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Former CCSD educator speaks at NAACP banquet

by | June 29, 2018 5:00 am

Last Updated: June 27, 2018 at 10:31 am

By Minister Anna
Stevens Bright
by Herman G. Bright

The Colleton County Branch of the NAACP celebrated its 33rd Freedom Fund Banquet on Saturday evening at Colleton County Middle School. Serving as the master of ceremonies for the annual event was County Councilman Phillip Taylor, who also brought greetings on behalf of the council. Taylor is the pastor of Saint Center Ministries in Walterboro.
Robert Mixon, the second vice-president and banquet chairman of the organization, served as the master of ceremonies and thanked the supporters and businesses who help to make this event possible each year. Minister Jeraldo Brown delivered the invocation and the blessing of the meal. Members and guests were welcomed by Minister Anna Stevens Bright, who also sang a medley of Negro spirituals prior to the banquet’s message. The audience sung “Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing,” dubbed in 1919 by the NAACP as the Negro National Anthem because of its power in voicing the cry for liberation and affirmation for African-American people.
Other remarks were given by Walterboro Mayor William T. Young, Walterboro Police Chief Wade Marvin and Colleton County School District Superintendent Dr. Franklin Foster.
The Rev. Gregory Kinsey, second vice-president of the Colleton County Branch, introduced the speaker, Kambrell Houston Garvin, and delivered the benediction. “Defeat Hate — VOTE,” the NAACP’s national theme, was well-addressed in Garvin’s message, “When the Bough Breaks,” receiving a standing ovation at its conclusion.
Garvin is a native of Columbia and is a graduate of the Richland One public schools. In 2013 he earned a bachelor of arts in political science with a minor in African American studies and sociology from Winthrop University; a master of science in education from Johns Hopkins University School of Education in 2016; and is currently enrolled at the University of South Carolina School of Law, where he received the Honorable Matthew J. Perry Scholarship.
Inspired by the example of his grandfather, the Rev. Henry McGill Jr., who broke barriers in the 1970s by becoming the first African American on his local city council, Garvin organized his first voter registration campaign at the age of 10 and worked on his first political campaign at 12. This desire to make a difference in his community led Garvin to serve in a variety of capacities as a member of the NAACP, ranging from president of the Columbia Youth Council (2007-2009) to president for the S.C. Youth and College Division (2009-2011).
While at Winthrop, Kambrell made history as the first democratically-elected student body president in a decade and led efforts from 2001-2013 that registered over 1,000 new student voters leading into the 2012 election cycle, raised concerns about the consequences of the S.C. Voter I.D. Law, and lobbied state lawmakers to make public education a greater priority. Garvin also served as the student representative to the university’s Board of Trustees and was appointed to serve as the sole student on the Search and Selection Committee, which named candidates for the 10th Winthrop University president in 2013.
After college, Kambrell continued his service to South Carolina, joining Teach for America (TFA), a non-profit organization dedicated to building the movement to eliminate educational inequity by engaging recent college graduates and professionals in teaching. He served as a sixth-grade science teacher at Colleton County Middle School in Walterboro for three years and spearheaded the first sixth-grade overnight field trip and science fair and was actively engaged in the school and community.
Currently, Garvin serves as a law clerk at Boykin and Davis, LLC.
He is a member of the 2017 S.C. Black Pages “Top 20 Under 40” class; was featured on the cover of IMARA as “two for the future” (2009); awarded the Richland County Alumni Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc.’s Altruistic Leadership Award (2009); the NAACP’s Medgar Wiley Evers Award (2011); and numerous other recognitions and honors for his commitment and dedication to community and civic engagement.
Garvin is a member of the First Nazareth Baptist Church, Columbia Branch NAACP, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc., S.C. Education Association (2013-2016), and regularly attends the First John Baptist Church with his family.
He is the son of Dr. Sonji Garvin Baxter, Pastor John K. Baxter and Reginald S. Garvin Sr. He is married to his college sweetheart, Monique Patton Garvin, and the couple resides in Northeast Columbia. Garvin ran for House District Seat 77 in the June 12 Primary, and faced a run-off election on June 26.
Excerpts from Garvin’s thought-provoking message are as follows:
“You see, when the bough breaks, we are able to better see and understand the problems that we’re facing because we’re no longer in the darkness, and we must become more determined to find solutions to the complex problems that exist. That’s when we look to our next generations of leaders to continue to serve and figure out how to break boughs of injustice that block the sanitizing power of sunlight from entering into our society.
“So you may ask what can we do to continue to bring about change in our communities and be the bough breakers? What can we do to ensure that the boughs of yesterday’s dark past never re-grow?
“Number one, we must turn out to vote, not just in this presidential election, but also in local and state government elections as well. It’s true, we don’t have permeant friends; we simply have permeant interests. So in essence, support candidates who support your causes.
“Secondly, we can’t become complacent when it comes down to issues of injustice. It might be someone else’s community today, but it could easily be our community tomorrow.
“Thirdly, we must stand up to bigotry wherever it rears its ugly head, no matter if we’re white or black, rich or poor, we each have a responsibility to stand up and proclaim as Dr. King put it, ‘An injustice anywhere, is a threat to justice everywhere.’
“We must have respectful dialogues, and place ourselves into the perspective of others who may be different from us. We each must be determined to be the bough breakers in our communities and wherever we go always ensuring that the power of a brighter future outweighs the darkness of our past.”
After the message, Alphonso Miller gave an appeal for membership and explained why it is necessary for others to join the cause. He also provided music for the evening. Lynette B. Fryar, the branch’s president, acknowledged all special guests, sponsors, and the members, along with special recognitions: Minister Anna Bright for having served as a classroom teacher for 39½ years in Alabama and South Carolina, and for her work in publishing the banquet souvenir booklet; and Johnny Holmes for his outstanding service to veterans.
Other banquet committee members included Lynette Fryar, Ruby Braye Aiken, Audrey Henderson, Deloris Jenkins, Geraldine Stallings, Virley Bowman, Doris Calloway, Thomasina Williams, Antoinette Kinsey, and Rev. Gregory Kinsey.
The mission of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) is to ensure the political, educational, social and economic equality of rights of all persons and to eliminate race-based discrimination. The six NAACP Game Changers address the major areas of inequality facing African Americans that are the focus of the NAACP’s work: economic sustainability, education, health, public safety and criminal justice, voting rights and political representation, and expansion of youth and young adult engagement.

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