A vision to “Bridge the Gap” implanted within Minister Myra Dickson laid dormant for over 14-years, but Saturday, June 13 the bridge began construction as hundreds of community members gathered with law enforcement officers, school faculty, churches and city and county officials for the “Bridging the Gap United March and Prayer.”
Dickson said there is a gap that needs to be filled. “There is a gap in our community, there is a gap in our schools, there is a gap in our workplaces and sadly there is even a gap in our churches which should not be,” explained Dickson. “It’s time to bridge the gap and come together as one.”
In conjunction with likeminded members of the community Jana Dalzell, Elizabeth Henry Urban, and Tremesia Calhoun organized the peaceful march and prayer to bring awareness to social injustice in the wake of the George Floyd murder at the hands of Minneapolis Minnesota cops.
Mothers held their children close, different ethnicities marched and prayed alongside each other and the beautiful spiritual sung along the streets of Navasota rang true “Lord I need you to survive.”
In a world where hate overshadows love, hanging on to the promises of scripture and hope within Jesus is the foundation to bridge the gap. Navasota High School and Prairie View A&M alumni Franteric “Woogie” Powell opened the eyes and touched the hearts of many when he spoke words that cut like a two-edged sword.
“You still have people in this country that still don’t understand what is going on,” said Powell. “You still have people in this country that don’t understand why this event and events like this event are going on not across America but across the entire world. To those people who still do not understand why, I want to make it clear to you. I want to make it very clear to you that what you are witnessing is not a Democrat versus Republican thing; this is not an anti-cop versus pro-cop thing; this is not a black versus white thing. What you are seeing today is right versus wrong, just versus unjust, all of us versus systematic oppression, us versus systematic racism.”
Powell said what you are witnessing today, over the past weeks, months, years, decades and centuries is “our long, tiring and enduring quest to make truth of the statement liberty and justice (the crowd joined in to help Powell finish his statement) for all.” Powell who played on the Navasota Rattler state championship teams in 2012 and 2014 apologized for not warning the crowd that he is a very passionate person and pours his heart into everything he does. The excitement may have “felt like a Friday night in 2014” but it came straight from his heart.
Powell asked the crowd “what are we going to do to make sure that this movement doesn’t just become a forgotten moment? What actions are we going to take?”
Many community leaders were asked to address the community and lead them in prayer. Navasota City Manager prayed for the city officials and local government. We love this city and we love the people of this city,” said Stafford.
Navasota Police Chief Shawn Myatt, described as a gentle giant by Dickson spoke truthful, heartfelt words to the community. “I am so thankful, humbled and honored to be a part of this because it is your community and I am your servant,” stated Myatt. “I thought about this all week since Myra (Dickson) came to us and wanted to plan this. You now we fear the unknown, but when God gets in our heart he gives us strength, he gives us courage and he gives us the opportunity to come together today and have wonderful, overwhelming, beautiful, strong, touching heartful conversation.”
Myatt said everyday he puts on the uniform he is no different from anyone else. Myatt grabbed his badge and said, “this does not represent that man in Minneapolis. That’s a human being with a corrupt heart.” Myatt pointed to his uniform and said those are just things and what’s behind the uniform is heart. “Every one of my staff that are here are here from the heart and are true servants. Because they are a part of Navasota.”
Navasota ISD School Board member Jennifer Ramirez fought back tears as she reflected on the significance of the moment. “Some of this that we are doing we only read about in textbooks, seen on tv or heard some of our family speaking about. I’m sad that we're having to do it, but it is what it is, and I am so proud of each of us.”
One at a time, community leaders approached the podium to lead prayer. Navasota Athletic Director Casey Dacus read a scripture of love. “A wise man once told me that the number one thing we need in the world is hope, but I don’t think that’s all. I think we need some love,” proclaimed Dacus. “Watching all the things that are happening in the world today, there is an absence of love.”
Dacus read a passage from the Bible. Matthew 22:35-40. (NIV) “Teacher which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
View the full “Bridging the Gap March and Prayer” video on the Navasota Examiner Facebook page.