Foundation for Community Empowerment holds Partner’s Luncheon
On Monday, the Foundation for Community Empowerment (FCE) held it's annual Partner's Luncheon at The Women's Museum in Fair Park. The foundation's President and CEO Marcia Page, and founder Don Williams (Chairman Emeritus of Trammell Crow Co.) hosted the gathering of community leaders who work closely with the group.
"Miss Community" Dianne Gibson and Casey Thomas served as Mistress and Master of Ceremony for the event. Elected officials in attendance included Dallas City Councilman Ed Oakley, State Representative Terri Hodge, and State Senator Royce West. Also in attendance was Jon Edmonds, past President and CEO of FCE.
The highlight of the luncheon was the Keynote Address delivered by Rev. Dr. Michael Pfleger a.k.a. Father Pfleger of the Faith Community of St. Sabina in Chicago. Some of you may have seen Father Pfleger featured in Ebony, Time, People, Newsweek, USA Today, or on "Extra". "60 Minutes" or "The Larry King Show." But if you haven't heard Father Pfleger speak in person, then some of the message is truly lost in translation.
I had heard Father Pfleger speak before, so I was ready for what was about to take place. But for most who saw this man step to the podium in his traditional Catholic priest's attire, I'm sure they expected a few Hail Mary’s, some nice words, and the end of another canned speech. Yet from his first words to his closing story, the group gathered by Mr. Williams and Ms. Page were in inspired, convicted, and energized: all at the same time.
I couldn't do justice to Father Pfleger's address in this limited space; but in a nutshell he told the group it's time. Time to stop assimilating, time to set a standard. Time to understand that nothing can happen unless we choose to tolerate it. Time to dismantle human indifference.
Time to withdraw misplaced human energy, time to build homes, time to start reaching out to our children and seeing every child as my child.
Time to put vision back into our children, time to dismantle a prison system that is broken and a legal system that is unjust.
All the efforts of Father Pfleger and St. Sabina are centered in the African-American community. He isn't ashamed, nor does he apologize for it (St. Sabina's website makes that clear from the jump). The similarities between Mr. Williams and Father Pfleger were obvious, even if no one said it out loud. I’m just glad I could be a fly on the wall for this one.