Now FINALLY this last week after all these years of calling Michael a freak, pedophile, drug addict and on and on... more eyes of the media and the world are opening to the loving, kind, generous and amazing person Michael Jackson really was. There still are those such as Diane Dimond, Oprah, Joy Behar and Dr. Drew intent on slandering Michael’s name but increasingly people who really knew Michael Jackson are speaking up during this trial with passion, talking about the real man, the real Michael Jackson. Positive press about Michael is music to my ears. There are still many media pundits, coincidentally working the crowd at the court house this day, who brutally bashed Michael during his trial in 2005. A point not lost on myself or others and they have not gained my trust. Now conveniently they are supporting Michael if for nothing more than ratings; however with the truth being spoken by even these media people many are now finally learning the truth about MJ.
Several people I know who are not MJ fans have approached me and asked, “Betty, how did he die? Tell me what is going on. What happened to Michael Jackson?" I am proud they come to me. Their eyes are opening to the atrocity of the world wide bullying that was inflicted upon Michael, how he was tortured by the media and others. In a way I am amazed it has taken them so long to notice or care but then they are sincerely asking me about Michael, this is a very good thing. What they are realizing is the magnitude of lies, slander and bullying that was heaped upon Michael. Suddenly they realize if it can happen to the world's most famous celebrity then maybe it can happen to them. They are identifying with Michael. One by one I share "Michael's Heart" of LOVE, generosity, caring, compassion, genius, musicality, creativity, his deep, deep desire to heal the world, children and the planet. The Michael that the true MJ fans all know and LOVE. They walk away thinking differently with compassion in the hearts for Michael Jackson. Some are moved to tears. Some come back for further discussions. The eyes are opening. People are listening and care...yes even the media. Many, many times I have been to the courthouse throughout the arraignments and never felt the sway in Michael's behalf from the media I felt on Tues. Sept 27th.
It is very hard to keep love in your heart when you are faced with people yelling in your face and bullying you in front of the courthouse. Faced with lies being spread by CM, the defense and the media. Faced with seeing Conrad Murray in person. It is a whole different ball of wax than sitting on FaceBook and posting about "LOVE" or praying as I do on a regular basis. The reality is the emotions well up and take over. I am not at all sorry for anything I have yelled at Conrad Murray or in protests in front of the court house. Yes, to me he IS a "Murderer" and figuratively a "Dead Man Walking." No matter what the outcome of this trial hopefully his life of money, women, greed and selfishness is ‘over’ and deservingly so. Prince, Paris and Blanket will never again have there daddy to hold them and tuck them in at night because of what this man did to their father. I want to see with all my heart that justice is served for Michael. I want the media to know how I feel and how millions of MJ fans feel. I have previously stood in peaceful gatherings for Michael where the media have called us clowns, a circus, crazy, fanatics...etc. Of course inevitably there are always a tiny handful of MJ fans who insist on dressing up in shabby MJ Halloween costumes with strange makeup, some even attempt to sing and dance like Michael in front of the court house. Completely oblivious of how disrespectful and selfish they appear. It is sad because their bizarre behavior inevitably turns the focus on them and away from JUSTICE for Michael and in the end only makes the fans ‘look’ crazy as the media is always eager to paste their pictures front and center. Anything these fans have to say about justice or Michael’s real true character is negated. Every time they make their appearance it makes me wonder what they actually see when they look in the mirror all dressed up. I am certain it has nothing to do with the reality of what is looking back at them. Yet I know they love Michael Jackson with all their hearts.
It was still dark out and the CM supporters continued to come over to me making unbelievable statements about Michael killing himself, that he was a drug addict and most appallingly how much Conrad Murray 'loved' Michael and how Michael loved him, but there were very few words to say to them except several times when they came at me I emphatically expressed, "You need to get out of my face. You need to walk away from me NOW! JUSTICE for Michael Jackson!" Finally they left me alone as more MJ supporters showed up and stood with me in front of them blocking their signs. Two beautiful girls from Norway were the first to stand with me. The CM supporters also attempted to intimidate them telling them to leave. They looked at me wondering what to do as I stood my ground and I encouraged them to do what clearly was already in their hearts saying, "You can stand where ever you want. They can't tell you where to stand. We are here for Michael. Block them." They took position next to me and we stood together. It wasn’t long before increasingly more MJ supporters from all over the world and spanning many generations joined us as the sun rose over Clara Shortridge Courthouse in downtown L.A.
It was a huge relief when the sunflowers showed up and we were able to hand out those brilliant yellow flowers representing LOVE, PEACE, UNITY and JUSTICE for Michael Jackson. One CNN reporter from the long line of cameras across the street came to me and said, "I watched you this morning and couldn't believe what you did. You are very brave. Standing up against all those men alone like that. I just had to come and interview you." I didn't feel brave at all, just adamant, and was very surprised at her comment... I just needed to stand for Michael...with every fiber of my being... I just needed to stand for JUSTICE for Michael Jackson. What more could I give? As she interviewed me I thought, "If only I could have been there for Michael inside that house on the night of June 24, 2009." How many of us have had that thought? If only we could have been there to take care Michael...to keep the monsters away...to keep Murray and those surrounding Michael who had no thought of his well being away. He would still be here. If only MJ's Soldiers of LOVE could have been there...any one of us...with a deep sigh, I gave her an interview. She was not a typical reporter to me, she was a friendly, nice lady about my own age who wanted to hear about why we love Michael so much. That was not a difficult thing to share...ending my interview with these words, “It’s the first day of justice and that’s really exciting, but there’s not going to be any real justice. It won’t bring him back.”
