Picnic Perspectives: Interview with Rick Stevenson Jr.

| July 15, 2013

Picnic Perspective
Queen Nefertiti
Winston Pearson
Joe Ayers
Rick Stevenson Jr.
Tyrone Cato
James Redmond


EH: Why is this picnic socially important?

Rick Stevenson Jr.: First of all, I would like to say congratulations. It’s an honor to be part of this occasion. It’s imperative that we support our local community news papers because this document happens to be our only voice and news outlet that doesn’t censor us. It is imperative that we support this newspaper.

EH: Why are blacks still not fully vocally and editorially expressing their views?

Rick Stevenson Jr.: To make a long story short, we have been taught a system of fear and intimidation from the Trans Atlantic Slave Trade and the different mechanisms and psychological methods that were perpetuated on us during our sojourn to America. This has been an ongoing theme from generation to generation where we fear the loss of a job, position or title in order to have things. We sacrifice what is in the best interest of us as a people for us to be really free and have the same equal rights and mandates of other people.

EH: Are we in the era of perpetual slave mentality? If so, how do we break out?

Rick Stevenson Jr.: That’s a wonderful question. I’m sure many people have different opinions and philosophies. But first of all, we have to acquire a thorough knowledge of who and what we are? Where we came from? What are our gifts are to civilization and to humanity? We don’t know that we are the mothers and fathers of civilization because it was never taught to us as a whole. Plus we’ve learned about everyone else in the classroom, but we don’t know enough about our history. It only takes us to the Civil Rights Era.

EH: How do you get through the mindset that has been conditioned to hate history?

Rick Stevenson Jr.: Many different ways. You have the arts, music, poetry and you have hip hop. There are different avenues the conscious community and for people my age and under to use. We have to use our gifts and talents and gear them to the educational aspects of life while staying with the rhythm. It’s like going fishing. You have to use the right pole and the right bait to get the right fish.

EH: Are the churches equipped to take the lead of community issues as they did in the 1960s?

Rick Stevenson Jr.: Whenever you are under a 501 ©3, and you’re being funded by the government, there’s only so much you can do in an activist role. Different things can be done, but until we come together and unite…

EH: Why do you have faith that things will get better for blacks?

Rick Stevenson Jr.: It’s like the saying “we walk by faith and not by sight.” My faith is that I can see beyond the physical and I see the earning of the people who want to come together. But, there’s going to take different circumstances that will bring us together. I hate to say that it will probably take more killings and more deaths for us to finally get the message. We have you and your ministry of talk shows you’ve been doing for 30 years and bringing me and other people into this forum. But, the people have not lamented. They have not danced to our music. So it will take the winds of nature to whip up into shape and hopefully when that happens we’ll have a sound structure that we can put into fruition. As old folks use to say, just keep pressing on. That shouldn’t alter the agenda that we all want to achieve because I have children now and they’re going to have children one day. So I want to make sure they see a better day than we did. It’s up to us to instill history in them so they can teach their friends also.

This article originally appeared in the July 10 print edition.

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Category: Local, Opinion

About the Author ()

Eric Hackley is a veteran independent journalist, television show host and producer focusing largely on history, particularly family history in the black community. His award-winning public access television shows have featured a host of local and national icons. Hackley can be contacted at hackonomicstv@gmail.com.

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