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The Stride Toward Freedom, Together Path (named after Dr. King's book about the Montgomery bus boycott) was created as part of our 2015 Mass Humanities-funded project. The art work was done by local artists; the text is the collaboration of local professors and their students; the sign frames made and donated by Southeastern Regional Vocational Technical High School; and the graphics engineered by Sign Design, a Brockton-based company.
There are four two-sided signs; here is the information on the signs numbered one through four.
Amilcar Lopes Cabral was born on September 12, 1924 in Guinea Bissau to a Cape Verdean father and Guinean mother. He grew up in Cape Verde on the island of Santiago. As an adolescent he completed high school on the island of Sao Vicente and later won a scholarship to go study agronomy in Portugal.
Amilcar Cabral was profoundly influenced by his environment. He became as a young adult increasingly worried about the conditions of poverty and inequality in Cape Verde and Guinea Bissau. A key turning point in his life was the Massacre of Pidjiguiti in which Portuguese colonial troops shot and killed many dock workers in Guinea Bissau. Amilcar Cabral viewed constructive dialogue as the best way to resolve personal and world conflicts. After attempting without success for many years to win independence through dialogue, the party finally resorted to armed struggle.
Along with other African classmates in Portugal, Cabral formed the PAIGC (African Party for the Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde) with the aim of liberating the African peoples from Portuguese colonialism. In his fight to free Cape Verde and Guinea Bissau, Amilcar Cabral met with many world leaders in search of support. He was received at the United Nations as well as by the Pope.
Cabral believed in the dignity of humankind and the natural rights of all people to progress and develop without barriers. Recognizing his personal responsibility to his country and the continent, he once stated that his work in the liberation movement was a way to “pay his debt with his people…” Amilcar Cabral influenced many of the liberation movements in Africa and even shared his ideas with civil rights workers in the United States. He was awarded honorary degrees from U.S. universities.
Sadly, on January 20, 1973, Amilcar Cabral was assassinated in Guinea. Two years later, both Guinea and Cape Verde would be free from Portuguese colonialism. One of his often cited quotes is that “Culture is simultaneously the fruit of a people’s history and a determinant of that history”.
Amilcar Cabral is today remembered as the father of the Cape Verdean nation as well as of Guinea Bissau; many poems and songs have been written commemorating his life and work.
- Dr. Joao Rosa, Bridgewater State University, with student researcher Johari Rosa
Connection of Frederick Douglass and Cape Verde
As a slave in Baltimore, Frederick Douglass worked as a ship caulker, where he gained a knowledge and love of the sea and sailing ships. He used that information to escape in 1838, disguised in seaman’s clothes. To be able to board a train on the first leg of his trip to freedom, he carried a borrowed protection certificate from a free black sailor. When in New York on his journey, he was assisted by David Ruggles, Secretary of the Vigilance Committee of the Underground Railroad, printer, and black activist journalist. Mr. Douglass married his fiance Anna Murray in Ruggles’ home. It was Mr. Ruggles who suggested that Frederick and Anna travel to New Bedford, as it had a robust ship building industry that might afford Douglass the opportunity of work.
African-Americans had been a part of New Bedford’s history from the early 1700s, attracted by a strong Quaker presence and opposition to slavery. Many free seamen from the Cape Verde islands were skilled workers on the docks and on the whaling ships. According to the New Bedford Whaling Museum, more than 3,000 African-Americans served on New Bedford whalers between 1803 and 1860. Frederick Douglass lived in New Bedford from 1837 to 1841, working at Coffin’s Wharf. In his autobiography, Douglass writes that while working on the New Bedford docks with free black men, he was “imbued with the spirit of liberty”. It was here that he heard Boston abolitionist William Llyod Garrison speak out against slavery.
Nantucket was also a major shipbuilding and whaling center. The vast majority of blacks on that island were Cape Verdeans and Azorians who had arrived on whaling ships. On August 11, 1841, while attending an anti-slavery meeting on Nantucket, Garrison recognized Douglass and asked him to step up to the podium. In what is considered his first public address, Douglass spoke out eloquently for the right of freedom. William Lloyd Garrison, renowned Boston abolitionist, described this moment as “the commencement of Douglass’ brilliant career”.
