UNION — As part of its celebration of Black History Month a local church’s foundation honored four African-Americans for their service to the community as educators and public officials and also presented $250 awards to two high school seniors.
In a statement released this week, Juanita Giles of the Antioch Outreach Foundation of Antioch AME Church, stated that “February is Black History Month, a time to honor the legacy of African-American achievement, inspire the future among youth, and celebrate the diversity that enriches our community.”
Giles said that as part of Black History Month, the Foundation, during a Saturday, Feb. 17 ceremony in the USC Union Auditorium, “honored some of our own black leaders in Union County who have made an enduring and positive impact. We introduced Union County to contemporary African-Americans whose strength of character lead them to enduring accomplishment. This year’s honorees were given an ‘Award of Appreciation for Outstanding Service to Union County’ in honor of Black History.”
The recipients of the Award of Appreciation were:
• Trudie G. Sanders, Dorothy Rice Gist, and Cleveland Jackson who Giles said were honored as educators.
• Julia DeHart who Giles said was honored as a public official.
The theme of the program was “Honoring The Past — Inspiring The Future” and the keynote speaker was the Rev. Hoyt Bynum Jr. of Born Anew Church in Spartanburg. Giles said that Bynum “inspired us to ‘Catch The Spirit In Unity’ because “we are more powerful when we stand together in unity.”
Giles said the program also featured a performance by Minister Mekesha Watson which “took us back with a song by Mahalia Jackson, ‘Trouble Of The World.’”
Also during the program, Giles said the students of the 21st Century Save the Children Afterschool Program at Foster Park Elementary School read excerpts of Black History.
Dianne V. Sims Award
As part of its efforts to “inspire the future among youth,” the Foundation also awarded two graduating Union County High School seniors with the Dianne V. Sims Award.
“The Antioch Outreach Foundation’s goal is to sponsor several deserving students in their educational goals, and to inspire youth to dream and achieve,” Giles said.
Giles said that the 2017 recipients of the award were UCHS seniors Robert C. Vinson and Darrian M. Jeter, each of whom received $250 from the Foundation.
“We are very grateful for the support of the community,” Giles said. “We could not do this without the generous support of our sponsors who make it possible for us to reach out and serve the community. This has become a family affair that many people in the church community look forward to.”
The Dianne V. Sims Award is named for the late Rev. Dianne V. Sims, a former pastor of Antioch AME Church who Giles said “died in the church’s service.”