AN HONOR FOR ME TO JOIN THE DAYTONA BEACH-VOLUSIA COUNTY NAACP AS THE KEYNOTE SPEAKER FOR THEIR INAUGURAL EMANCIPATION PROCLAMATION DAY COMMEMORATION. Thank you again, NAACP President Cynthia Slater.
FROM THE DAYTONA TIMES...
Civil rights activist Rodney Hurst fired up the crowd with his speech on history and racism.
The Daytona Beach-Volusia County NAACP hosted “An Emancipation Day in Florida 2022 Celebration” at the Museum of Arts & Sciences on May 21.
The event honored eight individuals and organizations as frontline heroes for their work in the local community during the pandemic. They were presented by Daisy Grimes, executive board member of the Daytona Beach-Volusia County NAACP.
“We thought it was important to recognize these heroes who were on the frontline and worked tirelessly from the offset of the pandemic. This is just a few,” said NAACP President Cynthia Slater.
Honorees included Halifax Health, Volusia County Health Department, Islamic Center of Daytona Beach, Kim-Brown Crawford, City of Daytona Beach, County of Volusia, Rev. Victor Miles and The Mind of Christ Ministries, and the Daytona Beach Black Clergy Alliance.
“I am honored to be here on behalf of Halifax Health. We have here employees from all over Halifax Health. Through the pandemic, our doors never closed. We were always there. The hospital stayed open. We were there in the trenches. We still had to serve patients,” said Sharon James, an RN for Halifax Health.
Islamic Center of Daytona Beach President Mohammad Mounir Khabazeh stated, “This is a great honor. Truth is, it was the work of everyone in the community, a collective effort. We want to thank everyone involved in fighting the pandemic .”
“The challenges didn’t stop with the pandemic. The biggest challenge was financial challenges that people in the community faced. We were able to help with vaccines, food drives, etc.,’’ he added.
Author, historian and civil rights activist Rodney Hurst was the keynote speaker. Hurst gave a brief but blunt and fiery speech on history, Black history and racism.
“Talking about racism is uncomfortable. Racism represents a cultural clash in this country. American history is incomplete, dishonest and racist. American history is romanticized. We regurgitate that history every generation,” expressed Hurst.
“White people don’t like to be told how they have taken advantage of Black folk for social, political and economic gain since the founding of this country. Black folk don’t like to talk about how they were taken advantage of by those means.”
Hurst also addressed laws being made to prohibit race and history in education and other parts of society as well as critical race theory (CRT) itself.
“White folks don’t want to talk about how their ancestors held our ancestors in slavery to make their ancestors extremely wealthy. We don’t want our feelings hurt. We don’t want to be uncomfortable learning the truth about slavery. Now we pass laws that say don’t tell the truth. It’s racist,” Hurst said.
“What white elected officials call critical race theory is nothing but the truth. Most of them don’t know what critical race theory is. They don’t know how it was used in the legal profession.”
Hurst also says the contributions of Black folks to America can’t be ignored.
He stated, “Africans didn’t just pick cotton and tobacco. Many who came to this country were artisans and craftsman. They built homes, buildings, bridges, roads, irrigation systems, inventions, entire cities and more.”
Civil rights activists say the fight continues. Slater emphasized, “The NAACP is the only organization that tries to put ourselves out of business. We fight to stop racism, bigotry and racial injustice. We want equality and justice. Until that happens, we will continue to fight.”
Emancipation Day in Florida was May 20. It commemorates May 20, 1865 when slaves in Florida learned of their freedom after hearing the reading of the Emancipation Proclamation at the Knox building in Tallahassee.
Emancipation Day and Juneteenth are celebrated as the end of slavery across the nation.
“Some people say that we are celebrating the Emancipation Proclamation. We can’t talk about emancipation without talking about how we got to it. We are not celebrating you releasing us from slavery. We are commemorating it as an historic event,” said Hurst.
Sponsors included the City of Daytona Beach, Halifax Health, Brown & Brown Insurance, Volusia County, Medallion Health Care, Daytona Beach Police Department and Volusia County Sheriff ’s Office and others.
Rodney. L. Hurst, Sr.