40 Years in America
The Delaware Experience
In 1976 almost all Canadian members went to Wilmington, Delaware to participate in the Washington Monument campaign. We were divided into teams and I was made a team leader and assigned a specific area to work in with my team. When all my team members had chosen their areas, it just so happened that the only area left for me to do was a black housing project. No one had wanted this area, but I was happy to take the challenge. By that time I understood enough of the Divine Principle and the history of black and white relationships to want to help right some of the wrongs that had been committed by my race against the black race.
The residents’ initial reaction when I first stepped onto the Project Grounds was anything but friendly. Little kids even threw rocks at my van as I drove onto "their" property. However, I managed to "survive" this and make contact with some of the many very nice people there. The next morning I came better prepared. When the rocks started to fly again, I threw bubble gum back at those little rascals. This seemed to be a weapon too powerful to resist and, very soon, we were able to negotiate a truce. As I offered my sincere friendship to them and continued to bring in that bubble gum every day, my relationship with the children quickly improved.
I became known as "Mr. Baahhcinntinniel" with the children, and whenever I drove onto the project grounds, my new friends would very quickly surround my van. Through the children I eventually got to know the parents and through them I was welcomed into many homes and made many more friends. When September 18 came around, the day of the Washington Monument event, many people were ready to board the buses, but the buses would not come. I was really worried; my people became a bit impatient. Especially one young man who had taken it upon himself to become the spokesman for the whole group. Whenever I went to call to inquire about the buses, he came with me. He wanted to make sure that I did not run out on him.
Finally, one bus came and it filled up quickly and was on the way. Later two more buses came with some people already in them. However, everyone at my pick-up point, about 100 people, was on their way to Washington D.C. On my bus I befriended a little girl. Actually she befriended me and she wanted to go wherever I went. She was such a beautiful child, about 8 years old. We became very close, but today, almost 23 years later I cannot even remember her name. When we got to the Washington Monument grounds, the program was already in full swing. There were so many people and we were quite a distance from the stage. My little friend asked me if she could sit on my shoulders to be able to catch the action better.
About 10 minutes after I put her on my shoulders True Father was introduced. I was not in the best of shape and my little friend became quite heavy after a while. When True Father began to speak I made a condition to carry the little girl on my shoulders as a representative of the entire black race. I wanted to make this condition to support and uplift the black race before God for the rest of my life. To fulfill this condition I determined to carry my little friend on my shoulders until True Father finished speaking, or until she would ask me to let her down.
I was struggling, but I encouraged her to stay on my shoulders as long as she wanted to. A photographer came by and took a picture of us. At one point I was wondering if I could continue. Her weight became almost unbearable. True Father was still speaking and it did not seem that he would stop soon. Finally, the little girl herself became tired of sitting on my shoulders and she requested to come down. I gladly set her down. My back was aching and I was certainly relieved to have that weight off my shoulders. However, I felt victorious in fulfilling my condition. True Father finished speaking a few minutes later.
I would have loved to get the picture the photographer took of me with the girl on my shoulders and her holding the sign with our bus number "33 Delaware." But I did not know him and thus had no way of ever seeing it, so I thought. However, it proved to be a wrong assumption on my part. In 1998, 22 years later, while I was working at the Continental HQs New York’s 43rd Street, one of my friends leafed through the historic "Day of Hope in Review" book. He called me over, pointing to one page, and asked, "Is that you?"
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