"We Owe It to Our Parents & Grandparents"--Chaz Beasley
"The struggle isn't over, and we owe it to our parents and grandparents to continue to work to end discrimination and pursue equality." That was the message from Chaz Beasley, NC state representative from Charlotte, who spoke at the Gaston County NAACP's annual Freedom Fund Banquet Saturday night in Gastonia.
Beasley told the gathering at the Gastonia Conference Center "every one of us drove here tonight on roads we did not build. We owe it to those who made it possible for us to have what we have today to continue the struggle." Beasley, who will be 32 later this month, was the valedictorian of his graduating class at Newton-Conover High School, got his bachelor's degree from Harvard and his law degree from Georgetown.
"My great-grandmother worked at the Holly Farms chicken processing plant, cleaned houses, and did whatever else she had to do to raise her children and grandchildren. My mother worked hard to see that I got opportunities she never had. All of us enjoy the benefits of those who went before us; we owe it to them to continue the struggle for justice and opportunity."
Beasley warned against complacency and cautioned those who are easily discouraged. "You plant your garden, you cut out the weeds, and at times it seems the harvest will never come...but it does. For those who wait patiently and continue to work, it does."
Beasley said the days of separate water fountains for different races and having to give up seats on buses may be over, but today's racial inequalities are more subtle, and some would like to turn back the clock and do away with changes that have already been made. "We must keep moving forward to avoid slipping back," he said.
Chris Thomason, president of the Gaston County unit, spoke briefly encouraging those present to become active members of the NAACP. "Not just card-carrying members, but active members," Thomason said. He had just returned from the NC NAACP Convention where Rev. Dr. William Barber had made his final address as president of the state NAACP. Bishop Barber says he'll continue to be involved in the activities of the organization and civil rights efforts, but had announced months ago that he was stepping down at the end of the year.
Written by Wayne Howard, Lincoln Herald. Original article at http://lincolnherald.net/main.asp?SectionID=3&SubSectionID=28&ArticleID=23591.