Bamberg Job Corps dedicates Vernessa Williams Gymnasium

The Bamberg Job Corps Center held the dedication of the Vernessa Williams Gymnasium on June 2, 2010 at 10:30 a.m. on the lawn of the gymnasium. The gymnasium was dedicated to a former center director, the late Vernessa Davis Williams. Williams was also one of the first African-Americanís to serve on the Bamberg City Council. She passed in 2001 after a long battle with breast cancer.

The honorable James E. Clyburn, United States Congressman and House Majority Whip, was the keynote speaker. Clyburn told the students and other guests who braved the extreme temperatures to celebrate with Job Corps, the importance of not giving up. Clyburn told the audience about his struggles to become the third highest ranking official in the White House. He went on to tell the audience how he lost three elections before being elected to any office. Clyburnís political success has now put him in the position to help so many others. Explaining the need to not place importance on one profession over another, Clyburn exclaimed, ďno one profession is more important than the other. We all need and depend on each other. If I have car trouble, a doctor canít help meÖI need a mechanic. Lawyers need plumbers and plumbers need lawyers. We all complement each other,Ē noted the majority whip.

Williamís daughter, Denita Williams, a PhD Candidate at the University of Georgia, told supporters how appreciative, she and her younger sister Randi were of the support and love that everyone had expressed for her mother and them. ďMy mother would be so proud that you all did this for her,Ē said Denita.

Surrounded by Williamís daughters, friends, supporters and staff, Clyburn officially cut the ceremonial ribbon after Lisa B. Stokes, a close friend of the Williams family and founder of the SEKOTS Foundation dedicated the building. The SEKOTS Foundation also donated a portrait of Williams for the celebration. Stokes said the foundation is in the process of raising funds to replace the temporary portrait with an oil painting of Williams that will hang in the gymnasium that has been named in her friendís honor.

Evelyn Stanley, the Business Community Liaison coordinator at the center said she was appreciative of the support that community leaders provided and is looking forward to continued partnerships with the Bamberg County community.

Stokes said the SEKOTS Foundation is accepting donations for the Vernessa Williams oil painting that will cost about $1,200. Donations for the painting can be made through the foundationís website at or donations can be mailed to the SEKOTS Foundation, P.O. Box 931 Bamberg SC 29003. To learn more about Williams or the non-profit foundation, visit the foundationís website.