Conference reaching out to community

Published 6:50 pm Friday, May 30, 2014

A Christian civil rights organization under new leadership is gearing up for several programs that will reach the community, involving an array of issues facing Beaufort County.

Claudia Stokes, who was sworn in as the president of the Beaufort County Chapter of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference in September 2013, said the organization is heading in a different direction than that of years past.

“We have always been here for folks when there is trouble and things like that they cannot handle,” Stokes said. “What we want to do is to be a positive outreach in the community so, that when there is trouble or something is not right, that our voice will be heard and we want to come together as a whole within the community.”

The SCLC in Beaufort County maintains a Christian guidance to aid in improving religious, economic, educational and cultural conditions in the community, Stokes said. Members also strive towards greater understanding of all efforts for interracial development and good will, as well as developing Christian leadership in the nation to work with national, state and local agencies. Through development of Christian fellowship, the organization works with these entities to promote unity, harmony, understanding and equal opportunity for all people, regardless of sex, race, color or creed, Stokes said.

The nonprofit organization has a new headquarters at 328 North Market St. in Washington. Regular meetings will be held every first Saturday of each month from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., beginning on June 7, Stokes said. It is also currently accepting applications and donations for its scholarship program.

Stokes said the SCLC would like to be able to give more scholarships to Beaufort County students. A board within the organization will examine test scores, extracurricular activities and future plans through personal essays written by applicants.

The organization is also working to form internal committees that will assess the needs of those in the community, Stokes said. These committees will tackle topics including faith and ministry, education, media, substance abuse, domestic violence and senior citizen issues, to name a few. Members plan to hold public forums to promote voter registration, voter education and other civic participation.

On their list of upcoming events is a Talent Extravaganza in September at the Temple of Jesus Christ Family Life Center and it is currently collecting winter-wear through Aug. 31, Stokes said. The SCLC is also accepting new and used coats, hats, gloves and scarves of all sizes and will issue the clothing.

“We will set a date where we will open up the doors and distribute the clothing throughout the community to those in need,” Stokes said.

To donate or for more information, call Claudia Stokes at 252-702-8337.