Get involved!

Published 9:37 am Tuesday, February 25, 2014

WINDSOR – It’s about involvement.

The Bertie County African-American Caucus of the North Carolina Democratic Party wants to get the county’s citizens engaged in local government, schools & education, and the business community, just to name a few.

That’s why they’ve scheduled a yet-to-be determined date in April for a “State of the County” address to be delivered by the Caucus and hopefully members of local government (the county’s Board of Commissioners), and the Board of Education.

“It’s called ‘Taking Action: Partnering for a Better Bertie’,” said Caucus president Patricia Ferguson, in a presentation before the Board of Commissioners at their second monthly meeting. “We want to build partnerships across the county, to take a public stand on issues relevant to the community, and to communicate public policy and issues.”

Ferguson went on to say she and her group are working toward a “State of the County” address, which they hope to deliver in a coming together meeting of those who wish to be involved, with the address to be delivered by the Caucus, local government leaders and educators.

“This is why we’re excited tonight about being here and joining and supporting the work that you do,” Ferguson went on to state before the board. “(It’s) an opportunity to provide a platform for public discourse by laying out before the public transparently the issues we face as a county and a roadmap to intersect with greater opportunity and potential in the days, weeks, and years ahead.”

To reach the Caucus’ goal, Ferguson says they desire to invite local, state, and national leaders, non-profits, community-based organizations, churches, student leaders, 4-H, Girls and Boys Clubs, public, private, charter, virtual and home-school leaders to attend the address.

“The caucus has a motto that they will be adopted at our next meeting, and that motto reads: ‘Hope Re-Fires Dreams’,” she added. “We believe that the State of the County address is the first step of many that will serve as a tipping point to rekindling hope that re-fires dreams.”

Board chair Wallace Perry said he had met with Ferguson earlier and said he felt the “State of the County” address was a good idea and Commissioner Ronald “Ron” Wesson agreed.

“We need to showcase not only the needs of Bertie County, but also the opportunities that are here,” Wesson said. “It’s one thing to talk about what we don’t have and our unmet needs, but we also have a lot of bright opportunity here.”

Wesson said during the board’s January retreat they discussed ways to give more awareness to the opportunities available in Bertie County.

Ferguson went on to underscore through her own former tenure as an elected local government official the challenges that government faces.

“I can remember times where there were so many things on the table of things to do,” she related, “and the community never knew about so many of them because we have to prioritize what we do according the resources that we have; and a lot of times our resources fell short of our vision.”

Ferguson said the partners would all challenge each other to make the dreams of the county come true.

“Rather than keeping these private amongst ourselves, because all of us have limited resources and now they know.” Ferguson said.

Ferguson said while no date or location has been set, she’s hopeful of the idea bearing future fruit.

“I’m hopeful this will be an annual event, so that next year when we stand up to speak we can point to the Department of Commerce, or to Public Instruction, or the Arts and Recreation Grants Board and say to them that we had these needs and we presented them and this is what they did for us. So I think it’s a great opportunity to engage everyone in this process and watch the county heightened in a way we’ve never seen before with your leadership moving us all forward,” Ferguson concluded.

Commissioner Rick Harrell made a motion that the board support the idea, and it was seconded by Wesson.

In addressing the chairman, Harrell said, “(Let’s) support this endeavor and provide a leadership role according to your guidance in any way that we can.”

The motion carried unanimously.