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Help needed to support Night of Hope

Selma’s Night of Hope, an event meant to bring the community together, is only 11 days away, but organizers are still looking for donations for the community to help pay for the expense.

Pastor John Grayson said it will cost approximately $4,800 to hold the event April 13 at Memorial Stadium and that more help is still needed.

Organizers have asked churches, businesses, individuals and organizations to donate $100 or more to help cover some of the cost.

“We are doing real good, we just need some more help as far as that is concerned,” Grayson said.

Councilwoman Miah Jackson came up with the idea for Selma’s Night of Hope and has worked with Grayson to put the event together. Grayson believes the night is exactly what Selma needs to create positive change.

“We want that night to be a night of hope and restoration. We have a lot of crime in our city and a lot of the crime and ills in our city I believe is because people have lost hope,” Grayson said. “We just want to motivate people to have hope and faith in each other and in their Lord again.”

Former Alabama Crimson Tide football player Sherman Williams, who played on Alabama’s 1992 national championship team and for the Dallas Cowboys in their Super XXX win over the Pittsburgh Steelers, will serve as the guest speaker. Williams ran for 2,486 yards and 27 touchdowns in four years at Alabama.

Williams was found guilty of marijuana charges and pled guilty to a counterfeiting charge in December 2000. He was sentenced to 15 years in prison and was released in 2014.

Since then, Williams has held numerous football camps around the state and released a book named “Crimson Cowboy: The Rise and Fall of a Three-Time Champion,” where proceeds went to the Palmer Williams Group, a nonprofit organization he started with former Alabama teammate David Palmer.

“Our speaker is a dynamic speaker,” Grayson said. “Most people are familiar with him being a former Alabama football player, and we are looking forward to him coming and sharing with us.”

Donations can be mailed to Selma Night of Hope, P.O. Box 450/ 222 Broad Street, Selma, AL 36701.

Grayson said several groups will be participating in the program that night, including choir groups from Selma High School. The plan is to bring the entire community together — people of different ages, backgrounds, churches, businesses and beliefs — in order to change Selma for the better.

“We believe that if we come together as one that the Lord is going to move on our city, that it would inspire people,” Grayson said. ”We sort of lost faith and hope in each other and in return we’ve lost faith and hope in the Lord. We’re trying to bring people together and restore hope and to tell people it’s bad, but it’s not as bad as it looks. We still have a good city, we still have a good town, there’s still good people and more than anything, the Lord is still blessing us, he’s still with Selma and he can still turn Selma around and make Selma the great city she deserves.”