Notes for October 28th, 2022 at the Muslin Center of Wilmington
Imam Mohammad Salaam welcomed all guests and candidates including Lee Murphy, Greg Coverdale and Mark Prescott Gardner to Masjid Al Kauthar (Muslim Center of Wilmington) on Thursday evening. He said “the people must select people who will represent the community, not a particular party. This town hall is an opportunity to question, dialog, and learn more about the candidate for state House Representative of District 1, Mark Prescott Gardner.”
Elder Calvin Brown first met Mark in the barber shop and noticed his dedication to his children. Calvin spoke of the tradition of values passed within the family and how that builds character. “Character is what you have in the dark when nobody is looking. Mark Prescott Gardner has character.”
Mark opened by reflecting upon the need for respect. He said that we are one human family but often with differing opinions. “We need to have those difficult discussions with respect, reflecting the equal value and dignity of all people. We will have these discussions. All voices matter.”
Members of the community presented and discussed many topics of interest and concern, including: youth lacking a sense of options, more educational opportunities, the need for increased substance addiction treatment, men not stepping up to their manhood, and the general violent attitudes prevalent in our community.
Mark said we have a special responsibility to our children. He challenged “Fathers must stand up and be involved in the lives of their children.”
Noting that many people are hurting within District 1, Mark said an authentic Representative needs to go to the people and listen, to better appreciate what is needed. Servant leadership both listens to the people and provides a focus to channel their needs into effective action. Mark shared a view that government needs to do more than collect taxes, build roads and pave parking areas. Government can be a conduit for the people to help each other. But leaders must go into the communities and seek out the voices to understand.
Mark thanked everyone for their participation, acknowledging that the powers of government flow from the people, and that he would be privileged to represent District 1.
Following a moment of silence for recently deceased Councilwoman Loretta Walsh, Imam Mohammad Salaam closed the town hall with a prayer of thanks and commented that we must walk side by side.