Journalist Tony Brown urges a
return to nation's spiritual roots

Tony Brown, keynote speaker for Black History Month and one of America's leading journalists, delivered several "bottom lines" and thoughts on the status of America in his Feb. 7 address.

Brown, who has also developed interests in cultural diversity, economic development and urban policies through his work as a producer, writer, educator, television commentator and film director, advocated self-reliance and a keen "understanding of how the past impacts the present and what it means in the future." With strong words and high passion, he urged his audience to take individual action.

"You live today in a corrupted Americanism," Brown said, after quoting the opening lines of the Declaration of Independence. The forefathers of the country "created a living document that would survive them as the times and conditions changed."

Thus, "the struggle for civil rights is not a struggle for black people, it is a struggle for the soul of America," Brown said. "We are a theocracy founded to go by God's will. [Our] rights are created by God and cannot be transferred or abridged by a government of people."

Citing historical examples such as World War I and the creation of the Federal Reserve Bank, Brown explained how black Americans and Americans as a whole have not been granted their inalienable rights. During World War I, black Americans "were seen as Americans who could not be trusted," while the creation of the Federal Reserve Bank, "borrowed from the Communist Manifesto-used the property of people to dominate them.

"Understand that you do not live in the country that you should," Brown said. "This is an oligarchy where wealthy and powerful people manipulate the institutions of this country.

"The bottom line is that this is a great country and a country that can be changed, but not if you are Pollyannaish about it," Brown continued.

In advocating change, Brown returned to the idea of incorporating God into everyday life just as the founders did when they wrote the Declaration of Independence. "Of course, church and state should still be separate," Brown said, "but you don't exclude God when you exclude religion. One can be spiritual without being religious.

"Human rights are guaranteed by God," Brown continued. "There is a conspiracy, and that conspiracy is the system the system [works against] people who don't have. The only way to fight this system is to become the ruling class."

Brown urged the audience to understand history for its instruction. "Blacks and whites are basically the same-with a liberal sprinkling of fools. It's real simple: no one deserves your loyalty unless they earn it. The way to heaven is not through your beliefs, it's through the spirit in your heart. The bottom line is about humanness.

"I'm proud that I'm an African American, proud that I'm black," Brown continued. "But I know that there's only one race, and that's the human race. Here's the bottom line: We didn't come over on the same ship, but we're all on the same boat."

Society's canaries
In describing African Americans' continued marginalization in American society, Brown used the example of mineworkers and canaries. The miners would take a canary into the mines to find out how much toxic gas was in the air down there: when the canary died, the workers left the mines.

"Every society has a canary," Brown said. "Every civilization has discriminated against a minority. The virus is in human nature to dominate another human being. It is the original sin, and you will find it everywhere. We'll never get to the end of the race problem if we don't get rid of the human race problem." If something is "structurally wrong, spiritually rotten," in society, he said, those qualities will be found manifested among the group that is society's most marginalized.

"Freedom is something you must always fight for, and the only way to fight is to become more powerful than the enemy," he said. "I want to live in a world where I can do what I want. All of us have made tremendous contributions.

"Jesus said to love one another and help the poor," Brown said, as he talked about ways black Americans can help their communities. "You can only strengthen the chain by strengthening the weakest link," he added.

"So I say during Black History Month to do what Jesus Christ asked us to do," Brown concluded. "When you decide to change, things will change."

-Danielle Service

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