About the Artist: Adalgisa Andrade
I was born on the island of Santo Antao and raised in Sao Vicente, Cabo Verde.
At the age of eight I immigrated to the United States to live with my mother in Pawtucket Rhode Island. It was at Jenks Junior High School that I exhibited a talent for drawing and painting. I then came to Brockton to live with my father and went to Brockton high school. In high school I took many art classes and then decided to go to Bridgewater State University. I graduated in 2009 with a Bachelor in Fine Arts and began doing some freelance work as a muralist.
In 2010 I began working at Catholic Charities Teen Center the Dorchester MA. I have taught art workshops, teen focus groups and family programming for the past five years. I now have a passion to help others and love teaching art. My style of painting is very colorful and expressive.
About the Artist: Jean-Claude Sainte
Born in Haiti, Jean-Claude Sainte earned a degree in architecture before he immigrated to the U.S. in 1993, with the objective to further his education and to promote the Haitian culture. Sainte began to paint since he was a child and demonstrated a profound passion for fine art; at the age of seven. With the help of his father he attended the “Foyer Des Art Plastiques”, which was one of the most prestigious art academies in Haiti. Later, Sainte became a member of Haiti’s Academy of Fine Arts, (Academie Des Beaux Art), where he specialized in portraits.
Jean-Claude participated in an exhibit at Harvard University; the bold forms and bright colors of his paintings stunned the participants of the Harvard Multi-Cultural Art Festival in 2000. He has also participated in many art festivals and exhibitions throughout Massachusetts, as well as other states.
One of Sainte’s paintings “Tropical Smile” won the second place at the Mansfield Art Festival in 1998. Another one of his paintings “Cry For Help”, was exhibited at the U.S. State Department in Washington, D.C., where former President Bill Clinton also rewarded Sainte with a medal of honor for his painting dedicated to Clinton. In the year of 2000, the Massachusetts Senate recognized Sainte for his contribution to the cultural revival of the Commonwealth State.
Toussaint Louverture (1743-1803) :
The Universality and the Modernity of a Legacy
In 1793, Toussaint Louverture, who at the age of fifty had spent thirty years of his life in slavery, rose in the ranks of the African slaves of the French colony of Saint Domingue (now Haiti) as a fierce abolitionist, a brilliant military strategist and a statesman. For about 10 years, using knowledge acquired from history books and learning from European military strategists, Louverture – his self-adopted name which means “the Opening” - pursued a relentless military and guerilla war against the Spanish (March 1794), the British (1798) and the French armies (1801-1802), systematically dismantling the slave structure that kept more than 500,000 Africans in bondage. His quest for freedom later took a shift when he moved to assert the autonomy of the French colony under his sole authority, maneuvering in between the competing interests of the European colonial powers and the newly created USA. In 1802 Napoleon Bonaparte sent the most powerful marine armada ever to reconquer its colony, deport its black leaders and reestablish slavery. Captured, he prophetized: “By capturing me, you only took down the trunk of the black freedom tree in St Domingue, it will spring up again, for its roots are multiple and deep.” He died in France in April 1803 while his lieutenants continued an all out war against the French troops, which resulted in 1804 in the independence of Haiti, the first black republic in the world, and in Napoleon selling the Louisiana territories to the US, abandoning larger ambitions of invading continental America.
Louverture has since been celebrated across three continents with memorials, academic publications and cultural tributes. More documents now establish his ties to larger abolition movements and their leaders who drew lessons from his life and his approaches to promote equality: equal racial footing, integration and collaboration among whites, blacks and mulattos, the establishment of a multiracial society, forgiveness and reconciliation for the greater national good, hard work and education. From charismatic slave revolt leader Denmark Vesey to uncompromising abolitionists Frederick Douglas, Senator Wendell Phillips, John Brown or contemporary Malcom X, his legacy has been evoked to inspire, rouse, dismantle or build. Douglass said it best about Louverture: “His high character, his valor, his wisdom, and his unflinching fidelity to the cause of liberty are an inheritance of which his people should be proud”. From monuments and streets dedicated to him in Benin, Africa, in France, Cuba or the US, from his evocation in both popular culture (Robeson, Alex Haley) and academic arenas, his legacy continues to thrive, a testimony to his universality and his modernity. But more than the physical or the academic tributes, the fact that his approach to equality, racial harmony and true integration continues to resonate more than 200 years later in policies advocated by contemporary leaders such as Martin Luther King or Nelson Mandela constitutes the true validation of his genius and his legacy.
