Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Our Collective Voice - Joan Collins

Today we are reprinting a letter from Joan Collins' "Profiles in Courage" series. This one honors a true hero, Beth Brewer.

Previously, we wrote this about Beth Brewer:
"Beth is a Durham citizen running the Recall Nifong-Vote Cheek campaign. If Cheek is elected, Governor Easley will appoint a new District Attorney for Durham, but it won't be Beth Brewer. She will return to her own life as a private citizen. There is nothing "in this" for her, but the knowledge that her community will be healed and will be the better for it. I don't know about you, but in a world of self-serving politicians of EVERY sort, Beth Brewer of Recall Nifong - Vote Cheek is one I could surely trust."
Today, as we approach the election, the eloquent words of Joan Collins bring us new insight and inspiration about Beth Brewer. We thank Joan for this lovely piece.We thank Beth for her courage, her tenacity, and her undaunted dedication to her neighbors and her community. We ask our friends in Durham to say "Thank you" to Beth and many devoted volunteers in the only way that matters... Recall Nifong-Vote Cheek.

Lately I have written about quite a few heroes. Today I want to write about another hero. It is a name you may not recognize, but one I have come to admire and respect: Beth Brewer.
It was Eleanor Roosevelt who said, "It is not fair to ask of others what you are not willing to do yourself." Beth is a Durham citizen who out of concern for her community is working diligently to make Durham better. Beth Brewer is the organizer and Chairperson for the Recall Nifong-Vote Cheek (RN-VC) campaign for District Attorney in Durham County, N.C. Beth Brewer is a true hero.

The Committee to Recall Nifong-Vote Cheek was formed in August 2006 out of concern for Durham. The purpose of the committee is to continue the efforts of the historical petition drive that resulted in more than 10,000 citizens stating their desire for an alternative to Mike Nifong on the ballot in November, by urging citizens to vote for Lewis Cheek. Letters sent to these 10,000 citizens have generated a flurry of support and the wave of support is growing. As each RN-VC lawn sign is put up, they reportedly are getting honks, thumbs up and offers to help. The committee now has well over 100 hard working and enthusiastic volunteers.

Beth Brewer and her group of RN-VC volunteers are trying to make a difference. They are living the words of anthropologist, Margaret Mead, who wrote "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has."
The word courage is derived from the French root word "coeur" which means heart. Courage is rooted in love, the love of people and things we care about. When we open our hearts to a person or issue, courage pours out from our hearts. Beth Brewer cares deeply about Durham.

She and her husband moved to Durham many years ago. They chose Durham for its excellent business opportunities and a great place to raise their family. Brewer's children were born in Durham and she immersed herself in her family, work and community. In these years, Brewer's career and her family flourished in Durham.

When the Durham that Ms. Brewer knew and loved became a target of nationwide ridicule and scorn, Beth decided it was time for a change. A change away from a District Attorney who is more willing to speak on national television than with witnesses and attorneys involved in a case. A change away from a District Attorney willing to tear a community apart for political gain. Something had to be done and someone had to do something. That is when Beth Brewer decided to get involved.

Ms. Brewer admittedly has no prior campaign experience, but she channeled her business and organizational skills to the RN-VC campaign and has never looked back. She volunteered to be the Spokesperson and a voice for the campaign. She has no affiliation with Duke (nor, as a matter of fact, do I). As a true grassroots movement, the campaign to Recall Nifong - Vote Cheek campaign has no headquarters, no salaried employees, no outsourcing of fundraising, and no hired political consultants. All participants in the campaign work on a purely voluntary basis.
Beth Brewer is working diligently to help defeat Nifong. She has no vested interest but love for her community and distaste for what she sees happening in Durham. Imagine the pressures of running a campaign with no prior political experience and with limited campaign resources. Ms. Brewer has done so with grace and courage.

I first heard Beth Brewer's voice when she was interviewed by Julia Lewis on WRAL (Interview 1). She was also later interviewed on North Carolina Public Radio (Interview 2). Hearing Brewer's voice brought back fond memories of my favorite aunt who lived in Fayetteville, N.C., just a short distance from Durham.

Working tirelessly for a better Durham has not been an easy task for Ms. Brewer. She has made many sacrifices. She continues to work full time and have full time family responsibilities. She has endured being subjected to the press referring to her as “Abbott and Costello.” Letters have been written about her in the press. In their ‘Dear Friends and Neighbors Letter’, the RN-VC committee eloquently stated,
“We believe this election is what the Durham that we love is about and, as such, requires a true and full measure of consideration by each of its citizens. We ask that Durham show, not only to Mr. Nifong, but also to Governor Easley and to the nation that watches, that Durham cares, that Durham has pride and, most importantly, that Durham has a voice."
We all have the potential to become courageous at any moment in time, but few of us take the next step and become heroes. Beth seized the moment. She did not step lightly into the RN-VC campaign. She took a heroic leap. Durham will be a better place for it.

