Rev. Mark Creech will share podium with nation’s foremost authority on gambling, Thursday, July 17, in King’s Mountain – Pastors and lay leaders urged to attend
By L.A. Williams, Correspondent
July 10, 2014
KINGS MOUNTAIN — One of the nation’s foremost authorities on gambling’s negative impacts on society is headed to Cleveland County for a trio of informational meetings this coming week, as the Kings Mountain Awareness Group continues to gain momentum in its fight against the Catawba Indians’ plan to construct a $340 million casino complex off I-85.
“The people of Cleveland County need to hear from Les Bernal, the national director of the Stop Predatory Gambling Foundation,” said the Rev. Mark Creech, who will join Bernal at the podium Thursday at a noon luncheon for pastors and lay leaders. The event, to be held at Second Baptist Church at 120 Linwood Road, in King’s Mountain will be preceded by a Ladies Breakfast Forum at 9 a.m. Wednesday at First Baptist at 605 W. King St. and followed by a Citizens Informational Forum slated for Thursday at 6:30 p.m. at the Family Worship Center at 1818 Shelby Road.
Dr. Creech urged Cleveland County residents to set aside time to attend at least one of the events to learn specifics about what a gambling complex could bring to their community.
Bernal, head of SPG since it was formed in 2008, has spoken and written extensively about how casinos and lotteries produce unfairness and inequality in America. In addition to testifying before Congress, he has also been interviewed by national media outlets and traveled the nation to educate communities about the issue.
Sponsored by KMAG, the three events this coming week are the latest in a growing campaign against the Catawbas’ attempt to have 16 acres on Dixon School Road put into a federal trust for a 220,000-square-foot gambling facility, two hotels, restaurants and other entertainment. KMAG founders Adam and Cynthia Forcade said their efforts to start a conversation with neighbors about the casino are beginning to pay off.
“We are starting to see fruit from the grassroots efforts to educate the community,” Cynthia Forcade said. “We’ve formed a steering committee to help coordinate events and outreach.”
Her husband said a growing number of people are willing to get involved in speaking at city and county meetings as well as volunteering for tasks to further the cause. Even so, both still encounter folks who don’t realize the casino is not a “done deal.”
“The biggest misconception is that people think they can’t do anything to change the outcome. This just isn’t the case,” Cynthia Forcade said. “One of the standard operating procedures of casino developers is to create a sense of inevitability so that people give up. Our group doesn’t intend to let that happen.”
Adam Forcade said a ruling this month in which the U.S. Department of the Interior rejected the Wyandotte Nation’s attempt to take land into trust for a casino in Kansas is a perfect example.
“The ruling …. proves that when people get out and active in opposition, a community can fight off the advances of a predatory casino,” he said.
Cynthia Forcade said people can “get the facts, call or write their local officials, write letters to the editor of our local newspapers, start a conversation with friends and neighbors, volunteer their time and expertise, like us on Facebook, or sign up for email updates at www.stopcatawbacasino.com.”
“These are just a few of the many things that people can do,” she added.
To learn more, log onto the website above or connect with the Kings Mountain Awareness Group via Facebook. For more details on Les Bernal, see www.stoppredatorygambling.org.