LAWTON – Warning against comfortable complacency, Rev. T. Shari Dickerson challenged those at the Comanche County Democratic Party banquet Oct. 13 “to become a beacon of change” and to “continue to do the work” as they work to correct the ills they see in the world. The founder of Black Lives of Matter of Oklahoma, Dickerson cautioned those who would prefer to be “comfortable” that many people “don’t have the luxury of being comfortable. “We don’t want you to be sorry,” she said, “We do want you to be different.”
Dickerson said that people who care about the country are faced with foes who are “selfish, cruel, cowards,” referring to President Trump as a man with “small hands and a narrow mind,” and sizing up many of the opposition as not having “a lick of sense – and not trying to find it.”

“This is a struggle for the soul of this country,” Dickerson said, “its moral center.” She encouraged those in the crowd to start their crusade right where they are now. Quoting her uncle, Benjamin Hooks – a former executive director of the NAACP – Dickerson said, “You don’t have to leave Oklahoma to find the work.” Acknowledging the rising tide of racism in American society, she said that the forces for positive change had worked too long, too hard and sacrificed too much to stop now when confronted with new challenges. Pointing out that Trump seemed unaware that Puerto Ricans “are us and deserve our support,” Dickerson said, too, that it was past time for calling out the fools and cowards for what they are. “They will show themselves without our help.”

She encouraged one-on-one, face-to-face dialog with others to show them that they “are worth my time” and prodded those in the crowd to “reveal your scars” accumulated in the struggle for justice. Turning her attention to state politics, Dickerson said the Legislature had “worked harder” to pass a Blue Lives Matter bill than it had on securing the health and welfare of the young and old people of Oklahoma. She assured the assemblage that “that building on 23rd and Lincoln belonged to everyone and not just the special interests. The “marginalized” people in society, Dickerson said, are “tired of your apologies” since “they don’t help us to survive or encourage us to go forward.”

Instrumental in implementing positive change, she added, is getting people to the polls for voting. “The revolution is not free,” Dickerson said. “The movement comes at a cost.”
She encouraged the crowd to “continue to be uncomfortable” and to make sure the complacent are uncomfortable as well. “Continue to do the work.”

(Gary Edmondson is Stephens County Democratic Party Chair.)

The Time Is Here; The Place IS Now

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