|Saturday, September 17th I was blessed to be a part of the home-going celebration for comedian and activist, Dick Gregory. This seven-hour tribute was filled with a lineup of noted artists and politicians, yet it was made very clear by the youngest of Dick Gregory’s ten children that all who spoke were chosen for no other reason except that they were personal friends of Mr. Gregory and family. One by one these distinguished individuals walked on stage and described how Dick Gregory changed their lives.
Dick Gregory was a phenomenon. The level at which he stayed informed – reading 21 newspapers a day – the personal time and attention he gave to human rights across the globe, and, the quality time he found to give his ten children (and grandchildren) do not begin to describe this man’s presence. According to the children and grandchildren who spoke, he listened, played with them, and made them feel special.Never controlled by money, this man lived what he preached. Almost every speaker had an example of how Dick Gregory gave up and or gave away millions of dollars for the opportunity to help others. When his house was about to be foreclosed, one of his many Hollywood friends gave him a check for $600,000 to pay off his mortgage in full. Dick Gregory immediately turned the check over to a front line organization to continue the work of fighting for human rights!! This may seem an extraordinary act, but to Mr. Gregory it was commonplace. He knew how to walk in God’s Power.
Dick Gregory understood that material wealth is an illusion. When we look around we see children who have been given every material thing a human being can possess. Yet they are hooked on drugs, committing suicide, depressed and living lives without joy. Love and self-esteem cannot be bought. Here are a few of my take-aways from the memorial service. If we want to save our world and each other we must reorder priorities.
Dick Gregory memorial take-aways:
- Our job while we are here is to make something of ourselves, which by Dick Gregory’s standards means to learn to become better at loving mankind. Contrary to popular wisdom, making money has never been a legitimate goal.
- Become what you say: if you are not going to do it don’t say it.
- There is only one race: the human race. All of us – white black, red yellow or green have been victimized by the lie of racism.
- Poverty and lack has been manufactured by ignorance and greed. If we live in love we can live in abundance.
- God and fear cannot occupy the same space. (FYI: a woman jogging in Rock Creek Park at 2:00 am is not showing lack of fear but stupidity. Don’t get it twisted)
A few of the presenters:
Lawrence O’Donnell (MSNBC News)
Amy Goodman (Democracy Now)
Rain Pryor (Richard Pryor’s daughter)
Muriel Bowser (DC Mayor)
Nightwolf, and Native American Coalition
Sweet Honey in the Rock
Bill & Camille Cosby
Children of Medgar, King and Malcolm
Eleanor Holmes Norton