From Jim Clingman – Letter to the MATAH…and Ken Day (June 24)

Dear Brothers and Sisters:

I’d like to refresh your memories on, as the song says, “The Way We Were.” Although many of “The MATAH” have gone their separate ways, I’d like us to take a stroll down memory lane in an effort to recapture some of the magic we had way back when. Some of my fondest memories are in the early days of MATAH; even though I did not sign up until late 1998, the “early days” for me, especially at the national convention in 1999 in Philly, were inspiring and encouraging.

I can remember the words of Brother Cliff Burton, “Bury your buts!,” Ashiki Taylor in his speech when he said, I am still on the plantation (job), but I am working my way off with MATAH,” the melodious voices of Dr. Ed Robinson and his Queen when they sang, “Freedom, Freedom over me,” the enthusiasm of Anthony Phillips, Brother Sepet, almost in tears, as he shared his feelings about MATAH, Kwa David Whitaker and his soothing and loving way of getting us straight and keeping us on point, Bill Hill, Shaka Satori, Jackie Mayfield, Juanda Honore, Brother Heru and Sister Gloria, “Queen Sierra” from L.A., Freddie, Karen, Greg, Candice (Nia), all the children, others too numerous to name, and of course, Ken and Al.

It was all about running for freedom, and we were not going let anyone or anything stop us. In my speech, “Preaching to the choir,” I noted how at home I felt among my newfound brothers and sisters and how I made my commitment to MATAH right then and there to raise my consciousness and stay on the path to “true freedom.” Remember, y’all?

It was one big love fest among the MATAH back then, which lasted for several years and endured even after the untimely demise of Ken Bridges. What happened? Where are the proud MATAH now? What are they doing? Are they still committed to true freedom? I have no doubt that most of us at that meeting in Philly and most of those who came on subsequently are still committed and are still on the quest for true freedom. However, I also understand that life sometimes gets in the way and as Ashiki Taylor puts it, “We all have day jobs.”

I fall into that same category, brothers and sisters, so I will not judge anyone else’s situation or commitment. It’s more than enough trying to maintain my own. My reason for writing this is simply to reestablish contact with strong men and women whom I know are not afraid of change and certainly not hesitant when it comes to initiating change. I want to bring us together for a very special occasion and initiative on Ken’s birthday (June 24th)

I am inviting all of you to join in and commit to two things: Get on a conference call (TBD) and put aside $65.00 to send to Jocelyn Bridges on June 24, 2014, for what would be Ken’s 65th birthday.

We went through a lot of pain on October 11, 2002. One day prior to that fateful date we were on one accord, riding high on our accomplishments and filled with a “spirit that could not be crushed.” Our run for freedom was strong and nothing could slow us down—at least that’s what we thought. Losing Ken was more than most of us could have imagined, but we can rebuild our strength and his legacy by reestablishing his presence in this nation.

We need your help in contacting other MATAH, so please reach out to your MATAH contacts, and let’s make this initiative one of which everyone can be proud. I have an email group set up; just send me email addresses and phone numbers. Let’s bury our “buts” and make it happen.

Annual celebration of Ken Bridges’ birthday, June 24 – Ken Day.

We want to reinvigorate the effort around celebrating Ken’s life and helping Jocelyn, his widow. It’s a surprise for her. Their daughter, April, is getting married on that day. It would be great if we could get folks to send her a dollar for each year. Ken would be 65 this year. What a great wedding present this would be for April, and a blessing to her mom. “Let’s get busy!”