"Reveille has sounded and it's time to wake up," exhorted Elder Johnnie E. Coe, the guest speaker at the Carolina African American Heritage Foundation's awards breakfast honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. this morning in Myrtle Beach, SC.
"Reveille has sounded. It sounded on November 6," Elder Coe told the packed banquet room at the Myrtle Beach Convention Center.
"While we were sleeping," he intoned, "we heard 'Make America Great Again.' We are striving for greatness. We've been at the forefront and the world is watching us. But I don't see where we've had anything we need to go back to. Do you?"
Many in his audience, composed of African American activists, local public officials, educators, law enforcement officials, business people and concerned citizens, responded emphatically. "No."
"We need to wake up," urged Elder Coe. "If we don't wake up, the world is going to pass us by."
Elder Coe never mentioned President Trump by name, except to say "We're trying to keep others out when we ought to be letting others in."
But his message was clear. It's time to act, and the time is now.
"The world will get no better if you just let it be," he warned. "The world will get no better. We've got to change it, you and me."
Elder Coe's message resounded in the huge banquet hall, and he received a standing ovation at the end.
The Carolina African America Heritage Foundation's mission is to "focus on the humanitarian and upliftment needs" of the area, promoting unity, human resources, cultural arts and educational programs. It is led by its president, Bennie Swans, a long-time activist and beloved figure in his community.