By: Tony McCray
Photo Credit by: Charles Davis, III
Movement for Change (MFC) held its 17th Annual Banquet at “Its Personal by Sheila” event venue on last Saturday, June 16th with a continuation of its theme that “Freedom is Not Free”! The message from John Jerralds, former Pensacola City Councilman was that Movement for Change continues to grow and adapt on social justice issues. He added in his souvenir program message that the organization is “motivated and responsive to increase the community’s awareness of social justice issues to advocate and conduct actions to improve human and civil rights and through our programs enhance the educational and economic opportunities for the residents of Northwest Florida”.
The late Leroy Boyd would have been very proud of the message and the event as Jerralds carries on the torch of “Speaking Truth to Power” another strategic theme of the organization’s commitment of generating a response to social and economic injustice in Northwest Florida.
The guest speaker, Jonathan Kubakundimana with the Equal Justice Initiative located in Montgomery, Alabama, represented the organization utilizing its 17th Annual Banquet to cement the tenor of its themes and messages to its audience and to the media that was present. The Gulf Coast Voice covered the event with multiple staff to ensure quality coverage of the event because the Equal Justice Initiative has offered its services to work with Pensacola and Escambia community to document the racial terrorism by whites through lynchings from 1877 to 1950. The project is spreading nationally and Movement for Change is among local organizations interested in supporting the project
Mr. Kubakundimana was very articulate on the tragedy and injustice of the focus by the criminal justice system on race and poverty, and how our community suffers at the hands of the judges and the corrections system. He told the story of how our African-American children are incarcerated as adults. He focused on a 13 year old named Joe Sullivan who was given a life sentence without parole. The organization is involved in racial injustice research, advocacy against the criminal justice system racial prejudice, and reform of the system.
The Vision of Movement for Change is to: Foster principles of equal rights and opportunities for all Americans, promote public awareness of issues, address issues of concern with all law enforcement agencies, as well as, the judicial system, take action on specific issues of local importance, cooperate with other persons and organization to achieve mutual goals, improve the disparities in education, hold all elected officials accountable, and encourage economic empowerment throughout the community.
Movement for Change is guided by the following principles: Have mutual respect for all persons, respect for differences, while promoting unity, accomplish our mission through teamwork, display dignity and professionalism, encourage maximum personal development, and expect collective work on issues through open discussion, before decisions are made.