’s moral law of justice over man’s callous acts of injustice.
While knowing the blood of our ancestors have paid such a high price, and considering the livelihoods of the poorest children of this generation are at stake, we will continue to mobilize against injustice and in no way slow down. We will not slow down due to “outsider” labels, arbitrary school meeting changes designed to reduce rather than increase community input, two-faced promises, increased police presence, threats of jail, or if and when other tactics which are being replayed from the old Jim Crow playbook are used through efforts to intimidate and/or divide us.
Love and righteousness have no boundaries, just as the “threats toward justice” never have and never will stop at Wake or any other county line. Both God and our history scream out loudly and clearly regarding our need to become our brother’s keeper, whether he lives in a different county or different country.
Curtis E. Gatewood