2012 NC Hope Truth and Poverty Tour: Hits Home
By Deborah A. Culp
A brisk rainy day in Wilmington, NC did not stop the progress of the NAACP 2012 “Hope, Truth and Poverty Tour” at all. They came by the bus load, on foot and in cars, to Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church, early in the morning – and on a Saturday at that!
North Carolina NAACP president, Dr. William J. Barber II, said that “we are living in strange times but we are still going to put a face on poverty in NC and continue working on solutions.”The tour (bus) departed from Raleigh, NC, complete with an official media kick off made scheduled stops in: Pitt County, Wayne County, Duplin/Sampson County then into one of the most controversial areas of NC, New Hanover County. As they continued on over the bridge to the city of Navassa, located in the county of Brunswick. 2 stops were made. One in Navassa and in Royal Oak, the community of Supply, NC. This leg of the tour was most compelling due to a site visit to see and talk about the 600 acres of land which was intentionally contaminated to prevent usage. Not to mention the organizations quest to block the county landfill, which is literally within yards of minority residences.
Onward to Robeson County and Cumberland County, the “Hope Truth and Poverty Tour” surely made its mark in history at best. Sponsored by the NC NAACP, the UNC Center of Poverty, Work & Opportunity, the NC Justice Center, the Institute for Civic Engagement, and Social Change and the AARP of NC. This impressive and seriously necessary tour visited south eastern counties with some of the poorest, underserved communities in the entire state; if not the South as a whole. While urging elected officials and the business communities to answer the call, emphasis was placed on encouraging families and individuals to step up and speak out on these malfeasants.
After an opening prayer via Reverend/Dr. Barber, 2 soulful renditions from minister & songstress Jerri Holiday of Philippians 3 Ministries (Port City), a strong disclosure by Rev/Dr Barber on the face of poverty in NC, followed by Dr. Gene Nichols of the UNC Center on Poverty, Work & Opportunity. He briefly spoke and then opened the floor for others and one of the most impacting speakers was Ms. Elizabeth Murray, a non Black person. She shared a bit of her past and present life and how living in poverty has devastated her life, but she remains hopeful. Poverty in NC affects all races across the board. Mrs. Ruth Howard Chambers was on hand to offer encouraging words to another heavily impacted speaker it was all very memorable and it is a good thing that this tour was not organized in vain; hopefully with much, more work form everyone – we will start to see things change for the better. If not? “Gear up for the 2013 NC Hope Truth and Poverty Tour!