On this day, the first day of the trial of Conrad Murray for the manslaughter of Michael Jackson there were many MJ fan groups and media present. There has been so much fighting in the MJ community and as a result the Call for LOVE FaceBook page and many MJ fan websites have been praying for Peace, Unity and Solidarity for Michael especially for this particular day, praying for a united front of LOVE and support for Michael. The sunflowers were the original idea and vision from Jan Carlson who believed with all her heart Michael wanted this to happen. I too felt this to be true and was the person on the ground representing in whatever way I could to help this vision come to fruition for all these lovely women who do not live near Los Angeles who couldn't be here physically to support justice on this important day. It is always such a blessing and honor when the LORD uses me to help those who can’t be here in L.A. physically but are here in spirit for Michael via letters, signs, banners or flowers. For months I’d been posting my blog entitled “Will You Be There?” and had approached several different groups who had issues and ill feelings toward one another to join the Call for LOVE sunflower movement. It took a lot for me to do this as I too had my own issues and ill feelings which soon completely fell away in approaching each of them. Thankfully the LORD continues to work on me daily.
I stood ready with sunflowers and white roses when the Jackson family arrived; however chaos ensued as they pulled up to the curb. The Sheriff deputy would not allow me to hand the roses to the Jackson women. One group leader hopped out into the street and attempted to walk over to Mrs. Jackson to give her a sunflower but the Sheriff deputies stopped her as well. The Sheriffs did not stop La Toya though who knew about the Call for LOVE Sunflowers and made sure to secure a sunflower when she walked into court and brought it back out with her at the end of the day.
The Lord did not fail to answer our prayers. What I witnessed at the courthouse on Sept. 27th was so beautiful and I so want to believe Michael would have been very proud of his fans this day. The MJ fans stood as one. Many but not all members of groups accepted and held the sunflowers but ALL were offered a sunflower of LOVE for Michael. I would not allow the ill feelings of some to affect my mobilization of the sunflower army. What is more important is that over all every single group put their personal feelings aside joining in LOVE, Solidarity, Unity and JUSTICE for Michael Jackson. There were people who came as sunflower distributors from different groups and FB pages for sheer LOVE and support of Michael Jackson; Robyn Starkand, Rita Bosico, Joanie Clark, April Smith and Linda Henry. The Call for LOVE page and myself are sending out a great Big THANK YOU and hug to each of you. They were a huge blessing as I knew they were eagerly carrying bundles of yellow, petaled LOVE off into the crowd and even to members of the media. Michael Jackson's Soldiers of LOVE were armed with heartfelt signs, arm bands and... sunflowers. It made an amazing statement of LOVE for Michael. The message was conveyed to the world that: “MJ fans STILL LOVE Michael Jackson and always will! We are not going anywhere! We are here to STAND in LOVE, UNITY and JUSTICE for MICHAEL JACKSON!”
One In Session HLN reporter stated that it was truly amazing to watch the stand of solidarity and support from the MJ fans, even in the midst of the CM supporters. He seemed very surprised, and almost disappointed as media usually are, to see that we were all standing in LOVE with no altercations in spite of the high emotional tension. Obviously he didn’t hear the comments earlier in the morning but all in all it was a very peaceful clash of opinions. I heard another reporter for In Session describing the scene of the crowd in front of the courthouse as “... MJ fans are everywhere showing their love for their fallen icon, holding MJ signs, also you see CM supporters and signs, there are media from all over the world, MJ fans from all over the world...” then at the end of her description, "... and then there are the sunflowers... those sunflowers!"
Fans at home watching the proceedings texted and called fans on the outside of the court house with news of what was going inside the courtroom. Our hearts were broken to hear a death bed picture of Michael on a gurney had been seen and tape had been shared. I would later watch the taped proceedings at home on In Session. For me it was too much to hear about on this day. Fans have been researching and studying all that applies to Michael Jackson's death now for over two years and these new details were shocking. My heart was again broken and it felt as if I were reliving the loss of Michael Jackson on June 25th, 2009 all over again.
It was now 11:00 a.m., my mission was complete and I needed to be back at work for the remainder of the day. I took a few sunflowers in hand for a memory of the day, with a deep feeling of accomplishment of our LOVE for Michael I felt a spring in my step as I swiftly walked several city blocks back to my car. I stood at an intersection crosswalk waiting for the light to change when a man about 30 years old asked what the sunflowers were for. I explained about the first day of the trial, that I was a huge MJ fan, how we all stood for Justice at the court house for Michael and the sunflowers from Call for LOVE. He smiled big and shared he was a long time MJ fan too, had many of his CD's, had followed him for years and had seen 'This Is It' three times. He shared how sad it was for him that Michael was gone, especially how he left this world and I could feel his sadness. Then he said would you mind if I had one of your sunflowers. Immediately I said, "Absolutely, here you go" and handed him a sunflower and just like so many of the fans at the courthouse his face lit up as he smiled. We walked together to our cars and talked about Michael as we went, then said our goodbyes with a big smile. There were many fans this day who had traveled many long miles to be at the courthouse to support JUSTICE for Michael. They would be standing off to the side, looking a bit like they didn't quite know what to do, then we would offer them a sunflower and their faces would light up and they would begin to tell us where they were from. Each had a story of love, each had to be there for Michael.
My mission fulfilled, my assignment for this particular day for Michael and Call for LOVE was accomplished. It was an honor to represent and work the front line fighting for JUSTICE and LOVE for the beautiful loving members from Call for LOVE... and most importantly for Michael Jackson who NEVER stopped giving of himself to his fans and the world.
Credit to Bonnie Lamrock of MJ-Upbeat for this amazing picture of Michael praying over the courthouse.
This month will be very difficult as we continue to hear more of the details of Michael’s death. Please everyone keep praying for JUSTICE for Michael, his children and his family and for the truth to be known. God is answering our prayers.
Thank you Robyn Starkand for this beautiful video of the first day and first week of the trial.