Saturday, October 30, 2010

2010 Freedom Fund Banquet

Last night was the annual Freedom Fund Banquet of the Virginia Beach Chapter of the NAACP, held at the Town Center Westin. It appeared to be a sellout. (I received a Facebook message a week out that there were only 4 tickets left.)

There were some area officials present (Federal, state, and local). Who wasn't there was the Virginia Beach City Council. Mayor Will Sessoms popped in for the Reception, but left before the Banquet. Bob Dyer read the Mayor's Proclamation, but then left. When time came to recognize Virginia Beach elected officials, the only City Councilperson present was Barbara Henley. NAACP President Georgia Allen was miffed at Council dissing the African-American community's most important event of the year.

The Unsung Hero Award went to Tosha Sanders. Community Services Awards were given to Manolita "Manny" Holadia and Edna Hendrix. The Trailblazer Award was won by Gary McCollum, and the President Award by Rev. Ray Cox.

Of course, the big draw was the Keynote Speaker, Al Sharpton. His connection to our region is that he has a daughter attending Hampton University. His remarks were superb:

1. With Election Day on Tuesday, he focused on getting out the vote. He said, "The NAACP fought to get you the vote. Now we have to fight to get you to vote." He noted the sacrifices made by the civil rights pioneers, and the planted axiom in their work that subsequent generations would build upon it. What are you doing to meet that challenge?

2. Secondarily he spoke on culture. The young need to set high goals for themselves or they won't achieve enough. African-Americans need to end self-defeating trends in their own community.

The pleasant surprise was how humorous he was. From the talking head spots I'd seen of him on television, he was never as funny as he was Friday night.

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