Charlot Lucien – Author, Poet, Storyteller, Haitian Artists Assembly of MA
with student researcher Sebastien Lucien
Frederick Douglass, The Haiti Pavilion, and the Worlds Fair
Because of his service as Minister to Haiti in the 1880s, Frederick Douglass was invited to be the keynote speaker at the dedication of the Haitian Pavilion at the World’s Fair held in Jackson Park, Chicago, in 1893.
The building was a landmark and gathering place for Americans of color. Ida B. Wells grew up in the post–Civil War South and became a fierce opponent of lynching. She came to Chicago in 1893 to protest the exclusion of African Americans from exhibits at the World's Columbian Exposition. Wells described Haiti's pavilion as “one of the gems of the World's Fair, and in it Mr. Douglass held high court.”
This exhibition celebrated the 400 year anniversary of Christopher Columbus’ voyage, and is often referred to as the “World Columbia Exposition”. Two cities fought for the fair – New York and Chicago. A New York reporter wrote with disdain that the people of Chicago were so full of hot air promises that it was a “windy city” – and this phrase, originally meant as an insult, is used to describe Chicago even today.
It took 40,000 skilled laborers to construct over 200 buildings. Because they were made of white plaster, and in the Beaux Arts style (as examples, picture Grand Central Station in New York, or the Boston Public Library), the nickname of the assemblage of buildings was “White City”. Many say that they inspired author L. Frank Baum in his imagining of the Emerald City in the “Wizard of Oz”. When completed, 65,000 exhibits were spread over 600 aces. Visitors could marvel at Eli Whitney’s cotton gin in Machinery Hall, or gaze at the Monster Cheese Wheel in the Canada building
Exhibits included everything from Tiffany glass to a California redwood tree. To quench your thirst there was a new invention – carbonated soda. The Fair also featured the debut of many other new consumer products: Cream of Wheat, Shredded Wheat, Aunt Jemima syrup, and Juicy Fruit Gum. From May through October 27 million visitors enjoyed the Fair – about 25% of the entire population of the United States at the time. Because of the enormous size and complexity of the project, it missed the exact 400 year anniversary mark by one year.
About The Artist:
Susie Q. Shaw
Maybe my art will inspire,
maybe my art will promote
awareness, and maybe it will
represent a feeling so when you
look at my work you feel
understood.....Zouljah Art is customized art for personal
and business space.
I am a self-taught Visual Artist and Gallery Curator raised in Brockton, Mass. Since the early age of 7, I’ve used art as motivation & a way to get my feelings out. My grandparents always provided drawing supplies and provided me with lessons to master my techniques. In 2010 I decided to take my talent and make it into a business as well as a way to give back to my community. I decided to brand my art with the name “Zouljah Art by Q”. The word Zouljah stems from the Arabic word Zawja (wife) and the slang spelling of Soldier. My earlier art series portrayed women in different emotions and feelings.
After my grandfather passed I came to the realization that everyone in their life should take the time to give back as he did. So I held a fundraising event “We Will Paint” at the youth YMCA. The supplies helped me instruct art workshops for children experiencing homelessness at the Family Center in Brockton. It allowed them to keep the supplies so that they could express their feelings as I was able to do when I was small. Since then I have held workshops such as “Paint & Pour to Wellness” with cohost Letitia Richards of www.PeaceofFood.com. I have also visited charter schools in Boston and produced art shows and promotional events to promote my brand. I have had the pleasure of curating & hosting events for Brockton Arts for the past two years.
Susie Q. Shaw, artist
Susan B. Anthony
Susan Brownell Anthony was born February 15th, 1820 in Adams, Massachusetts, to a large Quaker family. She was the second of eight children. Susan’s parents always nurtured her confidence, supported her goals and did not impose gender-based restrictions on her, which would be key in her successful fight for the abolition of slavery and gender equality. Susan attended a Quaker school in Pennsylvania, and taught school for fifteen years at Canajoharie Academy. Anthony was an abolitionist, a leader in the temperance and women’s rights movements, a labor activist and an educational reformer -- fighting for eight-hour work days and co-ed education.
