Commentary: Sometimes, you have to fight

Rev. Paul Roberson

Commentary: Sometimes, you have to fight
July 26
12:00 2018

By Rev. Paul Roberson

“Sometimes, you have to fight.” That was the theme of a recent sermon by Bishop Todd Fulton, reminding us that that there are moments when the most holy and righteous thing to do is confront the enemy and pray for God’s favor. It is a lesson that our representative leaders need to learn.

The recent decision by the Forsyth County Election Board to approve a plan for Early Voting sites that excludes the Anderson Center at WSSU [Winston-Salem State University] was an outrageous betrayal of the interests of marginalized communities.

For weeks, I joined students and community leaders requesting a WSSU site for East Winston voters. The objections to it were hollow but unsurprising, as efforts to suppress the votes of black and brown people, students, and the working poor are commonplace.

And yet, the two appointees representing the Democratic Party – an organization professing to be concerned with the interests of the aforementioned constituencies – would not muster the courage to unite and oppose any plan that excluded WSSU. Some will argue that defeat on this front was inevitable; that if the county board did not to agree to a plan, then the State Election Board would have voted WSSU down, anyway.

But sometimes you have to take a stand, and advocate vigorously for what is right regardless of what the ultimate outcome may be. We need to demand that members of the Election Board be selected directly by voters, so that they can be held accountable for this type of capitulation.

It is also time to hold our elected School Board accountable, too. The mold at the Ashley School is poisoning our children and teachers, and the recent cancer-related death of a former employee raises serious concerns that conditions there may actually contribute to people dying. The School Board would never let this continue if the students and staff affected were affluent and white.

While they find every excuse imaginable to not build another Ashley School NOW, our community should make it clear that if you won’t take responsibility for our kids and our teachers, then you do not need to be in authority over them.

Scripture teaches, “to whom much is given, much is required.” It’s time to take back what was given to them. Sometimes you have to fight.

Rev. Paul Robeson Ford is senior pastor of First Baptist Church on Highland Avenue in Winston-Salem.

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