Education and freedom touted at service

Education and freedom touted at service
January 07
00:00 2015
(pictured above:  Larn Dillard presents awards to Keyla Lewis-Fleming and Elizabeth Wheeler (right))
Scholarship winners Keyla ­Lewis-Fleming, Elizabeth Wheeler, Tya Green, Angelic Edwards, Adrianna Singletary, Gregory Douglas and Brittany Patrick.

Scholarship winners Keyla ­Lewis-Fleming, Elizabeth Wheeler, Tya Green, Angelic Edwards, Adrianna Singletary, Gregory Douglas and Brittany Patrick.

Struggles for freedom – both past and present – were acknowledged Thursday, Jan. 1 during a service at St. John CME Church celebrating the issuance of the Emancipation Proclamation.

The Emancipation Association of Forsyth County holds a morning service every New Year’s Day to mark the day in 1863 when Abraham Lincoln signed the famous war-time proclamation declaring freedom for slaves in the rebelling Southern states. Each year, the service is held at a different church. The more than nine decade-old St. John, located at 350 NW Crawford Place, got the honor this year.

“I do believe our history is too painful to remember, but it’s too



dangerous to forget,” said St. John Pastor Omar Dykes.

Elected officials like City Council Member Denise “D.D.” Adams, whose North Ward includes St. John, offered greetings. Though the service celebrated the Emancipation Proclamation, which was read this year by local attorney Reba Hayes Warren, speakers often focused their remarks on more modern struggles for freedom.

“We know that the struggle continues and that we must keep watch over it to greet a just future, especially for our young people,” said N.C. 71st District Rep. Evelyn Terry

Sen. Earline Parmon

Sen. Earline Parmon

N.C. District 32 Sen. Earline Parmon said that poverty is denying financial freedom to many families and senior citizens and freedom to heath care access is being denied by Republican lawmakers’ refusal to expand Medicaid in North Carolina under the Affordable Care Act. She said changes in voting laws are restricting freedom as well.

“Yes, let us celebrate, but let us remember we have to unite to remain free,” she said.
The N.C. NAACP launched a series of protests – the Moral Monday Movement – at the General Assembly in Raleigh last year to challenge many of the issues Parmon raised. In his keynote address, Dr. Paul Lowe, pastor of Shiloh Baptist Church, said that many of the struggles igniting protests today are all too familiar.

“When we look at what’s going on in our world, we find out in this place and this country, we’re coming face-to-face with issues and traumas and fights we have fought before,” he said. “It’s almost like we’re starting all over again.”

Lowe’s sermon emphasized perseverance and civil responsibility.


Rev. Paul Lowe speaks.

“Today, we have the responsibility of pressing on,” said Lowe, a longtime local Democratic Party volunteer and organizer. “The thing about freedom that a lot of people forget is that freedom always means responsibility. Freedom doesn’t mean you get to sit down on Election Day. Freedom doesn’t mean you don’t have the responsibility of going out organizing, trying to get folks to participate, in making your own community better.”

As is tradition, the service ended with the presentation of scholarships to high school seniors.

Keyla Lewis-Fleming and Elizabeth Wheeler received the Emancipation Association’s top scholarships for $1,000 each. Wheeler attends North Forsyth High School and plans to major in elementary education at Winston-Salem State University. Lewis-Fleming attends Winston-Salem Preparatory Academy, where she participates in cheerleading, tennis, prom committee and is the senior class president. She’s also a part of the YMCA Black Achievers and Winston-Salem Youth Council. She plans to attend N.C. Central to study nursing.

“I think it’s a blessing,” she said of the scholarship. “It’s a good thing to give back to the community.”
Other students received $500 scholarships. They are Gregory Douglas, Angelic Edwards, Tya Green, Brittany Patrick and Adrianna Singletary. During the service an offering was taken to be used to help the association present scholarships at next year’s service. More than $2,000 was collected.

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Todd Luck

Todd Luck

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