HOME | CONTACT US | ABOUT THE Y | CAREERS
Thoughts from the executive

March 02, 2011

Black History Month, March Madness, etc.

"But if in your thought you must measure time into seasons, let each season encircle all the other seasons,
And let today embrace the past with remembrance and the future with longing."
- On Time from The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran

In our lifetime, there has probably been nothing more significant when it comes to "embracing the past with remembrance" than social networking. Reminders are literally in your face - or your hand and the content presents a constant stream of teachable moments.

Even if you think you know something about a person, place, or thing - get ready for the rest of the story.

Jackie Robinson becomes the first Black man to play Major League Baseball.Black History Month has always meant a lot to me long before arriving at the Jackie Robinson Family YMCA. Living my first twenty-eight years in Detroit from 1952-1980 might have had a lot to do with it. It was there that I learned that Black History went far beyond the athletes, the celebrated, and the entertainers. So many of the "History Makers" in my life were those that simply took the time to look me in the eye and say anything that sounded like "Boy, let me tell you..."

I thank God everyday that I listened to all of it. What usually followed were the "...when I was your age" or "...you don't know how good you have it" stories. Each one took me to a time, a person, place, or thing and left me with a memory without ever leaving my seat. These time traveler moments left a number of impressions and commonsense lessons about the importance of being thankful for what I have, not being afraid to work hard, why I should "eat the fish and throw away the bones" and "beware of snakes (because they bite)," and in the end why I should always return the Glory to God.

Jackie Robinson with Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.So, here I am at the namesake memorial to the great Jackie Robinson, which is not a bad place to be if you are celebrating Black History Month. When you consider for twenty-six years our YMCA has hosted the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Human Dignity Award Breakfast, it might remove all doubt how significant Black History is to our institution. Many of our keynote speakers Have been recognized as "History Makers." Rev. Calvin Morris, Rev. Samuel "Billy" Kyles, Cecil Steppe, and Rev. Reginald Gary, have addressed thousands in honor of the life and legacy or Dr. King.

Rufus DeWitt (with wife Mary) was the first recipient of the YMCA of San Diego County Human Dignity Award.The following Human Dignity Award recipients represent just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Black History in San Diego: Rufus DeWitt, Rev. George Walker Smith, Leon Williams, Clifford Graves, Gladys Calvin, Rev. Amos Johnson, Jr., Dr. Leon Kelley, Hal Brown, Rev. George Stevens, Rev. Ray Smith, Tina & Harold Lewis, Preston Davis, Maxine & Bill Wilson, Hartwell Ragsdale, Alicia & Tony Gwynn, Brooks Huffman, Dr. Eugene Bailey, Mamie Thomas, the Elders of Black Men United, Dr. Howard Carey, Rev. Dr. James Hester Hargett, Jr., Ardelle & Robert Matthews, Dr. Shirley Weber, Bishop George D. McKinney, Robert Countryman, and Dr. Dorothy Smith.

When Gibran said, "Let today embrace the past with remembrance and the future with longing" this certainly suggests February alone is not enough to constantly celebrate Black history in San Diego and beyond.


SDSU Aztec Malcolm Thomas grew up at the Jackie Robinson Family YMCA.Basketball fever reached a fever pitch last week when San Diego State and Brigham Young battled on national television for supremacy in the Mountain West Conference. It took another great performance by the Cougars to offset the Aztecs for the second time this season. This loss was only the second for the home team in 29 games played this season. While many mourned the defeat, I could not help but remember a team I helped coach in 1974, when Brother Rice High School lost twice to Catholic Central in league play, then went on to finish 26-2 and win the Michigan State Championship - including a win the third time they played Catholic Central.

Here's where March Madness kicks in: State traveled to Laramie, Wyoming for their next game and 28th victory while BYU hosted New Mexico and lost by 18 at home. Both are tied for the MWC regular season crown. I will be in Las Vegas on March 12 to see San Diego State win the Mountain West Championship, but before that, I will be at the Jenny Craig Pavilion on Friday, March 4 to see Lincoln High School defend their CIF San Diego Section Division II title at 8:00 pm. The Hornets are looking to repeat last year's State Championship run. Basketball fans should make plans to watch Lincoln repeat their joyful journey.

Hoosiers is real!

Filed under General | 0 Comments

0 Responses

Write a comment

Write a Comment

  1. name:

    email: