Speaking to graduates of Dillard University in New Orleans on Saturday, Academy Award-winning actor Denzel Washington advised those at the ceremony to "put God first" during his 10-minute commencement speech to the graduating class.
"Number one: put God first," said Washington, getting a loud ovation from those gathered. "Put God first in everything you do."
"Everything that you think you see in me and think that I have accomplished, everything that you think I have … everything that I have is by the grace of God. Understand that. It's a gift." more >>
This column was co-authored by Rob Schwarzwalder.
The rioting in Baltimore is disturbing to all Americans, as the unresolved cause of Freddie Gray's death while in police custody should be, as well.
It is right that political and religious leaders, community groups, business organizations, and law enforcement officials are commenting about all the causes and effects of the riots. But one thing seems missing from the discussion, a factor whose omission is unacceptable. It's called fatherhood. more >>
On May 1, Baltimore prosecutor Marilyn Mosby charged six police officers, including two black male officers and one female black officer, with 28 various charges, including murder and manslaughter over the death of Freddie Gray. Officer Caesar Goodsoon, the black driver of the van Gray rode in, was charged by the 35-year-old state's attorney for Baltimore City with the most serious offense, "second-degree depraved heart murder," which means indifference to human life. Baltimore is 64 percent black, and almost half of the Baltimore Police department is black.
The officers are accused of arresting and roughing up Gray, who is black, for no good reason, then neglecting his request for medical care as they took him to the police station. The officers arrested him because they believed he had a switchblade, which is illegal under Maryland law. Mosby declared that he did not have a switchblade, claiming there was no probable cause to arrest him. Mosby said while he was being transported in the back of the police van without a seatbelt on, he suffered a neck and back injury. He died a week later of the injuries. One of the officers charged, Garrett Miller, has said that Gray was arrested "without force or incident."
Mosby announced the charges a mere 12 days after Gray's death, only one day after receiving the results of the police internal investigation and almost immediately after receiving the medical examiner's report. In contrast, a grand jury returned a decision of no indictment against Officer Darren Wilson more than three months later after his death. more >>
On a recent visit to India, my first stop in New Delhi was a visit with my precious grandmother over evening tea. As we caught up on family news and future plans, I was once again touched by her personal interest in every detail and inspired by her graceful authority even though I sometimes had to strain to hear her fragile voice. When I got up to leave, she pulled me aside and whispered something in my ear. "You need to do two things this year," she told me in a tone of concern that was firm but kind. "Get married and join a gym." I laughed and told her I'd try to do at least one of the two. She then sent me off with a hug and a kiss and a Cadbury Dairy Milk chocolate candy bar, one of my favorite treats from childhood.
That brief interaction offers a glimpse into the affectionate woman my grandmother is and the sweet relationship I treasure with her to this day.
In a couple weeks, on May 27, my family will celebrate my paternal grandmother's 90th Birthday. Satya Malhotra is truly our family matriarch, and we thank the Lord for His favor and faithfulness in her life over these nine decades. Despite so many growing limitations, the scope and impact of her life is without boundaries. more >>
Editor's Note, May 12, 2015: Dr. Tony Evans, senior pastor of Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship and founder and president of The Urban Alternative, has issued the following statement to clarify his remarks about the breakdown of African American families and slavery:
Slavery was ungodly, unrighteous and unbiblical. During slavery, the family was broken up by force by unspeakable atrocities even though African-Americans struggled to preserve it.
To offer clarity on both my intention and meaning, the black population was largely unified in fighting against the breakup of the family being forced on them due to the evil system of slavery. Black unity was a powerful force, to the greatest degree possible within the limitations of slavery, in seeking to keep the family intact. more >>
Southern Baptist Church Pastor Donte Hickman Sr., building developers and Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake vowed Monday to rebuild a $16 million senior center that was burned to the ground in East Baltimore last week during riots sparked by the death of 25-year-old Freddie Gray.
Hickman, whose church is located across the street from the senior center had worked on plans for the building for five years before he was finally able to convince a developer, politicians and bureaucrats to support his vision.
A week after watching his incomplete dream go up in flames on Monday however, Hickman was hopeful again when he joined the developer, The Woda Group, and city officials to announce the rebuilding of the facility named the Mary Harvin Transformation Center. more >>