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Baccalaureate Speaker Blake Urges Class of 2009 to Help Africans and African Americans

By ADD SEYMOUR JR.

Bishop Charles E. Blake challenged Morehouse’s class of 2009 during their Baccalaureate service to remember those who are less prosperous, particularly those in Africa.

“Never forget your less fortunate brothers and sisters,” Blake said to applause in the Martin Luther King Jr. International Chapel, which was filled to its 2,500-seat capacity. “God has enabled you and will enable you to help them.”

Nearly 450 men of Morehouse got Blake’s spiritual send off, one day before they graduate during the 2009 Commencement ceremony that will be held on the Century Campus at 8 a.m on Sunday, May 17, before 10,000 people.

Saturday, they were given the blessings of the Rev. Richard Wayne Willis of First Baptist Church in Hampton, Va. and Judge Richard C. Brown Sr., the vice general director of Soka Gakkai International USA, who gave the evocation along with Imam Plemmon Tauheed El-Amin of the Atlanta Masjid of El Amin and the Rev. Paul Anthony Hill of Grace United Methodist Church in Los Angeles, Calif., who gave the benediction.

Willie “Flash” Davis ’56, chairman of the Board of Trustees, congratulated the soon-to-be graduates, but also celebrated their parents.

“To say it has been difficult is a gross understatement,” he said to the nods and applause of parents in the audience. “But the point to be made is you have risen to the occasion.”

Blake is the pastor of West Angeles Church of God in Christ in Los Angeles and is the presiding bishop of the 6.5-million member Church of God in Christ. He also is CEO of Save Africa’s Children, which supports more than 100,000 children in 340 orphan-care programs in 23 African nations.

Saying these are the best of times and the worst of times, Blake mentioned a list of statistics that showed areas in which African Americans, and blacks around the world, lag behind other constituencies.

“But this is not the time to obsess over those things,” he said. “It’s time for us to take charge of our own destinies…I propose that God has blessed African Americans in the United States not just for ourselves, but so we can reach back to our 750 million brothers and sisters in Africa.”


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