By Paul Gable
Conway Mayor Barbara Blaine-Bellamy presented a Mayoral Proclamation last month to Grand Strand Pride in recognition of June as Pride Month.
In doing so, Blaine-Bellamy was acting totally in accordance with the principles which have guided her professional life. Blaine-Bellamy has worked to help people of every background understand she cared about them and wanted them to be accepted and included in the community. Blaine-Bellamy said she studied the reasons behind Pride Month and she believes every person deserves to feel safe and not be ostracized.
Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “Do what you feel in your heart to be right, for you’ll be criticized anyway.” And Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “My obligation is to do the right thing. The rest is in God’s hands.” Blaine-Bellamy did what she felt in her heart to be right.
A portion of the second paragraph of the proclamation speaks much about Blaine-Bellamy’s personal philosophy, “Our LGBTQ residents …as our relatives, neighbors and friends deserve to feel safe and respected in their homes, neighborhoods, schools and workplaces…”
People who were quick to ‘throw stones’ at Blaine-Bellamy don’t understand her. As a Black child in the Jim Crow South, she experienced prejudice and bigotry at an early age. She was 16 years old before she could go inside and sit down in a restaurant to eat,
As a college student, she got an internship with the S. C. Department of Social Services. As a result, she changed her major to sociology with a minor in psychology and dedicated her professional life to helping people. At age 47, she decided to go to law school in order to further help people having problems within the system.
Blaine-Bellamy lives by two maxims – “Treat your brother as yourself” and “The only way I can earn the air I breathe (is) I have to be helping God’s children.” To Blaine-Bellamy, we are all God’s children, whether young or old, rich or poor, regardless of skin color.
“Everybody needs somebody to care about them,” Blaine-Bellamy said. “I believe God works through people. I want to be the person who has done something for as many people as I can so they can help others.”
After serving 10 years on Conway City Council and four years as Deputy City Administrator, Blaine-Bellamy was elected the first Black mayor in Conway’s history, in 2015, with 57% of the vote. During her time as mayor, Blaine-Bellamy has successfully guided the city through historic flooding, the Covid pandemic and historic growth in population. In my 40 years in Horry County, Conway, as a city, has never been in better shape.
People can disagree with Blaine-Bellamy for issuing the proclamation to people whose lifestyle they don’t agree with, but they cannot criticize Blaine-Bellamy for not having the courage to stand by the principles she holds.
Voters in Conway can throw stones at Blaine-Bellamy’s Pride Month Proclamation. However, it’s going to take a lot more than wrapping her in a rainbow flag to defeat Blaine-Bellamy in November.