I did not intend this to be as long a post as it is, but there is a lot that needs to be imparted. So bear with me please. First, mailings for this summer's reunion went out over the past three days. Hopefully, many of you will have received them prior to the New Year. I am also linking the family website to this post as it contains much of the same information and will be updated regularly along with email blast to the list that we have gathered thus far. Regardless of how you are reading this, I ask that if you know of family members that are not connected to the Facebook page, or that we may not have accurate addresses for, that you please share this information with them. Early registration is held to $130 for adults (13-up), $60 for children (5-12), children under 4 are free. Please note that the early registration window closes on January 31st.
The JCSU campus does have space for conference lodging. Please get back to me via e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in pursuing that option. I will not respond prior to Jan. 3, but I will follow up with more info after school goes back into session. At this time, there are two types of spaces available. The first would is Greenfield Hall on the campus of JCSU. A room in the dorm will average $30-$35 a night. The second would be the Mosaic Village Suites that are located just off campus and are detailed on the website. Those rent at an average of $75 a night (I state average, because the pricing changes based on volume of sales). The last would be the Gateway Center DoubleTree Hotel, which is 5 minutes away and is adjacent to Johnson and Wales.As many of you are aware, the political climate in NC is fast leading to a nationwide boycott of our state over legislation known as HB-2 by the National NAACP. At the time we starting planning the reunion, we did so with the understanding that we would utilize as many vendors and services as the we could in the African-American community in Charlotte. Also know that because our reunion is centered on Smith's campus, your dollars will be spent where they are most appreciated and serve for the direct benefit of our community. To those that may have concerns about the racial or political climate here, remember that we are as progressive a city as you may find anywhere. In fact, it was the actions of our City Council in protecting the rights of the LGBTQ community that led to the backlash you continue to hear about in the national news.
The shooting and protest of the early fall have led to some hard conversations and policy changes around policing and the lack of opportunities for people of color, and lastly the University that I love so dearly, will by the time of our reunion, have a new president lead it into another 150 years. So, come knowing that Charlotte is a city that is going through astounding changes, but is still at its core a welcoming Southern town. Know that Charlotteans in general, and Smithites in particular, are quite welcoming and you will have a wonderful time here!
Besides, many of our "first" generation relatives were graduates of JCSU and we received the benefits of many a teacher or pastor that walked out into the world through the hallowed archway on campus. In this most contentious of times nationally and internationally, we owe it to ourselves, our children and to generations yet to come, to visit the cradle of many of our religious and educational traditions and reconnect with that which has fostered our family's development from Shiloh, to Cherry Hill, to Broadstreet, Christ, Ladson and so many other churches, denominations and walks of faith in between. It is in that spirit that we look to welcome you all.
Also, note that the webpage features two (2) contest. It is our hope that you will encourage young people to enter their ideas for a theme and/or a logo for this year's reunion. The entries should be sent electronically by MLK Day, which is January 17, 2017. Additionally, there is a separate contest to identify the Smith Alumni in our family.
I hope you all continue to have a restful and peaceful holiday and look forward to seeing you in July! Love and blessings to your all.