Residents gather to remember life of late African American pastor
By Emmi Colford
photo by Tommy Yang
Members of the 2101 troop of Girl Scouts USA Northwestern
Great Lakes division hand out flyers to attendees at the
Black History Month celebration in the student union Feb. 23
UW-Fox celebrated Black History Month with African Heritage Inc. in the student union Feb. 23.
Attendees gathered to pay tribute to the life of racial and social justice advocate and pastor G. Manns, who passed away Jan. 8.
Manns' family and friends compared her to the powerful African American women of history who came before her like Maya Angelou, Ida B. Wells and Madam C.J. Walker.
"Pastor Manns was innovative. She could look out [the window], see a branch on the tree and figure out how she could sell it," Bola Delano-Oriaran, vice president of African Heritage Inc., said.
Manns was also founder and CEO of B.A.B.E.S. Respite and Counseling Services. The program works to prevent child abuse within the community.
"Pastor Manns told me all about the vision she had for B.A.B.E.S... to help children at risk by helping young and stressed parents, by giving them a break and by providing them respite and counseling so that children would be free from abuse," Kathy Flores, the city of Appleton diversity coordinator, said.
"She poured all her energy into making sure these young parents would have a place of solace and therefore their children would have a place of solace, council and respite from the everyday stressors of their lives, keeping them safe and together."
Founded in 1997, B.A.B.E.S. Inc. has impacted thousands of lives by providing relief and assistance to parents ages 15 to 27. The nonprofit organization is working to help create a stable family through self-respect, self-reliance and self-control.
"Pastor Manns worked tirelessly, working until midnight almost every day," Anthony Awofeso, board president of B.A.B.E.S. Inc., said.
"She ensured that freedom was coming to the children and relief to their mothers who would get a break from stressful situations."
Manns, heralded as the first African American woman pastor in the Fox Valley, was the founder and senior pastor of Appleton Sanctuary Outreach Ministries (A.S.O.M.). She worked with both African Heritage Inc. and Harbor House Domestic Abuse as well.
The pastor also published the book "Once I Was a Smiling Child" to help adults overcome fears, insecurities or any other obstacles resulting from sexual abuse or molestation that occurred during childhood.
"Our lives here in the Valley are more beautiful and brighter because of Dr. Manns," Sabrina Robins, board member of African Heritage Inc., said.
Manns had a deep love of music and teaching.
"When she sang at the prisons, she opened the bars of prisoners' hearts and when she sang at the church, she opened up the doors of our hearts," Carla Manns, relative of the late Manns and A.S.O.M. member, said.
Manns dedicated her life to helping people of all walks of life through her community groups, seminars and ministry. For more information on getting involved and continuing her work, visit http://www.asomworks.org/asom.htm or http://babeshelp.org/.