Group to discuss supporting men of color

Published 12:00 am Thursday, July 28, 2016

By Shavonne Walker

SALISBURY — Organizers of a local grassroots group have planned a meeting to discuss how to support men of color as a response to recent shootings of black men and law enforcement in America.

The event, “For the Love of Men,” will be held Saturday at 1 p.m. at the Rowan Public Library and is organized by members of the Vine Events, a subsidiary of Women’s Fellowship Ministry, an organization that began in Greensboro and was started by local resident Tonya Miller Cross.

The ministry hosts areas events that address social issues impacting the local community. One of its regular events is Peace Circle, which meets once at month at Mean Mug coffee shop. 

“This is an event for women who have fathers, husbands, sons, brothers, and/or nephews of color. We have created a space for our guests to come and speak their truth in relations to the recent death of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile,” said Cross.

She said she saw the impact the series of events that week was having on her husband.

“I questioned how I could be more supportive of him as I simultaneously deal with my own emotions, fears and pain. I figured if I was struggling with finding that balance and strength, surely other women were, too. That’s why I felt it was important to create a safe space for women who have men of color in their lives to not only express those emotions, but find that strength through engaging and learning with others,” she said.

Recently, the Human Praxis Institute held a similar forum at the library targeted to women.

Cross said she’s grateful for the different grassroots efforts occurring to bring attention to “systemic issues.”

Our meeting is different in that our focus is on strengthening relationships on an individual level within family units. We chose to target women because women possess the natural instinct to nurture and the power of influence. We believe that equipping women with tools and resources to pass on to others equates to equipping the community,” she said.

During the meeting there will be a time for lament. Attorney Kristen Thompson, of the Thompson Law Office, will share citizens rights pertaining to interacting with law enforcement.

The event will close with an aromatherapy session led by minister Willette Johnson of Dorsett Chapel United Church of Christ, who will discuss self care.

Contact reporter Shavonne Walker at 704-797-4253.