January 16th, 2020, The Marjorie Luke Theater was filled with guest who turned out for its 10th Annual Visions of Hope Black History Month Worship Celebration.
This year the event was presented by Mrs. Candice Pipersburg-Johnson, president, and Mrs. Lillian Pipersburg in honor of her now deceased husband Visions of Hope founder, Phillip Pipersburg a former 1984 Olympian, received a vision from God and established “Visions of Hope” in 2010 to bring the community together in unified worship.
This year’s honorees included: Rev Dr. David N. Moore, Mrs. Agatha Shorter Lewis, Mrs. JoAnne E. Hatcher, Ms. Quienna Broadnax, Gloria Jean Montague, Guy R. Walker, Pastor Charles & 1st Lady Joyce, Linda M. Ryles, Gary LeRoy Harbour, Keith W. Marshall, Ms. Khalilah Camille Durias, Deacon Paul Purter Sr. (MC), Pastor Dennis Hamilton and Jewell Dennis.
Candice and Lillian, welcomed guest of this year’s event who traveled from all over Central and Southern California to get here. All were treated to spiritually uplifting gospel music by Elder Cornelius Florence, Troy Anthony, Joyce Reed and Troy Barner (who did the Negro & National Anthems). Imani Darcus then shared the Association for the Study of African American Life (ASALH). A lively Grace Temple puppet show was beautifully presented by Connie Alexander.
Guest Speaker Rev. Dr. David N. Moore Jr. delivered a compelling sermon/speech tying A Tribute to Black Americans and the Vote.
He shared an iconic rendition of Sojourner Truth’s “Ain’t I a Woman,” then tying it into a discussion of the 15th Amendment and what it meant. Rev. Moore discussed the stain of discrimination in America, and locally and how Black voters have been purged and how this has been a trend for years. Black tax payers as a result of voter suppression have been underrepresented.
Rev. Moore showed how North Carolina and other states have deliberately thwarted the Black Vote as part of the “Southern Strategy” to purge Black votes. Poll taxes were employed in the south in the 21st Century. Last year the GOP admitted to thwarting the Black vote by closing 158 voting places in forty counties with the most African American voters just before the 2016 election. Rev. Moore also noted that Hispanic voters wait 150% longer to vote that White voters, while African Americans wait 200% longer, according to a M.I.T. study. Rev. Moore pointed out that in Florida, the year 2000, then President’s Bush brother Jeb Bush along with Secretary of State Kathrine Harris tossed 20,000 to 90,000 African American voters of the roles, leading to Bush becoming president. More recently, in Ohio, between the 2012 and 2016 election the state purged more than TWO-MILLION voters from its roles, the vast majority were heavily African American and Hispanic counties. Virginia purged 41,637 voters, Indiana 481,235, Georgia591,549.
Republican Secretaries of State across the country are right now removing voters from the role. 17 million have, more than 10% of America’s active voters between 2016-2018. NBC news reporter is suing after getting ahold of purge list.
There are dozens of provable incidents of African American and Hispanic voters being purged from listings. It is essential that African Americans confirm their voting status, and make sure that they vote in the upcoming election more then any other time in modern American History.
The year 2020 marks the centennial of the Nineteenth Amendment and the culmination of the women’s suffrage movement. The year 2020 also marks the sesquicentennial of the Fifteenth Amendment (1870) and the right of Black men to the ballot after the Civil War.
The theme speaks, therefore, to the ongoing struggle on the part of both Black men and Black women for the right to vote. This theme has a rich and long history, which begins at the turn of the nineteenth century, i.e., in the era of the Early Republic, with the states’ passage of laws that democratized the vote for white men while disfranchising free Black men. Thus, even before the Civil War, Black men petitioned their legislatures and the US Congress, seeking to be recognized as voters. Tensions between abolitionists and women’s suffragists first surfaced in the aftermath of the Civil War, while Black disfranchisement laws in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries undermined the guarantees in the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments for the great majority of southern Blacks until the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The important contribution of Black suffragists occurred not only within the larger women’s movement, but within the larger Black voting rights movement. Through voting-rights campaigns and legal suits from the turn of the twentieth century to the mid-1960s, African Americans made their voices heard as to the importance of the vote. Indeed, the fight for Black voting rights continues in the courts today. The theme of the vote should also include the rise of Black elected and appointed officials at the local and national levels, campaigns for equal rights legislation, as well as the role of Blacks in traditional and alternative political parties.