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Why I Called The Rev. Al Sharpton A Pimp

Chicopee John

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I called the Rev. Al Sharpton a pimp a week ago Saturday at Shiloh Baptist Church in Hartford.

I was very angry, but I have no regrets.

With our city having endured a dozen murders since January, I did not see that Sharpton's visit, brokered by his dear friend Pastor Boise Kimber of First Calvary Baptist Church in New Haven, would yield any answers to the spike in black-on-black crime in our community.

Early that morning, before the heated exchange between Sharpton and me, I awoke asking myself, "Why have another march in the streets of Hartford to 'stop the violence and increase the peace?'"

A men's meeting at Mount Olive Church later that morning with church leadership questioned the value Sharpton's visit would bring beyond the celebrity of his presence. Despite this level of internal discomfort, we all decided to move together as men of God in a spirit of unity.

I reported on the march for the local online television station W4 News AccessTV.org. The small number of 150 or so marchers and pastors walked the streets from Mount Moriah Church to Shiloh, passing the places where people were shot and killed. I could not stop thinking about the senseless murders taking place. There is no respect, not even for the clergy. A Hartford pastor was shot two weeks ago.

U.S. Rep. John Larson, D-1st District, joined us and was hopeful that the Sharpton's visit would help to galvanize change.

Sharpton arrived about eight blocks from Shiloh. Two black SUVs pulled up and stopped in the middle of the street. Like the Secret Service, two security men jumped out and escorted Sharpton to the front of the parade.

With Sharpton, marchers were walking, talking, singing and chanting the usual "No Justice, No Peace, Put the Guns Down" slogans. Then, at Shiloh, it all began.

Outside and inside the church, I heard a number of gatherers murmuring: "Why is he asking for money?" "He shouldn't be asking for money." "I don't have $100." There was a lot of discomfort in the sanctuary. That "he" making this demand was the Rev. Kimber of First Calvary Baptist Church. It wasn't clear what the money was for, but it seemed like it was for Sharpton's organization.

I was fed up, and this is when I shouted at Kimber, "How dare you come here and ask the people for money!"

Charging toward the front, I saw Sharpton jump up and take to the podium — the head-to-head exchange began.

Counting $100 dollar bills one at a time totaling $1,000, Sharpton challenged me to put my money where my mouth was. "I was once a street preacher like you," he said. "Put up or shut up!" Whatever the original purpose for the money, Sharpton changed gears and told a startled audience that the money raised would be used to build a memorial for those who were slain. I called Kimber and Sharpton a pimp several times.

We don't need a memorial with the deceased victims' names etched in stone — another grave marker. The pain from the families who lost loved ones due to gun violence cannot be replaced by a statue of wasted dollars.

Sharpton is a symbol of a systemic problem within the inner city church leadership in the North End of Hartford.

We have a church on nearly every street corner, but crime, poverty and unemployment are skyrocketing. When the basic needs of food, shelter, clothing and belongingness are not met, unfortunately selling drugs and violence become the only option for survival.

What we need are initiatives that address economic development and finance to bring stability to our neighborhoods and to help people become self-sufficient and have a means to provide for themselves.

The absence of fathers and the incarceration of black men is the modern-day slavery in our community, and we've allowed it. We must call our clergy to 100 percent accountability. No more grandstanding.

Sharpton's visit should be a wake-up call for all of us: "Many are called, but few are chosen!"

Marcus Mosiah Jarvis is pastor at Christ the Cornerstone Praise and Worship Tabernacle in Hartford.

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Without racial problems , the guys like Sharpton, Jessie and their ilk don't exist. And don't get paid


Of course they want racial problems

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Without racial problems , the guys like Sharpton, Jessie and their ilk don't exist. And don't get paid


Of course they want racial problems

True, and how pathetic is it that guys like Obama and Holder lock elbows with this race baiter Sharpton.




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