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Thumbs Up! - March 30, 2013

A sincere thank you goes out to Pastor Kenneth McMillian and Hines Memorial CME Church for hosting the Holy Week services at lunchtime each weekday this week. A very affordable lunch was available with worship services following and, for latecomers, a second lunch was served after the day's message. Pastors from First United Methodist Church, Bethel AME, St. Paul's Episcopal Church, Friendship Missionary Baptist Church and First Presbyterian Church shared the pulpit over the course of the week. The way Don Adams, Ernest Davis, Lee Lowery, H.B. Johnson and Garrett Andrew, all leaders of the aforementioned downtown congregations, came together to share the Biblical events leading up to Easter Sunday is refreshing and impressive.

Good things come to those who wait, patience is a virtue and to everything there is a season are familiar sayings for most people. Not one person in Albany is likely to understand the meaning of those words more than Yaz Johnson. For more than a decade he has bumped into wall after wall in efforts to have his father honored for events that occurred more than 40 years ago. Johnnie Johnson went to work for the city of Albany in 1958. He and all the black workforce of the city were restricted from supervisory jobs and forced to adhere to the city's segregation policies, including lower pay. Frustrated beyond what most people can even imagine, Johnnie Johnson walked out on his public works job in the spring of 1972 ... 260 other black employees followed. Fast forward four years and the city was ordered to change its ways. A lawsuit filed by the father of Yaz Johnson changed the lives of untold numbers of city workers, forever. The efforts of the son to immortalize the father have finally come to fruition. The Albany Public Works building as well as the city's health clinic bear the name of Johnnie Johnson, forever.

She's at it again! B.J. Fletcher has offered up a challenge to businesses in the community. Thus far, no person or persons have been arrested for the March 17 drive-by shooting that left two young men dead on Willard Avenue. The reward for tips leading to the arrest(s) has stood at $1,000 since that time. On Thursday, Fletcher decided to up the ante by adding $500 of her own money to the pot. She is asking not that each small business owner match her contribution, but that each give toward the Crime Stoppers program, even if only $10 or so. There is no doubt that someone has the needed information to bring the killer(s) to justice. Fletcher said it best : "There are people out there who would tell on their mama if the reward was big enough." Here is a good chance to prove she is correct.

The Junior Beta Club and Student Council of Sherwood Acres Elementary School raised enough money to, for the fifth year, serve snacks to visiting college students. The visitors were in Albany as part of the Collegiate Challenge, as they spent their spring break working on houses for Habitat for Humanity. Sherwood Acres students delivered $250 worth of snacks to the jobsite, were allowed to tour the homes under construction and were taught about being a volunteer. Whether elementary age of college age, there was much to be learned, even on spring break.

A local teachers' sorority have taken to heart the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., and are honoring the memory of the 26 lives lost in a shooting rampage. Members of Alpha Delta Kappa have set a goal to perform 26 "random acts of kindness." The sorority sisters each have a list of victims, a list of suggested actions and a log to record their acts. Retired teacher Rachel Dorough explained that the acts are not necessarily tied to money but are simply "random acts toward total strangers at unexpected times." The 42-member sorority made the decision to make a difference in someone's day 26 times. That kind of behavior just might lead to a do-good addiction. Perhaps we should all give it a try!

-- The Albany Herald Editorial Board