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What hate burns, love rebuilds…

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As we get ready to wave our American flags this weekend, I feel extra proud of our country because of the recent human rights accomplishments we have made with the Supreme Court ruling in support of gay marriage.

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Now I want us to take our celebration of love and human rights to the black communities of America and put an end to racism, starting with rebuilding the black churches that have been attacked in the South.

daughters-2webWe can not stand back and let their churches burn to the ground as the Confederate Flag flies over their heads.

40170013I was born and raised in South Carolina, so I know how essential churches are to these communities and it breaks my heart that these acts of terrorism, committed by our own citizens, still happen and that we, as a country, are not doing more to prevent them.

belton-07-01webI want to do something to let these communities know that we will not tolerate this kind of violence in our country and that we will help them through this tragedy.

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So I looked for an organization that is raising money to help the black communities rebuild their churches and I found a website created by the Christ Church Cathedral (Episcopal) and I have made a donation.daughters-webBecause when I wave my American flag this weekend, I want to wave it with pride. Pride in the belief that we are a country that stands up for love and human rights for all of its citizens.arannmississippiIf you would like to join me in standing up for love and human rights this Fourth of July, please click here: “What hate burns, Love rebuilds.”

11261802_10153287217550020_5731177427677169330_nThank you for your support and Happy Fourth of July, from my family to yours.

Belton Lane

It took a few attempts and me having to suck up my pride and call again to make yet another appointment….but I finally got a portrait of a man, who I have come to respect and admire with all my heart, a portrait that is still not perfect, but a portrait that I can live with. The problem is he is really busy and usually late for our appointments so each time, I felt rushed and did not take the time to set it up properly…..but I needed a good portrait of him so we tried and tried and tried again.

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He is the man behind Walker’s Chapel Presbyterian Church. The man with the boisterous laugh and sweet soul. He shared his story of growing up Black in Reidville with me.

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And this is the wall behind Walker’s Chapel Presbyterian Church….I call this photo, ‘someone else is late, so what can I do to occupy my time’…..

my weekend

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five hours at a high school football game….and not much to show for it…..other than this shot of the Byrnes’ visitor seating an hour before the game. I am going to another one tonight to try and do better.

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BMW Z3 and Z4 Homecoming weekend. 500-600 cars return to their birth place with their owners.

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This is one of the owners, Peter from Pennsylvania. He has been coming down for seven years for the BMW Homecoming weekend and is known as the guy with the hat. “It is a family event.”

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This is Reall from Anderson, SC which is 1 hour and 17 minutes away from the BMW plant in Spartanburg. The Anderson Housing Authority thought the BMW Homecoming would be a fun outing for the community to go and look at people with cars that cost over $30,000.

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From the BMW Homecoming I went to a local hunting club’s opening day of dove season.

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A group of 15 men return each year for food, stories and hunting. “It’s like Christmas,” I was told.

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And Sunday morning, back to Walker’s Chapel church for Sunday school and service. I was amazed by the condition of the well loved Bibles.

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Then Monday with the Jones family. He works at BMW, she works at Reidville Elementary, Sam Jones is the Byrnes High School field goal kicker and Nick Jones is an aspiring minister and football star. They are the all star Reidville Family.

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And this is the new Reidville family. They are moving from North Carolina to live here, in a subdivision that was once a peach orchard. The family includes five home-schooled children who are named after people in the Bible.

As you can see, I am having a tough time with focus but I am hoping all these encounters and adventures will come together in the end.

Daughters of Destiny 2007

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On the 25th of August at 5 pm, The Walker’s Chapel Presbyterian Church held the 1st Anniversary for the Daughter’s of Destiny.

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The Daughters of Destiny is a dance ministry made up of young women who have come together as a team and have made great efforts to become one in Christ, so that people would see them as a pathway to Jesus. Arann and I went to photograph the celebration. It was my very first time in a black church.

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To be honest I was nervous about how we would be received. I knew one person at the church and I proved that I did not know him very well, as I referred to him as Belton Wayne instead of his proper name Belton Lane.

The history of black and white relations, especially in this area of SC, is scarred from the years of injustice towards the black population. Physically we were reminded of the separation by the fact that this church is the ‘black’ presbyterian church and it sits 100 ft behind the ‘white’ presbyterian church. In conversation we were reminded of the tension by a lovely older woman who said, “If it weren’t for the Lord, my people would have been wiped out by the way we were treated.”

But despite all of our nervous, it was an incredible experience: the music, the praising, the energy, the stories, and the people who welcomed us without hesitation. I met some wonderful people, who I hope to talk with again, to hear their stories of picking cotton and peaches and growing up black in rural South Carolina.

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