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53rd National Convention C O V E R A G E attendees to “stay woke” during his inspirational message at the JOURNAL Winter 2017 s15 asked Dr. Walker. “Because without God we could not and we would not be here at all. We started with God; we are going to take Him with us through the convention; and we are not going to put Him down.” Dr. Otis Moss III, pastor of Chicago’s Trinity United Church of Christ, brought the message for the evening and thanked Delta Sigma Theta for opening doors and cracking glass ceilings over the years. He remarked that Delta Sigma Theta was the only Sorority to join with Ida B. Wells to stand for women’s suffrage. “Delta recognized the interdependence and interconnection that we must use to fight and work together in order to see freedom,” said Moss. Moss preached from the Book of Acts 8:26 (NIV) and titled his message “Stay Woke,” which became the unofficial mantra for the remainder of the convention. He commented on the silent protests initiated by former Dr. Otis Moss III, pastor of Chicago’s Trinity United Church of Christ, reminded Praise and Worship Service Aug. 4. PHOTO BY DONNAMARIA JONES NFL player Colin Kaepernick and made reference to him as a “woke brother.” In 2016 Kaepernick, after refusing to stand during the National Anthem, created on-going heated debate between political pundits, sports fanatics, conservatives and liberals regarding whether or not it was unpatriotic not to stand during the “Star-Spangled Banner.” Moss reminded the delegates that “Kaepernick stands within a long standing culture of protesters, contrary to what others believe.” He brought to the attention of the worshipers in the room that athletes like Jackie Robinson, Cassius Clay (Muhammad Ali), John Carlos and Tommy Smitt all silently protested the injustices the country has inflicted on the communities of people of color throughout its history. He reminded the crowd that Jim Brown, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Bill Russell could not stand by and ignore those fighting in Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia. It took the WNBA to stand with the Black Lives Matter Movement which also led the example for African Americans to “Stay Woke.” In addition to staying woke, Moss urged the attendees to know their history and tell their own story. “America is constantly trying to inject into the consciousness of people of color a false reality to maximize exploitation and minimize independence,” said Moss. “When we don’t know our story, we will allow people to tell us who we are. Africans and Africa helped shape our faith. In order to hear the truth, we have to ‘stay woke.’” The evening ended with Moss making the connection between “thinking and thanking,” recognizing the evidence of people of African descent in the Bible, and remaining thankful for those that know our history and continue to pass it down and build for the next generation. s “Delta recognized the interdependence and interconnection that we must use to fight and work together in order to see freedom.” – DR. OTIS MOSS III


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