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Collegiate chapter is only one west of Winston-Salem

Press release from Mars Hill University, shared Feb. 5:

MARS HILL — Rev. Curtis Gatewood, community organizer for the North Carolina NAACP and former second vice president for the National NAACP, was the speaker for at Mars Hill University’s weekly Crossroads service on Feb. 4.

Gatewood’s visit was part of Mars Hill’s celebration of Black History Month, as well as the kick-off for Mars Hill’s new NAACP chapter, which is called Forward Together.

Gatewood called on Mars Hill students to rise up against injustice in North Carolina. Specifically, he invited students to join the upcoming “Moral March,” planned for Feb. 8 in Raleigh, for which he is an organizer.

According to Gatewood, one of the primary beliefs of the NAACP is that politicians, once elected, have a duty to represent all. The particular activism of the NAACP may vary, depending on current issues, he said, but “we have a permanent interest in justice for all.”

Gatewood used Christ’s words from Luke 4:18 to describe the work of the NAACP, saying: “He anointed me to preach good tidings to the poor: He hath sent me to proclaim release to the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind…”

In addition to his position with the NAACP, Gatewood is the founder of SOLO, which is the acronym for “Saving Our Little Ones.”  Saving Our Little Ones is a community-based ministry established to protect children from violent, sexually explicit, and degrading images and lyrics in video games and music.

The NAACP chapter at Mars Hill will be the only collegiate chapter of the organization in North Carolina west of Winston-Salem.

The new MHU chapter of the NAACP was started because of students’ interest in new voting laws that they believe would make it more difficult for college students to vote. Upon doing research on the topic, they discovered that the NAACP, an organization celebrating its 105th year, was working on the front lines regarding these issues and they wanted to be involved with their efforts. McKay Sharpe, a junior in social work, organized a letter-writing campaign last semester regarding the new voting laws and is the founder and president of the new NAACP chapter on campus.

A group of students associated with the new chapter will be attending the Moral March in Raleigh on Feb. 8.

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Angie Newsome is the executive director and editor of Carolina Public Press. Contact her at (828) 774-5290 or e-mail her at

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