By Randy Singleton
Community Affairs Correspondent
The 900 Men Strong organization, sponsored by the W.H. Gray Men’s Ministry of Second Calvary Baptist Church, held its 12th annual scholarship & community service awards breakfast on Saturday (April 15) at the Chesapeake Conference Center. The keynote speaker was CNN and MSNBC political analyst Dr. Michael Eric Dyson, who is also a college professor at Vanderbilt University, author, ordained minister, and radio host. Dr. Dyson acknowledged a host of local, state and national elected officials. Dr. Dyson briefly discussed the headlines made by the Tennessee 3 and how the actions of the state legislature elevated the Tennessee 3 to world-wide status.
Dr. Dyson discussed the relationship that African-Americans have with the cops. Dr. Dyson commented, “Black people don’t hate the cops. We hate being mistreated by the cops. We call the cops more than anybody else.” Dr. Dyson generated a few laughs from the audience when he quipped, “Some folks think that the 2nd Amendment is the Second Commandment.” He also discussed the recent banning of books in public school libraries by some members of the GOP. Dr. Dyson commented, “They ban books because they don’t want you to know what they have done to you.” He closed by telling the audience that “We have to celebrate, embrace, and lift up these young Black people.” W.H. Gray Community Service Award Honorees included Rev. Robert A. Goodrum, Carlos Rojas, Dr. Diron T. Ford, and Joseph McDaniel.
900 Men Strong Scholarship Honorees were Joshua Streat, Keenan Hurdle, Loic Nignan, Dallas Slaughter, Ameer Ali, Josiah Gregory, Kristopher Goodman, and Gabriel McClendon.