Second annual Night of Hope celebrates unity

Published 11:16 pm Wednesday, February 28, 2018

By: Oniska Blevins

“Unity” is the overall theme of Selma’s Night of Hope, with its second annual event beginning at 5:30 p.m. on March 8 at Bloch Park.

Event organizer and Councilwoman Miah Jackson said she got the inspiration of having a Night of Hope from pastor Joel Osteen. She said Osteen travels around to different baseball parks and hosts his National Night of Hope while delivering inspirational spiritual messages.

A native of Great Britain, author and Prophetess Christine Nelson will be the keynote speaker for the event.

Community member Gail Box Ingram, introduced Jackson to Nelson after Jackson heard her speak at a local church, Christ the King. “She’s [Nelson] a friend of mine,” Ingram said. “I met her on an online course years ago, and we became friends.”

Ingram said her husband, deacon Bracken Ingram, went throughout Selma to promote the prophetess’ visit to Selma and to invite them to the event. She said Nelson is thrilled to be able to speak to an audience in Selma.

“She’s been to individual churches around, but never to a large audience of Selmians,” she said.

Jackson spoke on her excitement of Nelson being the keynote speaker and what she is bringing to this year’s event.

“She’s coming to speak healing, wholeness and oneness over the land,” she said.

With the success of last year, Jackson felt the community not only needed this type of event, but wanted it as well. “We want to make it an annual event that people look forward to,” Jackson said.

Jackson wanted to localize that event because she felt Selma needed its hope restored.

“I wanted to do something that brought us all together in a family type of environment,” she said. She said everything is free and there will be food, fun and performances by local groups.

“We have different speakers from the community,” Jackson said. She said Blue Jean Church and Christ the King will be joining to do the praise and worship portion of the program.

Jackson also said local businesses and leaders donated food items to the event last year and will be doing so again this year. She said this a time for the community to “fill their bellies and their soul.”

“It’s a time for unity, so if we can bring our families, children and community together, on one accord, with God as our center who wouldn’t come?” Jackson said.

Ingram added that this event gives the opportunity for the community to “come together for one night of praise and worship together.”

Jackson believes that with everything going on in Selma, as well as the nation, having that spiritual connection to a higher power is essential. “I don’t think there is ever a bad time to call on our higher power,” Jackson said.

The only difference in this year’s Night of Hope, according to Jackson, is having a spiritual leader as their keynote speaker.

Jackson said she wants attendees to leave feeling positive.

“I want them to leave feeling joyous and full of hope and that our community, nation and our God is still able.”

“We had a great response last year and we’re hoping that we’ll continue it,” Jackson said. “I’m excited about what God is going to do in Selma.”