By Charles H. Winfrey, Contributor
The hand of the LORD was upon me, and carried me out in the spirit of the LORD, and set me down in the midst of the valley which was full of bones,2 And caused me to pass by them round about: and, behold, [there were] very many in the open valley; and, lo, they were very dry. And he said unto me, Son of man, can these bones live? And I answered, O Lord GOD, thou knowest. Again he said unto me, Prophesy upon these bones, and say unto them, O ye dry bones, hear the word of the LORD. Thus saith the Lord GOD unto these bones; Behold, I will cause breath to enter into you, and ye shall live: And I will lay sinews upon you, and will bring up flesh upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and ye shall live; and ye shall know that I am the LORD. Ezekiel 37:1-6
At an event filled with the hopes and aspirations of her supporters at Vernon Chapel AME Church on Tuesday, April 9, Mayor Karen Weaver delivered one of the most stirring, soulful, and emotionally penetrating political speeches since then State Senator and later former President Barack Obama spoke at the
Democratic Convention in July 2004. By the time her speech ended, her supporters were ready to bear arms and march into battle to assure her re-election.
Quoting from the dry bones metaphor in Ezekiel 37, Mayor Weaver reminded the audience in oratorical splendor, the many mountains she has had to climb since becoming mayor. “The first thing I did when I took office was to declare the truth so that all could hear and all would know we were not going to be silent about our pain,” she stated. “Our city was in a state of emergency and I made that declaration less than one month after taking office.”
Mayor Weaver was, of course, referring to the fact she called a State of Emergency as a result of Flint’s ongoing water crisis although many told her it was not the right thing to do, and that the most the city could expect to gain was $5 million from the Feds. As a result of Weaver giving voice to the water crisis, the city has raked in over $500 million in the past three years. “Can these dry bones live again,” Mayor Weaver asked.
Mayor Weaver recounted a litany of accomplishments, not the least of which was insisting upon the city’s return to home rule. “People kept telling me that I had no power,” she said. “You are a powerless figurehead they stated. They obviously had never met a woman from Flint.”
Mayor Weaver touted the $3 million grant from the Kellogg Foundation to restart the city’s economic development department, the 21,000 homes her Fast Start program has checked to determine whether or not lead lines had to be changed, and the 2,000 new jobs that have been created since becoming Mayor. “Can these dry bones live,” she asked. “Yes, they can,” she answered.
The smoothly ran program was moved along by Sharinese Jackson, Pastor of Quinn Chapel AME Church. Others on the program included Lawrence E. Moon, President of L.E. Moon Funeral Home, Lamarr Griggs, Pastor of Second Chance COGIC, Samuel Berry III, Pastor of Macedonia Baptist Church, Bishop Neal Roberson, Pastor of Church of the Harvest, Chia Morgan, representing millennials, Dr. Reginald Flynn, Pastor of Foss Avenue Baptist Church, longtime friend and former teacher, Dr. Gail Ganakas, and Larry Roehrig, President of AFSCME Council 25, who introduced the Mayor in a manner that only Larry Roehrig can.