The Anson County Democratic Party’s 9th Annual Blue and White Gala was held on Sept. 30 at 6 p.m., with the theme: Tomorrow’s Victory Begins with me.
Vancine Sturdivant, Anson County Democratic Party chair and commissioner, started the Gala off with an introduction of the master and mistress of ceremony, Rodeney Reid and Priscilla Little.
“You all are a brillant and beautiful group,” Sturdivant said.
Commissioner Ross Streater welcomed everyone to the celebration, and a moment of silence was held for deceased members of the Democratic Party: Doris B. Smith, Rufus Getzen, Marshall Little and Curtis McNair. Sturdivant presented their families with a plaque to thank them for their dedicated service to the party.
Evangelist Tangula Diggs gave the invocation. Walter Rogers, past chairman of the North Carolina Leadership Caucus, led everyone in the Pledge of Allegiance.
“Vancine gives so much to everyone,” said Terry Helms, who led the national anthem with his wife. “Let’s give affirmation to her.”
The keynote speaker for the Gala was Gene Nichol, a law professor at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.
Nichol was director of the UNC Poverty Center (2008-2015), until it was closed by the Board of Governors for publishing articles critical of the governor and General Assembly, according to his page on the UNC Law faculty website. Since 2015, his research has been supported by the North Carolina Poverty Research Fund.
“As we said the pledge of allegiance, we concluded with ‘with liberty and justice for all’ — and we meant it,” he said
“I am honored to be with my favorite kind of Democrats: committed, engaged, outraged Democrats,” Nichol said. “Those who are in it for the long haul; those who are willing to fight just a little bit, maybe a lot; those who believe that the Democratic Party was meant to be a powerful force for hope and progress, and not just a weaker, paler, softer, more confused version of our Republican adversary.”
Before he got into his keynote address, Nichol said, “Now I know this is odd, but I’m asked by my superiors to say, that I do not speak tonight for UNC.”
Nichol said that the Civil Rights Center at UNC was closed down this past week.
“When it comes to North Carolina’s shameful war on poor people, people of color, the LGBT community, education, the judiciary, municipalities, and the environment, the leadership of the UNC is coldly, mindlessly, dizzily neutral,” Nichol said. “I’m not, so I am glad to talk to you a little bit.”
Nichol posed the question, who speaks for North Carolina? He then spoke of people in governmental authority — including Republican Sens. Richard Burr and Thom Tillis and Rep. Robert Pittenger — using their own words against them.
Nichol said that he could not go on without mentioning the “childish, psychotic, narcissistic, supremely uninformed, and loathesome man in the White House.”
John Adams wrote a prayer his first night in the White House, Nichol said, which President Franklin D. Roosevelt had carved on the fireplace of the State Dining Room: “I pray Heaven to bestow the best of Blessings on this House and on all that shall hereafter inhabit it. May none but honest and wise Men ever rule under this roof.”
“Apparently, not all prayers are answered,” Nichol said.
The professor also Nichol summed up a recent court ruling regarding redistricting, saying that an election at this late date would raise unacceptable burdens to voter participation. The court did not require an emergency election, because an emergency election would not provide the contest needed “to return to the people of North Carolina their sovereignty,” he said.
Nichol said that the pursuit of justice, and the pursuit of happiness can be as one — yhey march not in opposite directions, but hand in hand.
“We are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like water,” Nichol said.
Sturdivant also honored 10 women and eight men who have helped her.