Speakers stress the challenges ahead

Speakers stress the challenges ahead
January 05
08:30 2017

Photo by Todd Luck



Ministers warned of “trouble” with President-elect Donald Trump in 2017 during the emancipation service held at Emmanuel Baptist Church on Monday, Jan. 2.

The service is used by local politicians to reflect on the year ahead.

The service, held at a different church each year, celebrates President Abraham Lincoln’s signing of the Emancipation Proclamation, which freed slaves in the rebelling Southern states. Normally the local Emancipation Association holds the service on Jan. 1, when Lincoln signed the proclamation, but it was held on Jan. 2 since New Year’s Day fell on a Sunday.

N.C. Sen. Paul Lowe said that the General Assembly faces court-ordered redistricting and still needs to repeal HB 2, which companies are boycotting the state over because they believe it’s discriminatory. State Rep. Evelyn Terry encouraged people to mobilize and vote, using the example of the extremely tight governor’s race to illustrate how every vote counts. State Rep. Ed Hanes said some of his fellow lawmakers want to put African-Americans back in bondage by cutting unemployment benefits and infringing on civil rights.

“Please stand with us as we go back to Raleigh to fight for you,” said Hanes

Lowe, Terry and Hanes were all sworn in for their new terms during the service by District Court Judge Denise Hartsfield.

Mayor Allen Joines said that his Poverty Thought Force’s plan to fight poverty in Winston-Salem will be released in a few weeks. One-fifth of all residents in Forsyth County lived in poverty in 2014.

Rev. Dr. Dennis Leach Sr., pastor of Morning Star Missionary Baptist Church and the service’s main speaker, had harsh words for the president-elect.

“In about two weeks, a brilliant, well-qualified black man is leaving the White House to be replaced by a grossly unqualified white man,” he said. “Trouble is coming.”

Leach said that Trump may say he wants to make “America Great Again,”  but many Americans felt the-country was “great” during slavery and segregation.  He said some felt the current mass incarceration of black men made the nation “great.”

Trump’s campaign rhetoric included claims that Mexico was sending rapists and criminals to the United States along with calls for a ban on Muslims entering the country, implementing “stop and frisk” in black communities and rejecting Syrian refugees fleeing ISIS. White nationalists and the Klu Klan Klan celebrated Trump’s victory, even though he denounced their endorsements.

Emmanuel pastor Rev. Dr. John Mendez  said that the country is experiencing a backlash against the social progress that’s been made over the years.

“Freedom is something we must continuously struggle for or we will lose it,” he said.

“We’re under attack not because we’re losing, but because we’re winning.”

Four high school seniors received $1,000 scholarships during the service. Walkertown Senior John Oldham has a 3.5 grade point average (GPA) while participating in varsity soccer, football and wrestling. He’s been accepted at several colleges. He hasn’t decided which to go to yet, but a couple have offered him a soccer scholarship. He plans to either go into coaching or sports medicine. He said he was looking forward to college.

“I’m ready for a change,” said Oldham.

Atkins Senior Brelynn Wray, who has an unweighted 3.5 GPA, has also been accepted by several colleges but is still waiting to hear back from Howard University, where she hopes to attend. She said her own childhood experiences with oral surgery have inspired her to become either an oral surgeon or orthodontist. She’s already received a $1,000 Carson Scholarship and was honored to get one from the Emancipation Association.

“It feels great, like I accomplished something,” said Wray.

Kourtney Netter and Christopher Moore, who weren’t in attendance, were the other scholarship winners.

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Todd Luck

Todd Luck

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