June 15, 2010

Good News Tuesday: Jack Thomas Fights for Human Rights in Frederick MD

Our minds float to places like Gaza, Somalia or Haiti when we think about human rights. As such, it intrigued me to learn about a man willing to take up the fight for human rights in his own home town.

Jack Thomas Sr. became involved with the Frederick County Human Relations Commission in 2006 after the controversy surrounding the arrest of six African American students in Jena LA, resulting from the beating of a white classmate. [SOURCE]

Thomas joined a rally at the Frederick County Courthouse to bring attention to the Jena Six, the severity of the charges and the appearance of racially motivated circumstances that led to the beating.

"I felt like I owed it to myself to get involved in the community," he said.
Thomas, 55, was born and raised in Frederick , attended Frederick High School, college at Bowie State University and graduate school at Colorado Technical University, where he received a master's degree in program management.

An information technology specialist for 33 years, Thomas has lived and worked in Minnesota, Colorado and Florida and worked in IT-related positions for telecommunications, banks and insurance companies.

He has helped develop background systems and applications for these companies to ensure everything from their websites to their ATMs worked properly.

Thomas works in Virginia for Freddie Mac as a technical project manager consultant.

In 2001, Thomas moved back to Frederick to be closer to his extended family and friends.

"I felt like it was important to get back home," he said.
One change to Frederick that he noticed was the dispersal of a once-vibrant Black community, he said.

"That sense of community that existed back then has changed significantly," he said.
Now Black residents have integrated into the community, which he described as having positive and negative consequences.

"It's really good in that people get to branch out and be involved in other things," he said. "We're all one country."

On the other hand, "it's always bad when you lose sight of where you came from," he said.
Thomas had taken small steps to engage himself in the affairs of the community, but the Jena Six served as the final incentive he needed.

He spoke with the former chairman of the Human Relations Commission, Sam Bennett Jr., who encouraged him to join the volunteer group, where he serves as treasurer.

Through the years, Thomas has seen his share of people treating others unfairly. Overall, the rights of citizens in the United States have become more equal than in other places he has traveled, such as Ghana. Still, he said, improvements are needed.

"I try to make a difference, so we can bring about some equality and equal rights for all people in the Frederick area," he said.
Jack Thomas reminds all villagers that it is important to make a difference in our own neighborhoods ... our own communities.

Seek not for fresher founts afar,
Just drop your bucket where you are.

Wisdom is right in front of the man with understanding, but the fool does not see it. He roams all over the world in search of what is right under his nose. The fool is like the proverbial cow who always thinks the grass is greener on the other side of the fence. The wise man sees plenty of green grass in the field where he is. The fool can be enthusiastic about what might be if only things were different, and he was someplace else, or somebody else. He can dream of the opportunities of the future in far off places, but the wise man sees the opportunities before his eyes right where he is. Which of these two kinds of vision you have will determine the success you make of your life.

No comments: