African-Americans honored for achievements

Submitted to Dorchester Banner/Susan M. Bautz
Darrence Slacum’s Gospel Mime Ministry praises God and teaches His word with dance interpretations and facial gestures. Traditional mimes, who speak without verbal communication, wear whiteface and white gloves. With a painted face, music and dance, the communication is dramatic and engaging.

HURLOCK — A boisterous, hopeful, optimistic event, the 10th Annual Black List Awards was all those things and more this year. The Rev. Charles Cephas, pastor of Hurlock’s Full Gospel Church and founding member of the town’s Ministers and Citizens group, welcomed the crowd on Feb. 28 and invited them to “Make yourselves at home. There are a lot of heroes here tonight and I’m so glad to be a part of it.”
Following the Rev. George Ames’ opening prayer, Maryland State Delegate Johnny Mautz said, “The delegation (including Delegates Sheree Sample-Hughes and Christopher Adams and State Sen. Addie Eckardt) wanted to share our love and blessings to you for all the support that you give us.”

State Sen. Addie Eckardt explained, “This is a time to recognize extraordinary achievements. But it’s not what we’ve done but what God has done for us.” She noted the dedication of “two special statues in the House chamber” in a reference to African-American icons Harriet Tubman and Frederick Douglass. “Things are happening that we never thought would happen.”
Sen. Eckardt and Delegate Mautz presented the Black List Award to honorees for their outstanding contributions to the community including: Dr. Emma D. Pinkett; Brandy R. James; Douglas Cephas; Ms. Felita G. Friend; Commissioner Garland Hayward; Rick Price; Eugene Camper, Sr.; Rev. Dr. Berkley Dickerson (Calinda, wife); Ranger Angela Crenshawn (accepted by Mary Dennard-Turner); Tindley Parker; and North Dorchester High School basketball star Jaheim Copper.

In his keynote speaker introduction of the Rev. Dr. Charles Pinkett, Sr., the Rev. Ames said, “What is important is how you live for God and how you live for your fellow man.”

After a humorous warm-up, the speaker promised “not to be too long.” And he wasn’t. His speech was brief but his message settled over the room and in the hearts of the attendees long after it was over.

He said, “God has been good to all of us. I am convinced that when God raises you or takes you to a new height then it is imperative that he shows you not to forget where it comes from.” With that statement, the speaker enumerated the theme of the evening: “We’ve come a long way, but the struggle continues.”

“When things are going well we tend to get puffed up, conceited, and self-serving like we did it all by ourselves.” He noted that everyone has struggled along the way and some are still struggling. “A lot of us will leave this evening being the same old ‘us’ that came this evening.”

During the evening, the group honored community leaders and Black History month but, he added, some things are still the same; the stains of segregation and of the Jim Crow era that many endured during their lifetimes. He assured the audience that his message was for “all of us.”

There are lessons to learn and memories that fill the church. There is suffering for whites and blacks, he said, but still hope in the community, in the church and in God.

The Rev. Dr. Pinkett emphasized unity in the church and in the community as the only way to overcome past ills and unite with God. There is hope. No one’s hands are entirely clean despite racism being in many aspects of the 21st century.

The speaker said passionately that the African-American community has not always been true to Dr. (Martin Luther) King’s vision. “On this day of all days each of us carries the responsibility for change in our hearts and change in our minds,” he said.

He told listeners that scapegoating and blaming others has to stop because, “we can no longer afford the lies or fears.” He issued a challenge to continue to hope, stand for change, and do what is right: What will you do to make a difference in our community, he asked. “Put God first and everything will fall in place,” he said.