Staff Writer Mayah Collins
TARBORO — Seventeen-year-old Shakeal Moore serves as the County Director of the Frederick Douglas Foundation of Edgecombe County. He has been helping with similar organizations since the 5th grade and decided to help with this particular one to better his community. The local chapter had its kick-off event, “The Frederick Douglas Foundation of Edgecombe County Community Forum” noon Saturday in Edgecombe Community College’s McIntyre Auditorium in Tarboro.
“The Frederick Foundation is a foundation of devoted Christians,” said Moore. “What we try to do is educate, enhance and empower the community, and we do this through collaborating with other organizations, elected officials and people that are concerned about their community.”
The purpose of this engagement was to enlighten attendees about ways to get involved with their community. Due to extensive research, Moore unraveled overwhelming truths of his community in Edgecombe County and wanted to share his findings with others. In the end, changing the current state of Edgecombe County through awareness was his biggest concern.
This collaborative effort would involve everyone in the community and especially the citizens, according to Moore.
“Today’s event is supposed to help with community awareness,” said Moore Saturday afternoon. “Many people are not aware with the current state that the county is in or North Carolina, and so this event is supposed to inform them that we have to get up and do something about the state that our community is in. North Carolina is 45th in education and Edgecombe County is one of the most uneducated counties in North Carolina. Basically the premise of the organization is to help with educating the citizens about things like this, and I actually went around and did a survey. Not many people knew that North Carolina was that low in the education rankings.
”The Frederick Douglas Foundation of Edgecombe County hosted guest speakers for their first event, which included Executive Director of Communities in Schools, Sandra Jones, President of The Frederick Douglas Foundation of North Carolina, Kevin Daniels, Sheriff Whitaker of the Edgecombe County Sheriff’s Department, volunteer for The Frederick Douglas Foundation of North Carolina, David Weaver, Judge Carol Allen White (Clerk of Superior Court of Edgecombe County) and more.
Another goal for the organization is to “reach out and help get volunteers, not only for this organization, but for other organizations as well,” said Moore.
With a low turnout of citizens, Moore still wants to make sure that they will benefit in the end. Moore said that the community is unaware of various issues and if they became more aware, they would be more active.
“The inactivity and our own willingness to really become inactive citizens have caused us to suffer greatly. If we go out and ask who our town council members are and who is the mayor, how many people do you think would know that answer?”
Moore continued and said, “If you ask what is the ranking of Edgecombe County or
the percentages ethnicity wise, not many people actually know that. The African American Community is actually the majority in Edgecombe County (57.4 %). Are we really trying to better our community or stay in the same predicament that we are in now?”
Moore, along with Weaver, organized the event. Through the Frederick Douglas
Foundation of Edgecombe County, they want to provoke change in the hearts of the citizens in a positive way. The willingness for citizens to enter a world of community involvement is what Moore is highly passionate about. To him, change means a better day that starts only if one lets it.
“When you see a cause that you’re passionate about, you have to recognize that Mahatma Gandhi said, ‘We are the change which we seek,’ and Biggie Smalls said it even better when he said, ‘You can’t change the world unless you change yourself,” so if you’re passionate about an issue and you really want to change it, you can’t expect anyone else to do it. You have to be willing to step up to the plate and say I’m going to change it and I’m going to better the community.”