The Struggle Continues… A 2018 Lament By Sherry Cannon

On August 1st, 20 Pastors met with President Trump, at the White House, to be covered on his administration’s prison reform initiative. The meeting was also said to be a precursor to a larger effort to build relationships and craft an urban agenda.

This meeting immediately received backlash on social media from people, regular folk as well as those, who hold prominent positions. Most of the frustration came because these 20 pastors sat in silence, instead of discussing the issues and concerns the African-American community has regarding this administration’s policies.

What was billed as a meeting, appeared to be just another photo-op with Donald Trump and black people. However, there are people, who support the pastors for taking the meeting. They challenge how will change ever happen, unless black and brown people are at the table. They’ve suggested that like Moses, these pastors could be God’s vehicle for getting Donald Trump’s attention. Unlike Moses, these pastors didn’t speak truth to power, they spoke lies. No one challenged Pastor Darrell Scott, who claimed that Donald Trump was the most pro-black president in his lifetime, and went on to say President Obama got a pass and did not feel like he had to do anything for the African-American community.

I am disturbed not only by the lack of honesty, but the fact that people of faith would allow themselves to be manipulated and hoodwinked by Donald Trump.

In the book of Lamentations, Jeremiah, unlike false prophets, refused to speak lies to the people. He lamented and cried out to God.

I cry for the millions of people, whose lives have been turned upside down by the callous policies enacted by this administration.

I cry for the 500 children, who are still separated from parents, because of a calculated decision to make people suffer for daring to seek asylum in this country.

I cry for the people crossing the border, from Central America that this man called animals.

I cry for the Mexican immigrants that this man accused of being rapist and criminals.

I cry for my people who in 2016 while campaigning, this man said “You are living in poverty, your schools are no good, and 58% of your youth are unemployed, what the (expletive) do you have to lose?

I cry for the African and Caribbean countries, this man said comes from s-hole countries. For the Haitian immigrants, this man accused of having AIDS, and once they got to America, would never go back to their huts.

I cry for those, who sought to remove confederate monuments, and this man said were trying to take away America’s culture and take away America’s history.

I cry for the people of Puerto Rico, after the devastation done by Hurricane Maria that this man accused of wanting everything done for them. At least 2,900 people died, and nearly 11 months after the storm there are still homes on the island without power.

I cry over the blatant racism when this man claims that Rep. Maxine Waters, Don Lemon and Lebron James all have low IQ’s.

I cry that this man would call a black woman a crazed dog and a crying low-life.

I cry against plans to revitalize the War on Drugs. Launched in the 1970’s by Richard Nixon, it disproportionately affected poor people and minorities in particular, and led to a 500% increase in incarceration.

I cry against a reversal of positions on voting rights cases brought by the Obama administration, i.e. The Texas voter ID case, and the Ohio voter purging case.

I cry over a government who refuses to pursue consent decrees with broken police departments across the country.

I cry over the closing of the Office for Access to Justice that protected the constitutional rights of the indigent.

I cry over the reinstatement of a policy of civil asset forfeiture, which allows law enforcement to seize assets from crime suspects, a policy stopped under Obama’s Justice Dept.

I cry over an Education Dept, who rescinded guidelines on Affirmative Action and lifted the rule of using race as a measurement of diversity in education; that also reversed a policy that allows for defrauded borrowers to have their student loan cancelled.

I cry over a Housing Urban Development Dept who is proposing a number of changes that hurt poor people: to increase indigent people minimum rent from $50 to $150 a month; to increase the age of a senior from 62 to 65; to no longer allow residents to deduct medical and child care expenses from their income; and to change the calculation for federal housing assistance from 30% adjusted income to 35% gross income.

I cry over a government who proposes a $200 Billion cut in the Snap Program, which is how poor children eat.

The Trump Administration has been a culture of corruption. The idea that God sent those 20 pastors to sit at Donald Trump’s table and praise him for the work he is doing for people and especially people of color is highly unlikely.

Like the Laments of Jeremiah, this 2018 Lament is in response to the suffering of poor people and a prayer to God to engage in the context of pain and suffering brought on by this administration.

It is also a call to action to the people to actually seek and work toward change; that change can be made first at the ballot box. The November 6 election is critical, and we must vote, because our very lives depend on it.