NEW YEAR’S DAY: Community continues to push the envelope to unite amidst diversity

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Entrepreneur and civic leader William “Bill” Mays, legislator William “Bill” Crawford, and popular radio host and journalist Amos Brown.

This New Year’s Day, Christ Missionary Baptist Church will host its annual Emancipation Day Celeb-ration, themed “Three Wise Men,” dedicated primarily to the memory of entrepreneur and civic leader William “Bill” Mays, legislator William “Bill” Crawford, and popular radio host and journalist Amos Brown; three popular community leaders who passed away within the last year. All three had a major impact on growth in the African American community in particular and the city at large. The event will be held on Friday, January 1, 2016 beginning at 10:00 a.m. at Christ Mission-ary Baptist Church, 1001 Eugene Street, Indianapolis, IN.

“This community blossomed from the seeds they planted,” said Dr. Melvin B. Girton, Sr., Pastor-emeritus of Christ Missionary and main organizer of the Indianapolis Emancipation Day Celebration. “Bill Mays, Bill Crawford, and Amos Brown were not only good role models for men, they also helped inspire many women in our community to aim high for success,” Girton, Sr. said.

Special guest speaker for this years’ service is Nuri Muhammad, a community activist and the Minister of Muhammad Mosque #74 in Indianapolis. The community understands that Christian ministers usually speak at Emancipation Day services and that this is a unique approach. Additionally, in continuing the efforts of the #EnoughIsEnough campaign, the faith community remains committed to reaching beyond the boundaries of division that hinder community progress in an effort to meaningfully address issues that impact the city of Indianapolis at large. Disparities in education, high unemployment, re-entry, and a spiking homicide rate require us to let go of our “separatist ideologies” and come together for a greater cause and ultimately a more impactful outcome.

Beginning at 10 a.m. guests will be able to enjoy praise music, a refreshing discussion about solutions to community issues and a special message from an electrifying guest speaker that will give the service an ecumenical and unifying focus, sending a strong message to the community that now is the time for everyone to join forces to achieve the community improvements we collectively seek.

Other participating ministers, according to Girton, include Bishop Donald Golder of Temple of Praise Assembly, Dr. Philip Karl James of Mt. Zion Baptist Church and Rev. Curtis Vance of St. Luke Missionary Baptist Church, and CMBC Senior Pastor, Rev. John E. Girton, Jr. (aka Pastor G).

Indianapolis has hosted its Emancipation Day Celebration since 1944 and has hosted a variety of guests over the years such as Rev. Jesse Jackson, Rev. Ralph Abernathy and Congressman Andre Carson. Organizers say it is important to also remember that the Emancipation Day service is intended to help attendees remember the achievements of African-Americans since the end of the Civil War and discuss how the community can grow from those accomplishments as it steps into the future.

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