by Nicola Karesh

A fashion show will be part of this year’s Faces of Freedom showcase. (Courtesy photo)

When negative things happen in life, if you look close enough, you will usually find something of value. It could be buried deep in there but keep looking. Maybe there’s another perspective or way to view the situation. Maybe there is a valuable life lesson to be learned. Perhaps there is a harmful pattern that can show you something. Nobody can say that the pandemic has not brought loss, tragedies and suffering for people. I have it within my own family. Talk to enough people and you will find common ground with good and bad.

One of the opportunities that presented itself withCOVID-19 was to interact with community in a whole different way. The black history tours for example that Morning Glory Inspirations does are available for smaller groups. Just call (contact information is below) and we will work on the perfect day and time for your family or community group. To answer a question from this week, yes, we are stroller friendly!

Speaking of opportunities that present a new way of operating, this year will be the 8th annual “Faces Of Freedom” showcase. Having a large gathering to do this in person still doesn’t feel like a good idea, so it was either go ahead with something online or pass for this year. We chose the former. I would like to take the time to thank Transylvania Community Arts Council for hosting our event for the past seven years. That was such a treat for the artists who participated, for me and for the community. Thank you to Tammy Hopkins who was at the helm for our first five years, followed by Cindy Rehm for the last two years. You gave us a home, and we are thankful.

This year, we are enjoying a new adventure. Our focus is film, art, of course, and fashion. Gloria Williamson and Sherry Edington have been working hard behind the scenes to gift you with a fabulous fashion show. Afrocentric attire to be stylishly presented by 11 members of our community. Thank you to Wanda Foster, Pamela Holder, Gwen Jones, Laura Kilgore, William Mills, Maison Minton, Sheila Mooney, Janice Norman, JJ Stanton, Nichelle Stanton and Tommy Williamson for doing the honors. For art, we have Lauryn Mills-Bohannon. If you remember, I did a feature last year in The Transylvania Times on that amazing 17-year-old. We are blessed to have her talent on display for our even. Her artwork will speak for itself.

For film, Victor Foster and I have also been working independently and together sometimes within the Rosenwald community to produce a few “film” productions for you to preview during Faces Of Freedom. Vic is definitely the professional in the group. With community work, though, I have found myself in the position of needing to capture pictures, audio recordings and videos, editing even, to add to writing. Definitely with lots of projects lately, I would agree with Victor and many of our participants that we have stretched, learned, shared and grown together. Two of the film clips feature our alumni from Brevard Rosenwald School. The other video is a project called “32 Seconds” that we started a few years back, having youth and adults contemplate time and their choices. Nature as a backdrop made it special. Timely, with his recent retirement, I am thankful that my son and I were able to interview former Police Chief Phil Harris. He shares his valuable perspective on mass shootings and gun violence, what it means to be in community, in service and to be kind. The event will be streamed, thanks to one of our co-sponsors, the Unitarian Universalists of Transylvania County. The event may be viewed online on Saturday, Feb. 12, at 3 p.m. You can access the link from several places: UUTC’s Facebook page or YouTube channel ( ) and lastly look for the Faces Of Freedom 2022 event on Facebook. Our other co-sponsors for this event are: Morning Glory Inspirations (including The African American Storyline and The Peace Tree Garden Projects,) Rise & Shine Freedom School and Vic’s Photography.

Starting this week and running for the entire month of February, Mary C. Jenkins Community Center is once again proud to announce its 2nd annual Poetry Contest. This is open to all ages, young and old, with the requirement being that you are local. Whether or not you yourself are black, your unique poem must relate to the experience of African Americans. The poster should be in schools by now. It is definitely up on the MCJCC Facebook page with all of the details. For more information, you can reach out to me directly. Last year, we had wonderful participation. It was heartwarming to read all 75 poetry entries and to later stand on the community center property to hear the winning poems read by the authors. For those of you who are considering writing a poem, and for others who haven’t quite made that decision yet, don’t overthink it. Check in with your heart, your experience with life, feelings about what you may have endured firsthand, what you may have witnessed or even learned about. Imagine that you are going to have a conversation with someone and simply share what is real for you. Your experience and your words are powerful. You never know whose life is out there just waiting to be touched by you.{/span}

Newsworthy items for submission for Rosenwald Community News are welcomed from community members, churches, clubs and groups. If you have an idea for a story or interview for me to capture, please let me know.

Contact Nicola Karesh at or call (828) 421-8615.