To say Rev. Greg Drumwright has been “all over the place” in recent months is probably an understatement.
It directly reflects his accomplishments and responsibilities which include (among many others): former NC A&T University student body president, minister, musician, adjunct college professor, a nationally-recognized speaker, an authority on millennial/Gen Z and social justice leader.
His involvement in that last category is why you’ve probably seen him in many recent local television newscasts and why you’ve probably read his name and quotes in local newspapers.
“We have found that our ministry has had to function in other parts of America that we had never imagined ourselves being situated in,” he told me during a recent virtual interview.
In fact, Drumwright and members of The Justice for the Next Generation Coalition (an organization he helped establish) have been spreading their messages in just about every major focal point of racial injustice nationally during the last few months:
- Brunswick Georgia after Ahmaud Arbery’s death
- Minneapolis after what happened to George Floyd
- Atlanta after an officer shot and killed Rayshard Brooks
- Talladega, Alabama after the noose was found in Bubba Wallace’s garage
But of all the places he’s been recently, he told me one event stands out, one he’ll remember 30 years from now. It’s one that happened in the community where he grew up.
“It’s really all hinged around these three letters: BLM (Black Lives Matter),” he said. “These three words have been met with so much contention, so much vitriol, so much misunderstanding and so much hatred in every area that we’ve traveled. (But) perhaps the most heightened area of civil unrest, of hatred, of a lack of understanding, was there in my home of Alamance County.”
That march in which some 700 protesters followed Drumwright’s lead moved from his hometown of Burlington to Graham on July 11. He and his fellow protesters were calling for the removal of the Confederate monument in the courthouse square.
The marchers were met with a contingent of vocal counter-protesters holding signs and waving Confederate flags.
I asked him how close are we so seeing the monument’s removal.
“We may not be close at all if folks on their commission (the Alamance County Board of Commissioners) and their counsel (the Graham City Council) are not willing to open their ears and hear the demands of an overwhelming majority of people in Alamance County who want to see it come down,” he said.
Another place Drumwright would like to see more listening: NASCAR. Most recently he and coalition members were in Bristol, Tennessee, for the All-Star Race.
“We have a very lofty goal ahead of us. We want to see 2,000 African Americans line those stands. We want the sport of NASCAR to be more widely diverse in their employment channels. Bubba Wallace is currently the only driver of color. We want to see that at the track levels as well,” he said.
But a plea for listening is among the most important messages Drumwright is sending these days.
“We really need an audience of listeners who will understand what Black rejection is, who will understand what Black trauma has been, who will understand what Black anger is right now. That’s the first step in confronting racism. And then we need to get into the details of his to dismantle structural and institutional racism,” he said.
For more information on Drumwright’s ministry, check out the website of his church in Greensboro, the Citadel of Praise Church and Campus Ministries.
For more information on The Justice for the Next Generation Coalition, click here.