CORAL SPRINGS, FL - Timing is everything.
John Lewis came within a whisper of dying for civil rights, specifically at that time, the right to vote. Lyndon Johnson used all his political chits to get the Voting Rights Act passed, turning the American political map on its head.
It expired under this administration. Its rewrite under this administration, and its newly rebalanced Supreme Court, rejected it. Lewis and several others asked specifically what needed to be changed. They changed it. It was passed by the House. The Senate was due to pass it this week. He hasn’t yet. Then all it will need is the president’s signature. Since he snubbed Lewis’ lying in state, it’s anyone’s guess what he will do.
What does this have to do with Coral Springs?
First, let us acknowledge that the life and work of John Lewis and all those who dedicated and continue to dedicate their lives to civil rights have an impact on us all. Whether one chafes under some of it or the tactics used to protect and expand those rights, they none-the-less impact us all. John Lewis was of us all, and claimed that, yet in the mourning it was clear he was held closer in a personal way by America’s African-American community. He was also seen by other minorities as a mentor and a beacon.
Today’s Coral Springs is no longer “the original” Coral Springs. That Coral Springs was a community of executives and mostly white, middle-class managers. It had a service-worker’s class, but it was tiny. Over the years, the city’s demographics changed and now almost a quarter of the population is black, Islander, and African American. Another almost five percent is non-African American minorities and a growing Jewish community, a community that has its own distinctive civil rights issues. It isn’t “your father’s Coral Springs anymore.” The demographics indicate that it probably wasn’t really your father’s, and certainly not your grandfather’s, but the point is obvious. The only things that don’t change are owing taxes and death.
The numbers not only don’t lie, but they often are prophetic. John Lewis had a way of doing things. Not all people of color cared for it. The Black Muslims and the Prophet Elijah Muhammed were not every African-American’s cup of tea nor was inclusive non-violence theirs. Ghandi’s were not every Indian’s. That way was a way of inclusion. The “civil” in civil rights meant rights for all. It was the way of non-violence, the confronting of violence with determination. Without everyone backing civil rights as an inherent part of man’s natural law, strife and violence will likely occur.
Coral Springs is a quiet community. To stay quiet its leaders today, white and black, must see to the issues before they become problems as the Coral Springs PD is trying to do. You all know what the problems are. Now is the time, as Lewis said, to make “good trouble,” “righteous trouble.” The trouble has to be made by the leaders with the people. That then will be the Future for John Lewis’ Past in Coral Springs.
A resident of South Florida for more than 30 years, Bill Gralnick has written more than 900 op-eds and columns for newspapers around the country, including columns for the Brooklyn Eagle.
His latest book, found on Amazon.com, Kindle or paperback, is the coming-of-age memoir, “The War of the Itchy Balls and Other Tales from Brooklyn.”
His writings can be found on his website: williamgralnickauthor.com