I have attended a lot of funerals during my lifetime and I have always been grateful that growing up, unlike these days, I didn’t attend many funerals of young people my age. I’ve also tried to live so that I would not be sitting at someone’s funeral wishing I had said, or not said something.
Today, oftentimes the coffins are smaller and the obituaries shorter. The youthful bodies haven’t had a chance to experience much life, only to have it snuffed out at a young age; missing out on some really good times.
You know the times that we get to look back on and smile or laugh?
Now there are also some cringe-worthy moments, as well as some wish I woulda, coulda or mighta ones; but the difference is we are still here.
Attending a funeral of a former co-worker, I became overwhelmed when a cousin said that the deceased never felt the love that was filling the sanctuary. Those flowers were definitely missing because we really cared but maybe we just didn’t show that love as much as we should have.
Which brings me my truth.
Currently he is the President and CEO of the National Newspaper Publishers Association, and I know firsthand of his commitment to journalistic excellence and empowering our people. From his younger days in radio to writing his column that appeared in hundreds of newspapers across the country, as well as today when he hosts a regular television program; Dr. Benjamin Chavis has been a force in the industry.Then there’s also his work as an activist.
Surely you recall the Wilmington 10?
The Wilmington 10 were nine young men and a woman who were wrongfully convicted in 1971 in Wilmington, NC, of arson and conspiracy. Dr. Chavis was a young minister at the time and they all served nearly a decade in jail before an appeal won their release; but it wasn’t until 2012 that they finally received full pardons.
Dr. Chavis has worked as a minister, educator, human rights activist, journalist, media executive and more. Whether he is meeting with members of corporate America, a gathering of clergy, the Hip Hop Community, or publishers; Dr. Chavis is widely respected and a voice of reason as well as a voice to be reckoned with.
Politically, socially, financially, physically, mentally and economically; as well as journalistically, Dr. Chavis is on the forefront addressing issues in the industry and our communities. He works tirelessly speaking truth to power. He is a voice for the voiceless and a champion of the Black Press Credo.
His journalistic footprint was established long before 1985 when he first began writing the syndicated column, Civil Right Journal while simultaneously hosting a national radio program. In the 1960s he was on the air as a deejay and emcee and today he is the host of The Chavis Chronicles on PBS. In the years between he has continued work as a civil, human and community activist.
He is a dynamic individual and has been honored numerous times. I’m especially looking forward to celebrating him during Black History Month 2023, when the National Newspaper Publishers Association will present him with Lifetime Achievement Honors at our convention in Puerto Rico.
I first met Dr Chavis when I hosted the Reporters Roundtable with Cheryl Smith on KKDA-AM in Dallas. He was always willing to come on and talk about issues and empowerment. The Million Man March, Hip Hop, the NAACP and justice were just a few of the issues that kept our phone lines ringing.
Dr. Chavis has had an exemplary career of service and in journalism. He is a mentor to many and is already included in numerous history books, because of his impressive portfolio and commitment to justice and liberation.
Here’s to you, Dr, Ben Chavis. I hope that through my actions I have helped you to feel the love and gratitude because I know your journey has not been without challenges and surely some ups and downs. Maybe, just maybe, I said something along the way to add fuel to the fire that burns within and makes you such a dynamic person!