Community celebrates black history

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The Madisonville NAACP with the Midway RF Riders hosted the Black History awareness program, “Black History 365,” this past Saturday at the Kimbro Center.

The topic for the night was, “the role of the church in the quest for social justice.” They had many guest speakers including Madisonville Mayor Bill Parten, the Texas democratic candidate for Lieutenant Governor Michael Cooper as well as spiritual leaders from the area.

The keynote speaker of the night was Michael Cooper. He gave a passionate speech on the need for citizens to “wake up.” Cooper is a pastor from Beaumont, and believes that the church is an important catalyst for social reform.

Cooper also spoke on the need for everyone to vote in all elections, because we must participate in society if we want change. He encouraged everyone to register, no matter their political affiliation.

A major theme for the night was the idea that we cannot wait for politicians to fix all the social problems in the country. Citizens must unite and work together to overcome issues such as drug use, violence and other criminal activity.

Mayor Parten discussed the need for young people to find faith, the value of hard work and to strive for unity. Many of today’s problems, in his opinion, come from a lack of those values. Another problem he highlighted was a lack of discipline in modern society.

Ray Jordan, the President of the Midway RF Riders, was the host for the night and spoke about the importance of unity to combat our country’s issues.

At the end of the night, the RF Riders and NAACP gave out three scholarships to students that won their essay contests. The RF Riders awarded Cabriea Simpson the Rosie Lee Jordan Memorial Scholarship for $500.

The NAACP gave Kiara Goffney the Sueing Legacy Scholarship for $1,000 before they awarded Christopher Scott the NAACP Scholarship.

Isaiah Salsana was the winner of the 5th grade essay contest and he won a $150 gift certificate.

The RF Riders took a moment to recognize, posthumously, the 2017 Midway Community Service Award to Bennett Lanier Stevens. Jon Steven, his son, accepted the award on his behalf.

Madisonville Police Chief Herbert Gilbert recognized Brady Reid for being the first African-American Policewoman with the Madisonville Police Department.

The crowd was also treated to a performance by the Praise Dancers, a trio of young girls that dance to praise and worship music.

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