BRUCE BRANUM/THE GREENVILLE STANDARD
At the New South Coalition Butler County Chapter Annual Banquet last Saturday, Beatrice Forniss, the guest speaker, gave a stirring and inspirational speech to a crowd of coalition members and elected officials.
She currently works as a Client Liaison for Goodwyn, Mills and Cawood. Before that she was the first black female to serve as the Division Chief of the Community and Economic Development Division at the Department of Economic and Community Affairs for the State of Alabama.
Her message to the crowd was simple.
“I’m from a tiny little place outside of Pritchard called Whistler. I was born extremely poor and raised by loving parents and grandparents.
“I was taught the importance of giving back. My grandmother taught me how important it is to vote. Like most of you I experienced the problems of the 50’s and 60’s and like you I much to our forefathers who fought for freedom.” expressed Forniss.
She added, “The New South Coalition focuses on community organizations, voter registration and education, economic development, cultural awareness, dealing with our youth and leadership, legislation and we are supposed to lift everybody up. It doesn’t matter who it is. It doesn’t matter whether they are democrat or republican, we lift everyone up.
“Get up off the couch and do something. Take pride in where you live. This is your community. You’re called to be good citizens. You’re called to help others and you are called to volunteer.”
She went on to urge the crowd not to wait on others to take the lead. “It is not too late for you to take charge. Don’t be a Monday morning quarterback and say I would have done that differently. Get out a mirror and take a good look at yourself. That is where we must all start.”
“We must set good examples, so that if we are asking someone to donate to our cause, we give them a positive experience”
“We’ve come a mighty long way but we’ve got a whole long way to go. I want all of us to remember to educate our children that we should never forget to vote.
“I want everyone to volunteer. Volunteer and don’t expect to be paid for everything that you do.
“We are here for a reason. It is all part of a purpose driven life,” Forniss added and went on to speak of her loving and vibrant grandmother in her closing remarks. “We were on our knees at night when she would say prayers, and this is what she would pray, ‘Others Lord. Others. Let this my motto be. Help me to live and help others so that I might well be.’”