Billy Mitchell Jazz Pianist at the Sepulveda Universalist Unitarian Society

The Sunday Service of the Sepulveda Unitarian Universalist Society at the “Onion” June 21, 2015,  was marvelous. Billy Mitchell, a Black jazz pianist born in Buffalo, N.Y., spoke on his perceptions having grown up as the only Black in all his schools until his father, a Baptist minister, sent him to Atlanta, Ga. at 16 to grow up and find out first-hand about the "other" America out there. Billy refused to agree that it is all about race when people discriminated against him or others. His first experiences he would ask to be served a meal, or a drink at an all-white establishment. They would ignore him. He kept asking for a meal. He tried to make personal contact but noticed they would not look at him. Eventually, after he persisted asking for a meal the waitress served him one that was full of salt inside! Despite such experiences and his active civil rights life working with Stokely Carmichael, the horrendous shooting to death of 9 Blacks at the Charleston Church and years of other outrages directed at the Black community, he has a very positive attitude. He maintains it is all about perception and explained his optimism by first playing "Wonderful World" so beautifully to a standing ovation. He said that he is a student of history and that knowledge shows to him we have more people in our world now than ever who are trying to make a positive change for the better. "Oh yeah, there are so many bad incidents, it is awful, but is getting better. When you remember where we were in history not long ago. Slavery, The Civil War, World War I and II, and segregation. So much more hatred and killing have preceded where we are today. So don't let anyone get you down." He lamented the lack of music for our children in kindergarten, middle, elementary, and high schools where in the past our governments had music programs. He said that is a dismal development that he is addressing by funding scholarships. His website is www.billy-mitchell.com. He sponsors a Preparatory Academy at www.soppa.net. He will hold a concert in Pasadena July 5 and hopes many will come for an enjoyable afternoon.

Peace, Love, and Joy,

Daniel C. Lavery

www.danielclavery.com

   
Billy Mitchell.jpg

Billy Mitchell

Sepulveda Unitarian Universalist Society Onion        

The "Onion"

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About Daniel C. Lavery

Dan’s writing shows his transformation from a child to an athlete and a Duke pre-ministerial student where he began to question ancient and arbitrary dogma. He graduated from Annapolis, navigated a Navy jet, and a ship to Vietnam, fell in love, turned peace activist and a civil rights lawyer for Cesar Chavez's UFW. His memoir, "All the Difference," describes the experiences, some humorous and others deadly, that changed his consciousness from a pawn to an advocate crusading for justice against some of the most powerful forces in America.

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