CHARLESTON, W.Va. — On the last day of Black History Month the state celebrated diversity at the state Culture Center.
Rev. Francis Shearin served as the guest speaker for the event. She said the month of February is an important time not just for the black community but all people.
“We are reminded through reflections, memories and memorials of the heroes and heroines of the past, the present and the future.”
Shearin is an outreach/aftercare abuse specialist at Prestera Mental Health Services in Charleston and associate pastor at Metropolitan Baptist Church.
She recalled growing up in Washington, D.C., in the era of segregation, and how important family was back then. She told the crowd that family bond is missing in most homes today
“When I hear Hillary Clinton talk about it takes a village to raise a child, I have to ask the question, where is the village today? Our children are raising themselves,” she said.
Shearin was one of more than a half million who took part in the1963 March on Washington when she was 19. It was a defining moment in her life.
“I can remember the pulse of the people in all that crowd and all that heat. They were exuberant with joy and praise on their lips,” she recalled.
She said listening to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. made an impact on her life and so did the crowd around her.
“The mall looked to me like a salad bowl, just like it looks today,” she pointed out at the crowd. “All different races, colors, creeds, religions.”
Shearin said times have changed since 1963 but there are still hurdles to climb when it comes to diversity and acceptance.