The RN-VC’s campaign slogan is "The people of Durham County take back the District Attorney's office." The many ‘Thank you for what you are doing’ remarks she has received have inspired Beth. "We must remember that one determined person can make a significant difference, and that a small group of determined people can change the course of history," said Sonia Johnson. Beth with her "coeur" may just do that.

After the election, Beth will return to her private life as a citizen of Durham. She will return to her home, her family and her career. In his book, “The Greatest Generation”, Tom Brokaw observed, "Heroes are people who rise to the occasion and slip quietly away." After the election, Beth will slip quietly away, but her contribution will not be forgotten. Beth Brewer is a true hero.

Joan Collins
Garden City, N.Y.
Profiles in Courage by Joan Collins:


Anonymous said...

too bad for brewer that her candidate is way behind in the poll. nifong had 46%, cheek 28%, monk 2% and undecided was 24%

Anonymous said...

Totally agree that Beth Brewer has proven herself to be one of the heroes in this situation. Her dedication to this cause is admirable and hope she knows how much she is appreciated.

Anonymous said...

Did they call Cy again for the poll?

Anonymous said...

I doubt any Duke students were polled...

Anonymous said...

anon 7:41...nice try, but..

when a poll shows 24% of voters undecided this close to the election it's basically WORTHLESS.
One should be quite cautious in interpreting these results as a "slam dunk". 28% of voters in this poll have already decided to vote for a noncandidate to get Nifong out. That's pretty significant. The others are probably undecided because of their concerns about voting for someone who will not serve. That's understandable. If all the Republicans and Frida Black supporters vote for Cheek, Nifong loses. That's what the numbers show.

Anonymous said...

By the way the 7:41 AM post was from Nifong himself. He made those numbers up just like he made up this case. Sorry to disappoint you, Nifungus but you are as good as gone from office. The people of Durham and NC are tired of having their hometown and state look like a back swamp illerate bunch of hicks. Citizens of Durham whether they are black, white or purple are intelligent and know a corrupt, deceitful, power hungry politician when they see him. The black community should be furious you used them, bated them and reeled them in with your lies to suit your own purpose.
Beth you are a fantastic person who should be proud of what you have accomplished. To all the Duke Students who helped with the election and made their voice heard, you are the ones who have the integrity and strong character to stand up for something you believe in, the U.S. Constitution and your rights that you are (supposedly) protected by. Your parents should be proud of you as well. Lets all pray that Nifong's reign of terror is at an end. Is there anyway to get the NC anti-Nifong newscasters & reporters to remind NC voters to vote for Cheek, "A vote for Cheek is a vote against corruption" Remind the students they are voting for their own rights as well as the rights of the falsely accused. The people can make a difference. Lets show Nifong he can't use the people of Durham.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

This comes directly from the campaign. Of the 24% undecided, 49% are Republicans. This is good news. Vote RNVC and PRAY.

justice58 said...

anonymous 6:24pm

You say "good news"

Are you crazy? Didn't you read what the recent polls say:.Mike Nifong is leading!!

you're living in fantasyland and seems you like it there.

Okay reality check: Mike Nifong is on his way to become the DA for the next 4 years.

Any Questions???

Anonymous said...

Above: In other races that were polled the undecided were a low of 8-10%. Don't order that bottle of champagne yet.

justice58 said...


"Don't order champagne"

Hey, let me tell's on ice

kbp said...

The election is only one of many options that could eliminate Nifong.

The election is the quickest, surest avenue with the least collateral damage.

Keep up the good work Beth and thanks for taking the time to better your community.

Anonymous said...

Beth deserves a "Durham Citizen of the Year Award".

Anonymous said...

The election is Durham's way to get rid of Nifong. If re-elected, Nifong will remain under intense scrutiny. The trial will be a minefield for him.

His re-election will allow him to continue his perp-walk to prison. And he'll take the corrupt of Durham with him.

Anonymous said...

just so you know... unlikely that any Duke students were included in the poll. Also, likely that Nifong supporters have already decided. So,,, 24% undecided to split between Cheek and Monks.... Monks gets 2% in the poll, the undecided see that he's a wasted vote. Undecided will make a difference. The company that did this poll indicates that an incumbent with just 46% and 24% undecided means anything can happen - in their experience.

Anonymous said...

That's right. Durham students would have cell phones most likely. How would the folks doing the poll find their phone numbers?

Anonymous said...

Can a local tell us how do they prevent someone from voting more than once?

Anonymous said...

Nifong is running against nobody and get only 46% of the vote? I think he is in trouble.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Joan, for writing this. Beth is definitely a worthy subject for you and you did a wonderful job - as always.