Anthony’s family was heavily involved in activism, mainly in the fight to end slavery. Through their tireless work in the abolitionist movement, Anthony’s parents embedded the belief in her to fight for what you think is right, which is what she did the rest of her life.
Through Anthony’s abolitionist work she met Frederick Douglass while he attended weekly Sunday activism meetings at the Anthony’s home in Rochester, New York. Anthony and Douglass often conversed and strategized regarding the abolitionist movement and women’s rights. Susan was an engineer in the Underground Railroad. She became a member of the American Anti-Slavery Society in 1856 (at age 36), working to end slavery until the end of the Civil War in 1865.
Susan B. Anthony also became heavily involved in the Temperance Movement, which sought to make alcohol possession and consumption illegal in the United States. She became the co-founder of the Women's New York State Temperance Society in 1852. Through her work in temperance, Anthony saw the desolate state women and their children suffered when husbands and fathers became alcoholics.
Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, a longtime friend and colleague, founded the Women's National Loyal League in 1863 and the American Equal Rights Association in 1866. Both organizations supported equal rights, citizenship and voting rights for all disenfranchised populations. In 1868 they founded The Revolution, a newspaper mainly focused on the suffrage movement and the fight for women’s rights. The paper’s motto read: “Principle, Not Policy: Justice, Not Favors. Men, their rights and nothing more; Women, their rights and nothing less.”
Susan B. Anthony died March 13th, 1906, at the age of 86 in Rochester, New York. After Anthony's death, a phrase from her last suffrage speech, "Failure is Impossible," became the motto of young suffragists. Women finally obtained the right to vote nineteen years after her death through the Susan B. Anthony Amendment (19th amendment) in 1920.
According to the Susan B. Anthony Center for Women’s Leadership at the University of Rochester: “Anthony was described as the "Napoleon" of the suffragist movement. Hers was the organizational and tactical genius. She displayed her skill by appearing before every Congress between 1869 and 1906 on behalf of women's suffrage.”
“The vote was indeed close, only one more than the required two-thirds. One congressman left the deathbed of his suffragist wife to cast his vote and then returned to her funeral. Two congressmen came from hospitals to cast affirmative votes. Tennessee was the thirty-sixth state to ratify the amendment. On August 26, 1920, final passage was achieved. Times had changed.”
In honor of Anthony’s legacy, two different postage stamps were issued in 1936 and in 1955, and her home in Rochester, NY was declared a National Historical Landmark in 1965. In 1979, the U.S. Treasury Department placed Susan B. Anthony’s image on dollar coins. This was the first time a woman was honored in such way.
- Lee G. Farrow, Stonehill College, with research assistant Maria Lopez
Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglass
When 300 women gathered in Seneca Falls, New York in July of 1848 for the very first women’s rights convention, Frederick Douglass was one of only 40 men to attend. The “Declaration of Sentiments” drawn up at that convention contained eleven resolutions, and the ninth stated it was a women’s duty to secure the right to vote.
In an editorial published that same year, 1848, in The North Star, he wrote, ". . . in respect to political rights . . . there can be no reason in the world for denying to woman the elective franchise.” Although his support for women’s rights was steadfast, in 1869 he publicly disagreed with Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony. They called for the right to vote regardless of race AND sex. The 15th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, ratified in 1870- gave black men the right to vote.
In April of 1888 he recalled his attendance forty years earlier at the convention in Seneca Falls, and his speech given in Washington, DC included these words in support of women, rather than men, as the primary spokespersons for the movement:
“The women who have thus far carried on this agitation have already embodied and illustrated Theodore Parker’s three grades of human greatness. The first is greatness in executive and administrative ability; second, greatness in the ability to organize; and, thirdly, in the ability to discover truth. Wherever these three elements of power are combined in any movement, there is a reasonable ground to believe in its final success; and these elements of power have been manifest in the women who have had the movement in hand from the beginning.”
On February 20, 1895, as a regularly enrolled member of the National Women’s Suffrage Association, he joined suffragette leaders at Metzerott Hall in Washington DC where the Women’s National Council held its triennial. Mr. Douglass passed away unexpectedly that very evening at his home in Anacostia
The 19th Amendment, giving women the right to vote, was not ratified until 1920.
