Speaker challenges us to set an example for the future

Kyle Roerink

Basheer Jones, host of Cleveland’s Newstalk 1490 WERE AM, speaks to the audience at the NAACP 100th anniversary. Poetry and a dance also accompanied the celebration. The events will continue at 6:30 p.m. tomorrow with more presentations and speakers in Os

Credit: DKS Editors

There are two types of hatred: self hatred and self adoration, said Basheer Jones, a local philanthropist and host of Cleveland’s Newstalk 1490 AM.

During his speech last night in honor of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People’s 100th anniversary, Jones asked the audience if it was ready for the truth.

Jones said Americans revere Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., and if it were not for the NAACP, he would not have been able to do a lot of the civil rights work he accomplished. If King had not been assassinated, Jones said, there would probably not be a holiday named after him.

“During his time, Dr. King was called the most dangerous man in America,” Jones said. ” … At that time, America did not revere Dr. King. At that time he was considered the most dangerous man in America. At that time they called him a communist – that is the same as being called a terrorist today.”

Jones asked how could a man who preached non-violence be considered dangerous to the American government. Being dangerous has nothing to do with guns, Jones said, it has to do with the ability to make change.

“Dr. King didn’t have to talk about violence or non-violence,” Jones said. “He spoke about changing the mindset of the people, and you are dangerous if you can change the mindset of the people.”

Jones asked all of the members in the audience if they were dangerous, uplifting or bringing people down. He asked all audience members if they were really in love with the message of King or if they were detrimental to society.

“That is why when you look in the mirror and you have a sense of disrespect for yourself, how are you going to love another person?” he said.” It’s deep. Until you look at the roots of the tree, there is no way to understand the tree.”

Jones encouraged all in attendance to look forward 100 years from now. He said everyone can be a leader, but what type of leader will he be?

“Adolf Hitler was a great leader. He focused on his goals and he achieved them,” he said. “Or are you going to be a leader like Dr. King? Because over 40 years after his death, he is honored today.”

Ashley Bennett, vice president of the NAACP, said Jones was not just giving a speech because he was asked to, but speaking about unity in the community is something he eats, sleeps and breathes.

“The way he spoke provoked me to want to make a change,” Bennett said. ” … If you are willing to make change, then you must be willing to be an example.”

Contact minority affairs reporter Kyle Roerink at [email protected].