This column is being dedicated in loving memory to Timothy Antonio Hayes-El who left us on March 31, 2014.
Timothy was very dedicated to this community, especially the youth. He advocated for them in many ways but his voice often fell upon death ears. To some his way was looked upon as being too angry but taking into consideration the conditions that a majority of our youth are living in, Tim’s anger was definitely understandable. Tim’s attitude lined up with the words of Chicago’s late Mayor Harold Washington who said, "This is our country. We don’t have to slip around like peons or thieves in the middle of the night, asking someone for open sesame. Knock the damn door down!" That’s what Tim tried to do.
Tim started a Stop the Violence Awareness Program and "Boxing for Life", a program for inner city youth to promote discipline, self-awareness, respect and self defense. Tim’s passion for the sport of boxing earned him numerous trophies during the 1980’s in the Golden Gloves.
Tim’s philosophy was "Never allow anyone to be your "Priority" while allowing yourself to be his or her "Option!" That’s the way the city of Newburgh’s government has treated the African-American community for years. They always wanted our support when they were running for elections but once elected we have always been their "Option!" Meaning maybe they would or maybe they wouldn’t do right by us. Tim tried to become an elected official last year when he ran for city council in the First Ward, but because of some that was not to become his reality. That broke his heart!
In Dr. Marin Luther King, Jr’s book "Why We Can’t Wait" he says "when you are forever fighting a degenerating sense of ‘nobodiness’ then you will understand why we find it difficult to wait. There comes a time when the cup of endurance runs over, and men are no longer willing to be plunged into the abyss of despair." This is why Tim tried so desperately to address this abyss of despair that was and still is so prevalent in our community.
Tim’s cup of endurance had run over. He was tired therefore he let go and totally released his fight for justice. I believe these are the words that were churning deep down inside of his heart: "If I let go a little when life is tugging at me I will get rope burn. I cannot let go just a little bit, I need to totally let go. I must not punish myself by keeping a bad experience alive in my present life. I MUST LET GO!"
Thank you Tim for your love and dedication. You gave your life trying to make things better for this community. Throughout your years here on this earth you might have fallen down a few times but you always got back up. You were truly our friend. And what is a friend? A friend is not just someone to whom you say hello. A true friend is a tender shoulder on which to softly cry. A well to pour your troubles down and raise your spirits high. A true friend is a hand to pull you up from darkness and despair when all your other "so called" friends have helped to put you there. A true friend is an ally who can’t be moved or bought, a voice to keep your name alive when others have forgot. But most of all a true friend is a heart, a strong and sturdy wall. For from the hearts of friends there comes the greatest love of all. You were our community’s friend. Let me end the words of George Washington Carver: "How far you go in life depends on you being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving and tolerant of the weak and strong. Because someday in life you will have been all of these." Judging by the many people that turned out for your going away service, many of them felt that you were definitely their true friend. Although I must say that a few were there to see just how many truly cared for I know that they truly didn’t.
This is "Lillie’s Point of View!"