Wake Up Winston! block party promotes unity

Wake Up Winston! block party promotes unity
May 03
05:00 2018

A block party brought food, dancing, horseback riding, politicians and famous speakers to East Winston on Saturday, April 28, for the Wake Up Winston! Community Awareness Block Party.

The party was sponsored by Eliza’s Helping Hands and Community Intervention and Educational Services, two organizations founded by Kenya Thornton and located in the Winston Mutual Building. It was co-sponsored by S.G. Atkins Community Development Corporation and Ary Rose Communications.

County Commissioner Fleming El-Amin opened the party, recalling growing up in the East Winston neighborhood around Fifth Street where the celebration took place. He remarked how the people there did so much with so little, like his grandfather, who owned a grocery store and fish market during segregation with only a second grade education. He told attendees they have no excuse not to do better with all the opportunities available now.

El-Amin praised the block party for bringing the community together.

“We need to do more of this,” said Fleming.  “This brings the community together. It drops all the false pretenses that divide us.”

El-Amin, who is a Democrat, was one of many local candidates who used the event as an opportunity to meet voters.

One of the guest speakers was Clarence Henderson, who was a student who participated in the Greensboro Woolworth sit-ins in 1960. He’s now president of the N.C. chapter of the Fredrick Douglass Foundation, a conservative Christian group. He said racism now is nothing compared to the segregation he faced and that too many young people now claim they’re victims.

“All America offers you is an opportunity and you have to have a paradigm shift and understand how to take advantage of that opportunity, “ said Henderson.

He said most African-Americans are with a political party that’s “not representing us.” He referenced racial profiling by police in Ferguson and Boston as happening under the Democrats’ watch.

He attacked Planned Parenthood, for abortion services it provides to African-Americans. The nonprofit has been controversial because it does provide abortions and advocates for abortion rights. However, most of its services involve STD tests, cancer screenings, contraception and women’s health services.

Henderson told attendants that they need to defend the country they live in unless they plan on “moving to another country.”

Public Enemy Co-Founder Professor Griff also gave a long lecture to a capacity crowd inside the Winston Mutual Building focusing on gentrifications that touched on a wide range of other topics.

Other speakers included Yamile McBride of Latinas Finas de las Carolinas, a nonprofit that supports women in the Latino community. Susan Stevens, who lost her daughter, Toria, to an opioid overdose, spoke about her effort to create a new nonprofit called Teal Drops, which will work with those who’ve been through rehab to help them stay off drugs.

“What we have to do is come together as a community because everyone here is my partner because all of you are my neighbors,” said Stevens.

The kid’s corner had children lined up waiting for face painting, balloon animals along with horse rides from Cash Lovell Stables. There was also numerous organizations set up along the street. Atkins CDC was taking comments on the East End Master Plan. Honorable Youth was there promoting its programs designed to economically empower children and their parents as well as its EOG (end of grade) test prep classes. Lead Girls of NC was giving away prizes to draw attention to its programs for girls. The National Institute of Health’s All of Us exhibit was there informing people about the NIH’s effort to recruit 1 million people for medical research. Vendors also included Cardinal Innovations Healthcare, Pay It Forward, Help Our People Eat (HOPE) and many others.

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Todd Luck

Todd Luck

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