2017 NAACP Freedom Fund BanquetBy Chanel R. Davis, Peacemaker Contributor / August 4, 2017
Share this article:The Greensboro Branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People held its annual Freedom Fund Banquet on Saturday, July 29, at the Joseph S. Khoury Convention Center.
More than 700 people from across the Triad area attended the banquet, designed to act as a fund-raiser while honoring those in the community who go above and beyond the call of justice.
2017 award winners were: Joyce Hobbs Johnson with Beloved Community Center of Greensboro received the Outstanding Citizen Award; Afrique Kilimanjaro, managing editor of the Carolina Peacemaker received the Community Service Award; Sabree Flood, first African American valedictorian at Eastern Guilford High School received the Mae Cynthia Youth Award; Rev. C. Bradley Hunt II received the President’s Award and Food Lion grocery corporation received the Corporate Humanitarian Award.
“There is a cost for freedom,” said Viola Fuller, first vice president of the NAACP Greensboro Branch. “The cost of freedom is very high. Donations and works of service is needed to keep organizations, like the NAACP, working.”
State Sen. Gladys Robinson introduced keynote speaker, N.C. Gov. Roy Cooper. She described Cooper, a life-time NAACP member as having “grit, guts and gusto” and someone who fights along with the NAACP against social and racial injustices.
“He doesn’t just show up when we dedicate a highway but he shows up when we need him in the byways,” she said.
Cooper said that he relies on the values of faith, hard work, action and the appreciation of public education that his parents instilled in him.
“I want a North Carolina that works for everyone,” Cooper said of improving economics, education, health care and criminal justice.
Cooper said that he will continue to try and work with Republicans so that both parties can find common ground on issues that matter to their communities.
“There is a battle ahead. There is a battle for the heart and soul of North Carolina,” he said. “We need a change in our state legislature. We have motivated people who are frustrated with what’s happening in Washington, D.C., the general assembly in Raleigh and are going to demand change. I believe that we will be successful. We have to be.”
Greensboro NAACP President Rev. Dr. Cardes H. Brown Jr. agreed with Cooper that there is a fight ahead.
“North Carolina is determining the fate of the South. We’ve got to stay in the battle. Criticize if you must, but know we’re right. Be upset if you have to but it’s not going to diminish our involvement,” Brown said. “We are in this struggle and we are willing to put it all on the line. This is no time for foolishness. We have a battle to win.”