‘We have come a long way’
by DELANEY WALKER Banner Staff Writer
Mar 10, 2014 | 926 views | 0 0 comments | 15 15 recommendations | email to a friend | print
100 BMC
Contributed photo, DONALD HUMES
100 BLACK MEN OF BRADLEY COUNTY Inc. scholarship recipients, from left, Rashad B. Sharp, Teeona Hall and Donovan Bledsoe stand beside 100 BMBC member Abu Swafford. The money awarded by the club is allowing the three young adults to pursue an education at Lee University, Austin Peay State University and Cleveland State Community College, respectively.
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“We have come a long way, and yet we still have a long way to go,” Bishop Guilford Ronnie Hill said at the 100 Black Men of Bradley County Inc. 2014 Scholarship & Mentoring Banquet Saturday night.

“I want you to focus, and once you’ve checked your focus, you’ll realize there is much to be done,” he added.

His words washed over the seated attendees listening attentively in Lee University’s Deacon Jones Dining Hall.

Supporters of the nonprofit celebrated the work completed in 2013, and even more so, the work completed over the past 20 years.

Hill congratulated the club for its longevity and positive impact it has had on the community.

He pointed out a lot can happen in 20 years.

“I know as you get older it seems like time moves quickly. C’mon, somebody ought to say amen,” Hill said. “Lee University is a Christian community, so you can say amen.”

The crowd responded with enthusiasm as Hill continued. Laughter and murmurs of agreement greeted Hill’s words. He quickly launched into a list of how the world has changed in 20 years.

Twenty years ago, most of the attendees had 20 less pounds and 20 more hairs.

Twenty years ago, men and women only had the idea of a black president.

Twenty years ago, most people could not point out Iran or Iraq on a world map.

“Twenty years ago, the name of the 100 Black Men organization was a new terminology on the lips of most of us in Bradley County,” Hill said. “There have been many changes, and yet it is essential, because this special group of individuals contributes to and impacts our community in an awesome and enormous way.”

Much has changed in 20 years.

However, Hill stated there are still similarities. He explained young people still need to be acknowledged, directed, educated, empowered, encouraged, enlightened, guided and mentored. 100 Black Men of Bradley County Inc. currently works toward meeting the need through its various programs.

Members and the mission of an organization dictate the endeavors’ success.

Hill made three “special points” for both components.

Members must have a commitment to the mission. He said they must love it, endorse it, fulfill it and lift it. There must also be a recognition the mission is greater than an individual.

“It is about what we can do for somebody else. Somebody say amen,” Hill said. “For the Lord has sent individuals your way so that you can enrich their lives.

“You are not here just because it is an accident. You ought to be here because you want to see someone go farther, go higher and do better than any of us have done in our lifetime.”

As his third point for members, Hill said members must never feel the mission has been fully completed. There is always work to be done. Those who feel like they have completed everything are “already in the dark.”

Hill also listed three points for the mission of an organization.

“Number 1, there is a need for relevance,” Hill said. “People must see the organization is answering the needs of its constituents.”

Secondly, an organization focused on the application of the mission will remain on track. He said knowledge and strategy are no good without application.

Added Hill, “You can know a whole lot of stuff, but if you don’t apply anything then it is all wasted.”

As his final point, Hill said the mission must be kept fresh. Members must continuously review the mission to ensure it is being met.

He posed a single question to the crowd, “What do the next 20 years hold?”

The attendees, the general community and organizations like 100 Black Men determine the answer, according to Hill.

“There is still potential in this room. There is potential not only at these tables with these young people, but for all of you there are still some destinies that have to be fulfilled,” Hill said. “There are still some dreams you ought to have that you ought to be working on.”

He issued three charges to 100 Black Men of Bradley County Inc..

n Work to build a generation.

n Work to bind a generation.

n Work to bless somebody.

“If we will do those three things, the next 20 years will be better than the last 20 years,” Hill said. “I want to pray God’s blessings upon you. Hold on, look up, give him recognition and bless somebody, because the Lord is still on the throne.”