Letter to the Editor: Criticism of three councilmen unfounded
Friday, September 13, 2019
In response to the ‘City resident lambasting councilmen:’
Having served as a pastor for 15 years before reverting to Islam and also having worked for the City of Rocky Mount and in the Twin Counties in the late 1990s and early 2000s, I offer the following comments:
1. Pastors are messengers to people, not managers of people’s behavior. People are to receive the message and assist pastors in using the messages to implement strategies that change people’s behavior.
2. I personally walked the streets of Rocky Mount with Rev. Joyner and helped him spearhead the effort that turned the dilapidated Basset School into the Basset Center. We also worked on several other initiatives that continue to benefit the Rocky Mount area.
3. One of the areas in which I worked with Reverends Joyner, Knight and Blackwell, along with Dr. Thomas L. Walker, was Hurricane Floyd recovery. We helped more than 15,000 families in the Twin Counties recover.
4. The Douglas Block revitalization is credited to the hard work of Revs. Blackwell and Knight. One of the last projects on which I worked, before taking a job with N.C. DHHS, was the Douglas Block revitalization. Revs. Blackwell and Knight supported the Douglas Block Oral History, that I personally oversaw, as the beginning of what you see on the Douglas Block today. Without their support, the oral history and development that followed would not have happened. Because the oral history was black history there was a lot of resistance in City Hall but they supported it and, under the leadership of my supervisor at the time, Vanessa McCleary, we implemented it and, subsequently, secured federal funding to jump-start the renovation that is there today.
Time does not permit me to list other, objective facts about what these three pastors, and other pastors with whom I personally have worked, have done to improve the quality of life in Rocky Mount. Yes, there are problems and there will continue to be problems until this world is no more. It is easy to point out the problems. The question is why not use the energy expended pointing out problems to assist in developing and implementing strategies to address the problems? The record shows Revs. Blackwell, Joyner and Knight have. What does the record of those attacking them show?
“Strive always to excel in virtue and truth.” — The Prophet Muhammad (SAW)