This likeness of Daniel O'Connell, inspired by the work of Scottish painter Sir David Wilkie circa 1838, was also created by local artist Jean-Claude Sainte, above.
Daniel O’Connell was born on August 6th, 1775 in Chirciveen Country Kerry, Ireland. He was mentored by a wealthy uncle who funded an education for him at the prestigious St. Omar School in France. While in France he experienced the French Revolution firsthand, which left an indelible stain on O’Connell’s mind: an abhorrence of violence.
O’Connell studied law in Dublin and was admitted to the Irish Bar in 1798. He was able to establish a law practice, and later became immersed in Irish politics. He founded the Catholic Association in 1823 with the goal of Catholic emancipation. O’Connell’s long term goals included the repeal of The Act of Union, to establish an Irish parliament, as well as to allow voters a secret ballot. His foundation quickly raised money and gathered followers. The Clare election of 1828 marked a turning point in Irish history. With the support from contributions, the clergy, and the previously passive and disenfranchised peasants, Daniel O’Connell was able to secure a seat in the British House of Commons. This was a remarkable feat because he was the first Catholic (in recent history) to hold this position. According to one scholar of Irish history, O’Connell was “active in the campaigns for parliamentary, legal, and prison reform, electoral reform and the secret ballot, free trade, the abolition of slavery and Jewish emancipation…”
In 1841, Daniel O'Connell became the first Roman Catholic Lord Mayor of Dublin since the reign of James II in the 1680s.
O’Connell’s work continued to repeal the Act of Union, and he was able to attract massive crowds: so large that the government became alarmed and stepped in. The government outlawed these large meetings, sometimes referred to as “Monster Meetings” and accused O’Connell of conspiracy. He was fined and jailed. It was around this time when O’Connell received the lasting title of “The Liberator”. Just as the people of Ireland were confident that O’Connell would usher in desired changes, the devastating Irish Potato Famine of 1847 put a halt to O’Connell’s political action. People were quite literally starving to death, so food, not political reform, became the main priority. O’Connell attempted to seek aid from England, but the services provided did not make a significant relief impact. Unfortunately Daniel O’Connell’s plans for The Repeal Movement were not successful.
O’Connell died in 1847 in Genoa, Italy, on his way to Rome during a pilgrimage. According to his wishes, his heart was buried in Rome at the chapel of the Irish College at Sant’Agata dei Goti, and his body was buried under a round tower in Glasnevin Cemetery, Dublin.
One of his legacies to all of us was his advocacy of global human rights. His position of radical abolition and equal rights for blacks was bold, and not a popular viewpoint at the time.
Dr. Christine Kinealy, Director of the Ireland’s Great Hunger Institute at Quinnipiac University and a Director of the Frederick Douglass/Daniel O’Connell Project, writes: “Daniel O’Connell and Ireland were to become a major influence on the fugitive slave’s (Douglass) subsequent political development, and in his transformation from an abolitionist to a human rights activist. O’Connell’s internationalist view on human suffering was to have a profound impact on Douglass’s own political development.”
- Willie A. Wilson, Jr. of the Brockton Historical Society with research assistant Nicholas Dunham
The O'Connell-Douglass Connection
Much like Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. later in history, O’Connell mobilized a population in Ireland that was previously passive. O’Connell used a collaboration of the churches, called the “Catholic Association”, to raise not only money, but also one unified voice for the poorest of the poor.
In September of 1845 Frederick Douglass, during a two year lecture tour of Ireland and England, appeared next to O’Connell at a Dublin rally attended by more than a thousand people. Douglass later wrote: “O’Connell’s eloquence came down upon the vast assembly like a summer thunder-shower upon a dusty road.”
In his comments about his trip to Ireland, Douglass drew an important distinction between poverty and slavery. He said, “The Irish man is poor, but he is not a slave. He may be in rags, but he is not a slave. He is still the master of his body.”
O’Connell knew the fight for human rights was a global one: “I am the friend of liberty in every clime, class and colour. My sympathy is not confined to the limits of my own green island; my spirit walks abroad on sea and land, and wherever there is oppression, I hate the oppressor.”
