Emancipation Day attendees in Augusta called to 'action, not apathy'

Monday, Jan. 2, 2012 3:12 PM
Last updated 8:37 PM
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Remembering is not enough.

That was the message that brought the room to its feet at Tabernacle Baptist Church on Monday, rousing those gathered for the annual Emancipation Day Celebration.

The Rev. Da’Henri R. Thurmond of St. Paul C.M.E. Church in Savannah, Ga., the keynote speaker, called for “action, not apathy” to address society’s ills, especially the chronic problems of poverty and crime, which continue to plague the black community.

The event is a major fundraiser for the Augusta Lincoln League, which uses the proceeds to provide scholarships to local college students. The organization provided about 30 such scholarships in 2011, according to its president, the Rev. Larry Fryer.

Sunday marked the 149th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, President Abraham Lincoln’s executive order that freed slaves in Confederate-held territories on Jan. 1, 1863.

Thurmond said the proclamation was an “important milestone in pursuit of liberty and justice for all people,” which should be remembered and commemorated by every passing generation.

“My brothers and sisters and I were required to attend this event every New Year’s Day,” said Thurmond, an Augusta native, who recalled that as a child, he wasn’t always eager to participate.

Today, however, he was glad his parents made him attend the annual commemoration, where he heard many inspiring speakers address the moral, social and political concerns of the day.

But memorializing an event that happened almost 150 years ago is a waste of time if the community doesn’t reflect and take action, he said. “God is not blind and God is not deaf, but what about us?”

Drawing upon the biblical story of Moses, Thurmond compared Moses being called by a God to lead the Israelites out of bondage in Egypt to those in the congregation, whom he said were being called to make a difference in the lives of the less fortunate.

“The pharaohs of this world will never let the people go voluntarily,” he said. “God is calling us to move, to act, to do something.”

The Augusta Lincoln League also named its 2012 Citizen of the Year at Monday’s event, honoring Augusta Commissioner Bill Lockett.

“I’ve always wanted to help others,” a tearful Lockett said. “But I never anticipated this.”

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willie7 01/02/12 - 07:57 pm
What has Lockett done to be

What has Lockett done to be worthy of an award?
Ans: Kept a lot of mess going in the commissioners' meetings

Craig Spinks
Craig Spinks 01/02/12 - 08:26 pm
(W)illie7, How does the AC


How does the AC Kool-Aid taste?

Asitisinaug 01/03/12 - 04:19 am
Any group that helps our

Any group that helps our youth further their educations is great in my opinion. The only way for our youth to achieve success is through education and our local public school system is failing miserably. Our local youth deserve far better from their parents and from their school system. We MUST do everything we can to ensure the youth of today are properly educated and that they learn basic skills to include discipline self-responsibility and accountability for ones actions.

Fundamental_Arminian 01/03/12 - 10:21 am
"The Rev. Da’Henri R.

"The Rev. Da’Henri R. Thurmond of St. Paul C.M.E. Church in Savannah, Ga., the keynote speaker, called for “action, not apathy” to address society’s ills, especially the chronic problems of poverty and crime, which continue to plague the black community" (article).

While education can improve people's opportunity to escape poverty and become prosperous, it doesn't necessarily deter crime. I've long been concerned that the music and Rap stars popular among black youth are a bad influence in that they glamorize immorality, drugs, and crime.

King David said God "brought me up out of the pit of destruction, out of the miry clay, and He set my feet upon a rock making my footsteps firm. He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God" (Psalm 40:2-3 New American Standard Bible). The black community definitely needs some new songs--songs that encourage parents, teachers, and students alike to love God and their neighbors properly.

The discipline, self-responsibility, and accountability that Asitisinaug says must be worked for can be achieved only with a completely new outlook on what is important. Bad music and bad role models, regardless how talented they are, must be avoided because of the evil they promote. We mustn't underestimate how much we can be affected by what we meditate on.

eb97 01/03/12 - 12:27 pm
We do have a strong leader in

We do have a strong leader in Mr. Lockett. He is a true giver to others and wants to ensure we the taxpayers get our moneys worth. Go Mr. Lockett and continue being a good leader and set the right example for our youth. Congratulations.

Asitisinaug 01/04/12 - 12:26 am
FA, you do bring about some

FA, you do bring about some very good points.

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