WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - A discussion on the history of Wilmington’s African-American community during the Civil Rights Movement and issues facing the black community now is planned for Wed., Jan. 29.
CastleBranch, a company that provides background screening to over two-thirds of the country’s colleges and universities, as well as to thousands of hospitals and employers nationwide, hosted a community discussion and forum at its office at 1844 Sir Tyler Drive in Wilmington.
According to a press release from CastleBranch, the forum was an opportunity to gain insight into the progress individuals and groups are making with fighting systemic racism in the Wilmington, converse candidly with community leaders, and form meaningful connections with fellow attendees.
“America has a difficult history when it comes to race, but just because something is difficult doesn’t mean we should run from it,” said Brett Martin, CEO and co-founder of CastleBranch. “This is our opportunity to come together as a community to address a difficult history head-on, to celebrate the achievements of African Americans in their fight for equality, and to forge a new path where we are united in building a better Wilmington for all.”
Joseph Finley is the other co-founder of CastleBranch and acted as the emcee for the event. He explained that seeing the turnout for the event was inspirational and that “the really great thing is you see black and white together which, the only way the racial divide is healed in our town is if we are working together with the races, it can’t just be well-intentioned white people doing everything, if they’re not talking to our African American neighbors, they’re going to fail every time.”
“African Americans in our town don’t have enough economic or political power to change anything in our town so we have to work together but the great thing is that if we do, we truly can change the history and the tide of this town and that’s the thing that really gets me excited and motivates me," Finley pointed out.
Cedric Harrison, founder of the nonprofit organization Support the Port, Inc., was one of the guest speakers.
Kenneth Chestnut, Commissioner for the Wilmington Housing Authority and mentor at Williston Middle School through 100 Black Men of America, also spoke at the event.