by Nicola Karesh

In celebration of Black History Month, which just ended, are four of Sherry Edington’s great grandchildren, Malachi, Elijah, Dejaia and Rose, who got dressed up for the occasion. (Courtesy photo)

The deadline for Mary C. Jenkins Community Center’s annual Poetry Contest has been extended through Saturday, March 12. We discovered that teachers and students at Transylvania County Schools had not gotten the information about the contest until last week. Please share this revised date with friends, family and community groups that you belong to. The contest is not just for youth, but also for you adults out there. The purpose of the contest is to celebrate Black History Month and Brevard’s progress to re-establish the community center in the historic Rosenwald area. Next year, you can guarantee that when we gather again to hear the winning poets reading their original work, the building will be complete and the center’s doors will be wide open to welcome you in.

Whether we realise it or not, we do have an affect on each other. Our influence can be positive or negative, so be mindful of what you choose to put out there in the world. Sometimes without much deliberateness or awareness it can feel like we’re throwing the dice and life will reflect how the dice fell. At times we effect change and we don’t even know it. This month, I was privy to conversations that popped up spontaneously on social media after February’s Faces Of Freedom event. It was like the loveliest breath of fresh air.

A community member, not of African descent, who preferred to remain anonymous shared that she felt inspired to search more about African heritage: “It’s great that we are becoming aware of our own identity and can be proud of it and still appreciate our differences. Colonisation of the world by the European powers needs to be taught in our school curriculum. We need to dismantle the ideology of ‘white supremacy,’ a political, social, even cultural construct to oppress and control the minorities by the powerful and the small elites. If we only understand that, we, the people, will have a better community to live in for us and our children.”

What followed, among other things, was a neat exchange about the outfits worn by our male and female models during the fashion show. Transylvania resident Liz Peryam loved the fabrics, patterns, colours of the prints and enquired if the prints were batik. Sherry Edington was wonderful with enlightening and educating us all with her knowledgeable response: “None of them are batik. The fabrics that were modeled were mud cloth, Kente cloth, Ankara wax, Vlisco wax, embroidered African seersucker and metallic African fabric.”

This information was so unfamiliar to me that I did my own research to find corresponding pictures and to make sure that I got the spellings correct.

In other news, Janice Fritts Green shared a life update since our last interview with her a couple of years ago: “They contend I’m like George Jefferson. I done moved on up!” Janice is thankful for the support of her husband of 12 years. “We have a good place to live,” she said. “I thank God for my husband being there for me. He is always there to help me. Some days when I want to fall, he picks me up. I love him from the bottom of my heart. I remember when my father passed away, my husband was right there with me. I thank God too for my mother for also being there with me. We were there for each other.”

At one point in her life reportedly weighing approximately 990 pounds, she announced: “Now I’m down to 314 pounds, after losing another 175 pounds. I’m doing good. Staying busy. I’m babysitting and I’m walking every day.” Her recent visit to the doctor was met with a thumbs up. “The doctor said I was doing good,” she said. “I walk three miles a day. I’m still crocheting, writing poetry and going to church every Sunday. I’m in the women’s ministry at St. John Nation Baptist church and I thank God for bringing me this far. He has brought me a mighty long ways and I want to thank him. If I didn’t have the Lord on my side when I weighed 990 pounds, I don’t know where I’ll be today. But God has been good to me.”

Like Janice, be good to yourself. Celebrate your wins. Be thankful for the blessings in your life and have the generosity of spirit to share with others. Enjoy your week.

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 at or call (828) 421-8615.