During these last several months, I have had the opportunity to have some productive and heartfelt experiences with the citizens of this city. From business owners, to elected officials, to youth and seniors and many others, I have listened and learned from all of these exchanges.
For this week’s message, I am focusing on our Seniors and ancestors. It is my constant prayer that our Senior’s golden years be fruitful, enjoyable, pleasant and safe. They have meaningful concerns about their health, economic status, living conditions and family involvement.
Recently I was involved in an activity to benefit the research for Alzheimer’s. I have learned this disease is the 6th leading cause of death in America. And disproportionately affects African Americans more than any other group. We all have someone in our families who is suffering from this disease that causes them to be foreign to us in speech, yet so close in their appearance. Regardless of the status of this disease that robs individuals of their memories, mostly in their golden years, research is continuing to search for the gene that causes this disease. And finding it early. Nevertheless, our Seniors still should be honored, treated well and given the best health care possible.
They have shown great faith and courage, and we should help to make their lives absolutely beautiful during these special yet difficult times.
I am proud to recognize the Hadley Park Duplicate Bridge Club for being a part of the Annual Alzheimer’s Association’s Longest Day event, which is a fundraising activity for Alzheimer’s research taking place nationwide. The group continues to grow in their annual contribution to the organization. This year they raised more than $2,500.
I have also been with our Seniors at Assisted Living facilities. Some are in good health and others have failing health; yet they all appreciate any attention they receive. Just a touch is special.
We all should continue to work with senior groups to ensure their health, physical and emotional needs are being met, so that their quality of life is good.
Just as we must provide due diligence to our living seniors, we also must honor our ancestors: respect their lives and the causes for which many fought and died so that our lives would be better. Whether its Frederick Douglas, whose name was recently and respectfully placed on a Nashville Park or Avon Williams, the first African American Senator in the state of Tennessee Legislature…whether its members of the Colored Troops of the Civil War or the slaves and freedmen who built Fort Negley…whether its Fannie Lou Hamer, who coined the phrase, “I am sick and tired of being sick and tired, or Nashville’s own Frankie Pierce, who was an avid abolitionist and suffragist, we must show the utmost respect for their lives and honor them without question because they worked in many ways for all of us to have unalienable rights.
This is our faith for our families and fellowship. And, as we care for our elders and honor our ancestors, we provide for everyone a brighter future. It is our responsibility to protect those who have made us what we are. We can and we will embrace our seniors and honor our ancestors, now more than ever, for such a time as this.
Pastor Howard Jones, Jr., is the Senior Pastor of Fairfield M. B. Church in Goodlettsville and Celebrate Life Community Church in Madison. He is also an assistant principal at J. F. Kennedy Middle School, a part of the MNPS system.