Growing up as a kid in the late 50’s on a sharecropping farm in North Carolina, Thanksgiving Day was not a big thing because I worked in the field to gather corn to take to the mill. The weather was cold but one had to do what one had to do as part of the family. I now give thanks for that experience as I sit in the comfort of a home with all of the luxuries of our modern society.
One thing that has remained constant is being a part of a loving Christian family. My mother and father were Christians as were my in-laws who believed in sharing what little they had with others who they thought had less. My parents fought hard to get food and health care services for seniors in Jones County and Cheryl’s mother fought hard for educational opportunities in Head Start Programs and her father created a business that provided jobs in Los Angeles. They taught Cheryl and I how government should work to the benefit of others especially those who cannot fend for themselves.
This is one of the reasons I am so thankful this year because Cheryl will have the opportunity to carry on that family tradition of service to others as a state legislator in Sacramento. I said when she announced her candidacy that she was not running to get a job but to help create jobs for others and that has not changed. I thank God for her and I give Him all the credit for her victory. We laid out the strategy but He delivered many financial givers that we did and many we did not know along the way with an army of volunteers.
This campaign reminded me of the time when we were members of Delmann Heights Four Square Gospel Church and we wanted to expand the church building but had no money. We had only a few members that had jobs while the other members were on some type of government assistance. I remember telling then-pastor Rev. William Dillard that this was not an undertaking we should embark on. It was not until Sister Susie Walker, the mother of the church, convinced me that with God on your side nothing is impossible.
We received the approval of the Four Square Church administration in Los Angeles and they delivered the material to our site. And like a rain cloud coming up, many people came up from the poor neighborhoods of Delmann Heights to help build the church. People I saw as poor old drunks became journey carpenters, electricians, plumbers, and dry wallers looking for something to do, giving freely of their time, skills, and talents. Many mothers in the neighborhood looking for something to do came out to prepare food and serve the workers never asking for a dime.
God was waiting on us to trust in and on Him to build the building, just like He was waiting on Cheryl to step out on faith.
Let me give you an example of what Cheryl’s campaign faced: We faced the son of a sitting incumbent congressman with name recognition; we faced insufficient funding as compared to our opponent; we faced many who did not believe she could win and told her so before and after June.
In June Cheryl came in second with 13.16% less votes than her opponent, and Walter Hawkins, Corey Jackson and myself knew she needed between 38,726 and 44,500 votes to win the general election. By November, God gave Cheryl 50,899 votes and a 12.16% win over her opponent by a 11,161-vote margin.
As in Delmann Heights, God sent a full-time volunteer campaign manager by the name of Sebastian Ridley-Thomas from the Legislative Black Caucus and a host of unsolicited volunteers from Los Angeles and Sacramento. He sent outside funds to support her bid to represent the people of this great district. He also sent volunteers from every city in the district and throughout the Inland Empire.
This is just one of many stories of our personal experiences that make me know that when God gives you something to do, you must step out on faith in order to receive his blessing. Even the night before the election God delivered our newest grandchild Carter Wilson safely into the world, three weeks early. And even though he momentarily stopped breathing and had to remain in the neonatal unit, God allowed him to join the rest of his family at home before the end of that week. You must know that regardless of the weapons of odds, fear and doubt that is formed against you, with the Lord on your side you will never lose.
Have a blessed Thanksgiving from all of us at the Black Voice News.