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Family promises to continue late Latasha Wilks’ legacy

By Liz Moomey

SALISBURY — Gathering on the stage at Mount Zion Missionary Baptist Church with faith leaders, Latasha Wilks’ five children announced their plans to continue the work of their mother, who died suddenly last Friday.

Wilks, 45, was actively involved advocating for others, especially children.

“My mom was a very loving, caring, giving person and I want to let the community know that we will keep her legacy going,” said Domanaé Wilks, Latasha’s youngest daughter. “We love her too much to let what she has done go to waste.”

One program is Let’s Lend a Helping Hand, which she founded in 2011. Domanaé and Wilks’ former campaign manager Chariel “Minnette” Dye said they would both ensure it continues to help the county’s youth.

Mount Zion Missionary Baptist Church Pastor Nilous Avery and Salisbury Mayor Al Heggins spoke about Wilks’ community involvement, including the Rowan County Democratic Party, her church’s youth choir, Women for Community Justice, NAACP and Pray Rowan.

“Those who benefitted from it understood the heart that she had,” Avery said. “She was always thinking about her children and somebody else. Right up to that day, that’s what she was doing.”

Sha’keila Tate, who lives in Fayetteville and is also Wilks’ daughter, said she was taken aback with how big of impact her mother had on Rowan County. 

“It really amazes me to see how many lives my mom has impacted,” Tate said. “I had no idea it was this many. My mom really loved everybody, and we love my mom.”

Domanaé, though, said she watched her mom get up every day and work to ensure the community was better.

Heggins said the community has an obligation to Wilks.

“We are going to honor her legacy and because she put so much into this community,” Heggins said. “We have a responsibility to return that now.”

Dye spoke of Wilks running for both Rowan County Commission and Salisbury City Council. She said her job was to motivate Wilks. Instead, she mostly was inspired by Wilks.

“She did whatever she could to make change and she made a name for herself,” Dye said. “Latasha, you did exactly what you set out to do.”

For all that Wilks gave to the community, Heggins said those gathered Tuesday had a duty to show how much they appreciated her efforts.

“As we move through this week and move toward her service, it is just my sincere hope that we honor her in the way she deserves to be honored, because we thank you Latasha for what you did for us,” Heggins said.

At 6 p.m. Saturday at Mount Zion Missionary Baptist Church, the public can come for visitation, remarks and reflections. Services will be 1 p.m. Sunday at Varick Auditorium at Livingstone College.

Avery said the community can provide support for the family in a form of a contribution at Noble and Kelsey Funeral Home.

Contact reporter Liz Moomey at 704-797-4222.



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