In 2011, President Barack Obama, who has written about the influence of Douglass on his own thinking, commented on the O’Connell-Douglass connection:
“For his part, Douglass drew inspiration from the Irishman’s courage and intelligence, ultimately modeling his own struggle for justice on O’Connell’s belief that change could be achieved peacefully through rule of law . . . the two men shared a universal desire for freedom – one that cannot be contained by language or culture or even the span of an ocean.”
As we understand more about Daniel O’Connell, his connection to Frederick Douglass, and both of their legacies, we understand that as citizens of the world today, human rights are our collective business.
Valley To Mountaintop: Fear No Evil
Gabriel I. Pittman, artist
The Stride Toward Freedom, Together Project
In 2015, The City of Brockton and the Frederick Douglass Neighborhood Association (FDNA) partnered to apply for a grant from Mass Humanities to host a Community Conversation and then create a “Stride Toward Freedom” pathway of informational panels in this community garden. With the funding from Mass Humanities, and with generous donations from local charitable foundations and friends, the project was completed in the fall of 2015. The garden land is privately owned, but on loan to the FDNA to be maintained as a pocket park and place of respite, reflection, and beauty in the city. The garden is cared for by a group of loving and dedicated FDNA volunteers.
Our project name is taken from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s 1958 book about the Montgomery bus boycott. It is meant to convey the scope and continuum of the work and sacrifices required to ensure justice and equal rights for all. Along that continuum, we honor iconic fighters for equal rights including Frederick Douglass, who was a speaker at our Liberty Tree in Brockton in the early 1840s.
Many chapters in Mr. Douglass’ life connect to Brockton’s population today: his work as a ship caulker alongside Cape Verdeans, his support of equal rights for the Irish, his association with Susan B. Anthony and her fight for women’s suffrage; his service as Minister to Haiti. A panel of scholars and students researched those connections and hosted a Community Conversation at the Brockton War Memorial Building in September 2015 to explore the approach to the social contract of heroes such as Toussaint Louverture of Haiti, Daniel O’Connell of Ireland, Amilcar Cabral of Cape Verde and Susan B. Anthony of the United States. This public discussion inspired the text and original art work created by local artists for the panels you see in the garden today.
The ultimate goals of the garden’s pathway are to inspire residents - especially our young adults and our new immigrants - to know more about the history and diversity of their city, to understand how our heroes have provided us with the gift of common ground, and to encourage all Brocktonians to become active participants in our civic process.
About Gabriel I. Pittman and Do-Right Ministries
Gabriel I. Pittman is incarcerated at State Corrections Institute at Mahanoy, in Frackville, PA. He is 40 years old and has been incarcerated for 18 years.
Gabriel grew up in North Carolina, where he was educated and excelled not only academically, but also in sports, on the debate team, in music and on the oratory team. Gabriel earned an academic scholarship to A&T University in Greensboro, NC, where he aspired to become an engineer. After completing one full year of college, Gabriel left school and drifted away from his family. He replaced his structured and healthy life with unstructured and unhealthy activities. Those unstructured activities led to a life plagued with bad choices and wrong decisions.
In prison, Gabriel began writing poetry, short stories and public policy commentaries. He also began painting visual art that told human interest stories, grounded in periods of American history. Gabriel is the co-founder of Do-Right Ministries: a social mission that promotes a public discourse about mass incarceration and the need to see the humanity in the least of these through the original art that inmates produce. Do-Right Ministries demonstrates inmate’s redemptive, healing, forgiveness and atonement journey through their original mixed art media.
About the Art
The subject art is entitled: VALLEY-TO-MOUNTAINTOP: fear no evil. It symbolizes Dr. Martin Luther Kings’ life work: a life well lived, a job well done. Dr. King is looking out over the universe from his mountaintop experience, in spirit form, above the valleys of the shadow of death. The cross represents the cross of salvation. The nine stones represent the recent human massacre of the Charleston Mother Emanuel 9. Dr. King’s eyes portray a “majestic empathy” for what he knew and experienced when he fought for freedom and justice during his time, and what he knows now in the spirit realm as he witnesses injustices continued, while welcoming the Charleston Mother Emanuel 9. In spite of the struggle, his “majestic stare” suggests to the reader: fight on, in spite of obstacles; work on, alienate no one; unleash your energy of fortitude for justice and equality; forgive but don’t forget. Forge ahead to the finish line…FEAR NO EVIL!!!