Historic Workshop on BLM at Elizabeth Missionary Baptist Church
By Michael Hall
MONROE, NC - Saturday, June 27, 2020 the Rosa Bell Center of Elizabeth Missionary Baptist Church hosted a “I Hear You” Youth and Young Adult forum that was sponsored by the Union County Baptist Ministers Fellowship.
The Fellowship made up of roughly 25 Black Baptist ministers in the county. The event was moderated by Rev Osco Gardin, Jr and activist and community organizer Raygan Hansley.
It appears the recent BLM movement has generated interest in the local community following two public rallies for justice. The forum was organized by Rev. Gardin, local attorney Althea Richardson-Tucker and Kimberly Hansley after being approached by local youth who felt their voices were not being heard.
Due to COVID-19 restrictions mandated by the state, the forum had low attendance, but all in attendance practiced social distancing, wore facemask, and were agreeable to having temperatures taken before entering.
Panelists were, Attorney Vernon Cloud, Attorney Tiffany Wilson, Officer A.J. Wallace of the Union County Sheriff’s Office, Union County Sheriff Eddie Cathey, Monroe Police Officer Monique Pope, Monroe Police Chief Bryan Gilliard, and Dr. Geniece Histo Monde. A Wingate University professor responded well to the youth who had questions.
The local leadership hope this is just the beginning in holding local leaders in positions of authority accountable where systemic racism is practiced. Rev Bishop Gardin went further by saying “I am personally exhausted with the blatant and apparent systemic racism in our county, and it’s past time for the leadership to be brought to task and held accountable, and with the efforts of the youth and young adults in our county; the rubber is about to meet the road”.
The youth and young adults in attendance were not shy about asking questions and voicing their opinions. One young local teacher, Sheena Massey said “I am happy to see the youth involved and speaking their truths; and happy about this forum, and there should always be events like this available to the youth of our community.”