HICKORY – When he ran for President of the North Carolina NAACP, T. Anthony Spearman declared “I’m woke and I aint skerd!” Spearman, who served as a member of the Hickory Public Schools board from 2011 until 2014, believes that courage is the foundation to acts of civil disobedience and has been involved in community activism for the past 46 years. As a former campus minister, he rallied college students together over a number of just causes. He was among the Greensboro Pulpit Forum members who advocated for KMart employees in Greensboro in 1995-96, and he marched with Smithfield Workers in order to improve their working conditions.
Currently serving as pastor at St. Phillip African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church in Greensboro, President of the North Carolina NAACP, and President of the North Carolina Council of Churches, Rev. Spearman will speak at the Human Rights Day celebration in Hickory on Sunday, December 10 (2:30 – 4:00 pm) at First United Methodist Church in Hickory (311 3rd Ave NE, behind the Salt Block). The event is free and open to the public, and both secular and religious groups are invited to attend.
The annual celebration is hosted by the Catawba Valley Interfaith Council (CVIC) and commemorates the day in 1948 on which the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights following World War II. Last year CVIC hosted Renée Fink, a holocaust survivor from Holland who was sent into hiding from the Nazis, at the Episcopal Church of the Ascension in Hickory. As they have done the last three years now, CVIC will also ask the Hickory City Council to issue a proclamation recognizing Human Rights Day and the need to defend human rights for everyone.
Rev. Spearman has been a constant participant with the Historic Thousands on Jones Street Peoples’ Assembly Coalition over the past ten years and is recognized as a staunch advocate for the LGBTQ community (a consultant with Faith in Action and Equality NC). He was one of 25 plaintiffs who fought hard against the School Opportunities Program or Voucher Lawsuit and was one of the first organizational plaintiffs in the Voter Suppression Lawsuit against Governor McCrory and the State of NC. He was one of the first seventeen persons arrested during the Forward Together Moral Monday Movement.
CVIC is a local not-for-profit organization of faith-based and secular communities in the Catawba Valley serving as a catalyst for hope and cooperating for the purpose of dialogue, information sharing, and celebration. This is the third year in a row they are hosting a Human Rights Day celebration in Hickory, and representatives of the group will be available at the event to accept membership applications from individuals or civic groups who are interested in participating in interfaith dialogue and cooperation in the Catawba Valley.