Friday, May 30, 2014
To the Editor:
As the principal organizer of last Tuesday’s Community Prayer Vigil, I was disheartened when I read the editorial (Shame on Us).
In the editorial, the writer posed several questions that I will now address.
Why were all of the participants black? They were not, my co-worker who is not African American who lives in Horry County and works for Georgetown County School District stayed over late to attend the 7 p.m. vigil and was there until the end.
Ms. Sheehan the “Editor” of the Georgetown Times, who is not African American, was also in attendance.
Where were the Catholics, Episcopalians, Baptists, Presbyterians, Lutherans, Methodists, and Jews?
I am 100 percent sure that some of those denominations were present, because I personally greeted them.
Why didn’t we see any of these priest and ministers at the vigil?
Again, some of them were there, a Baptist minister and a non-denominational minister both prayed and a holiness minster was also present.
Did they (the race/denominations referred to in your editorial) not receive “Specific Invitations”?
We gave every church and organization the same flyer, there were no as you stated “Specific Invitations” for clergy regardless to race or denomination.
Now allow me to pose a few questions of my own.
Why does the editorial writer assume that race denotes denomination?
Why would you assume that the race/ denominations you mentioned in your editorial deserve or should have a “Specific” invitation?
Why couldn’t the writer see the Baptist, Holiness, Catholic and other denominations that were present?
Why did the writer equate the presence of the Non-African American people in attendance to non-existence?
Why would the writer take the best of intentions of those present and absent to breathe such negative energy into a very positive event?
Those of us who worked to put this event together are grateful for those who attended regardless of their religious denomination or race. Our intentions were to gather hearts, minds and spirits to provoke a higher power for a purpose that does not see race. There were several congregations both predominantly African American and Non-African American who were provided with the information about the vigil and did not attend.
In the editorial it was also written that we “advertised” in the Georgetown Times, insinuating that we had not done much advertising at all.
The flyer was sent to: Southern Coastal Cable, staff members of Georgetown County School District, two radio stations and I personally hand delivered the flyer to members of or to the church offices of several large predominantly Non-African American churches in the city. We used several advertising outlets including, Live 5 News in Charleston who aired two very positive segments about the story on the 11 p.m. news and again on the 6 a.m. news the next day. I am disheartened that I am defending the intentions and actions of both my Church, Bethel AME and my Sorority Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. who Co-sponsored the event.
Because of the editorial, people are now questioning our intentions, inquiring into whether or not we were trying to purposely exclude certain groups of people.
So, there may not have been a large diversity of people in attendance however, again we are very grateful for the people who came and hold no animosity against anyone who did not or could not attend.
Would we have loved to have a larger diversity in attendance? Absolutely!
However, why should that matter when we were operating in the spirit of God and not in the divisiveness of men?
Why is it that we make everything an issue about race?
The very next day after the vigil, the United States deployed 80 troops to neighboring Chad to help with the problem.
There is no energy of shame on myself, any of the other organizers or on any race or denomination of people who did or did not attend.
Shame is not and was not a part of the energy or intention sent out with the organization of this event.
However, it is our intention to keep the energy surrounding this cause positive. To the supporters of this cause, let’s stay focused.
The only shame here is the distraction that this editorial has caused in this city in regards to the worlds’ cry of #Bring Back Our Girls!
With the best of intentions and in the spirit of peace,
Tara M. Jones