2018-04-25 / Voice at the Shore

Fox speaks at NAACP event on 50th anniversary of MLK’s death


JCC CEO JACK FOX JCC CEO JACK FOX JCC CEO Jack Fox expressed the Jewish community’s solidarity with the Atlantic City African American community at an NAACP event commemorating the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s death on April 3.

“The Jewish community, like all minority communities, understands discrimination and racism,” said Fox.

He also described Dr. King as “an important ally in the fight against anti-Semitism” and a supporter of Israel, and lauded King for his vision of “a secure and peaceful Middle East.”

Fox was among a handful of interfaith and political speakers that included NJ State Senator Jeff Van Drew, Father John Thomas of Atlantic City’s St. Monica Parish, and Kaleem Shabazz, NAACP president who organized the event at Atlantic City’s Second Baptist Church, which was packed with a primarily African American audience.

The evening’s keynote speaker was Reverend Willy Francois III, the Harvard-educated pastor of Mount Zion Baptist Church in Pleasantville.

“We are here to celebrate an ordinary man who made an extraordinary impact on our nation,” said Francois, whose dynamic speech had the crowd on their feet and vocalizing affirmations.

“We’ve misremembered King into some kind of sainthood— we have ‘Santa Clausified’ him,” said Francois, noting that King “was one of the most hated revolutionaries in the world when he died,” and was killed because too many people started demanding that America provide the racial and economic equality that King dared to dream possible.

Although some important progress has been made since the civil rights movement— including the election of a black president, Barack Obama, black people today continue to suffer from racism and economic inequality.

“We’ve got some hard times ahead of us. Last November we learned that. We need to be maladjusted, like Dr. King said, so we don’t just go along,” stressed Francois. “We have to remake America. I love America enough to make her be who she says she is on paper.”

Francois implored everyone to find his or her own personal power, and to use it by voting. In his final benediction, he also asked God to “endow our feet with the power” to remake America. s

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