Thursday, May 19, 2005, would have been Malcolm X’s 80th birthday. It was also the occasion of another rally for Howard Morgan, the former Chicago Police officer and current Burlington Northern Railroad police officer who was shot 25 times by Chicago Police officers on February 21. The rally was held at Rev. Paul Jakes Jr.’s Old Saint Paul Missionary Baptist Church.
In an era of digital cameras, computers, satellites, cell phones, video cameras and the internet we have to rely on old-fashioned rallies to bring attention to the plight of the Morgan family.
Yet if you notice, the mainstream media has avoided this incident like the plague. The lessons still have not been learned that avoiding injustices will not make it go away. In fact, history has taught us that ugly situations have occurred because an injustice was denied or ignored.
Ask yourself when was the last time you heard about any White person being shot 25 times for a traffic stop?
Webster’s Dictionary defines colonialism as the control by one group over a dependent area or people. Howard Morgan is being controlled by colonial powers whose idea of fairness means shackles even though Morgan has 25 gunshot wounds in his body. And after being shot this many times, the colonial system shackles the person, because they might run away or escape.
What kind of person makes these decisions and sleeps comfortably at night? Are some people born without feelings or souls? Colonialists feel they have a sense of entitlement and they use laws they have written to justify actions. And we know from history that when Blacks have played by the rules and laws, oftentimes these laws or rules have been rewritten.
Rev. Jakes, who is the spokesman for the Morgan family, opened the meeting.
“We’re glad to be here today to stand for someone who needs our support,” he said. “Let me just share with you that racism is one of the most ignorant concepts ever invented by man as a tool of castigation.” Rev. Jakes then urged everyone to continue standing with the Morgan family.
Former Cook County Circuit Court Judge Leo Holt told the audience that he retired in December 2004, and was planning on spending time with his grandchildren.
“I reflect back as to where I’ve been and the aspiration I had for me and my family when I started practicing law, and what happen to me in the 27 years that I practiced law,” said Holt. “I spent most of my practice in the criminal defense arena representing primarily poor Black and Hispanic young males.”
Judge Holt then told the audience that we have done nothing to change the system of police brutality, saying, “I’m able to recall an incident that even mirrors [Howard Morgan’s that] that occurred on December 4, 1969, over here on the Westside. When Fred Hampton and Mark Clark were shot up by the Chicago Police Department and the community came alive as to that incident.
“The last 36 years have not changed anything,” Holt continued. “You have not changed, you have not insisted that the situations that affect your community be changed. One of the easiest ways and the least costly is to vote. As a community we must rise up and say we are solidly behind this man.”
“I can only invite you to take an inspired looked at the situation that confronts Howard Morgan and his family,” Holt added. “For the police to shoot down a police officer and tell me that after he had been shot 25 times did they learn he was a police officer, [that’s] ridiculous. It is ridiculous to suggest to me that Howard sat there and let them police officers shoot him up like that and never said ‘Fellows, I’m a cop.'”
Mrs. Rosalind Morgan came to the podium and began by giving honor to God.
“I thank God for attorney Leo Holt, Rev. Jakes,” she said. “To Bishop Crawford and other ministers, to Minister Louis Farrakhan, to all of those here and the community?”thank you for your continued prayers, your love your hopefulness, because I do know it is a long journey. It is only God that is keeping me protected and my two children and two grandchildren.”
“Pray for Howard’s continued safety,” she urged the audience. “Just because there is a guard sitting outside that door that does not guarantee [his] one hundred percent safety.”
Eddie Read, one of Chicago’s formidable construction work activists told the audience, “I’m not going to speak long, because I’m not a man who has to speak long. I wanted to come by here today and stand with Pastor Jakes, because Pastor Jakes is always standing no matter if anybody else is standing or not. He is always standing?”and he is always standing on the right side of the issues.”
Read also encouraged Black men to take back their neighborhood and to come out of their houses.
The keynote speaker, representing Minister Farrakhan of the Nation of Islam, was Minister Caleb Muhammad. In a brief summary the minister said, “Years ago we had house Negroes, who still work to represent Mayor Daley and those who perpetrate crimes against us. You find those who are not hungry for our liberation, they are hungry to maintain the enemy and keep him in power.”