The Detroit branch of the NAACP has announced the honorees and keynote speaker for its 62 annual Fight for Freedom Fund Dinner to be held on April 23 at Cobo Center in Detroit.
“There is no other event in the nation that brings together such a diversity of community activists, business, labor, corporate, faith-based, young and old, from every vocation and station in life, in the numbers that we find here in the city of Detroit. It continues to provide a source of pride, networking, fellowship, and the building of bridges across culture and community,” said Rev. Dr. Wendell Anthony, President of the Detroit NAACP, the largest chapter in the country
The theme of the 2017 Detroit NAACP Fight for Freedom Fund Dinner is “A new era, but the same cause… Justice!” The theme, Rev. Dr. Anthony said comes at an important time in the country.
“This year’s Dinner serves as a clarion call for all to remain committed to the cause of justice,” Rev. Dr. Anthony said.
“It is particularly significant at this very critical time in our nation’s history as we face challenges to national health care, civil and human rights, community policing/racial sensitivity, and public education, all at a cross road as it relates to quality and accountability. The issues are great.”
To celebrate the tireless work of women, this year’s dinner will include a “special historic tribute made for the unique role women play in the acquiring of freedom and equality for all people,” Rev. Dr. Anthony said.
Often forgotten are millions of women who fight for equality along side organizations like the NAACP, Anthony said, a fight that has reached a fever pitch this year as women marched on Washington. 2017, he said “has been marked by mobilization of millions of women across the nation and the world calling for justice and human dignity.”
One of those women is the Honorable Elizabeth A. Warren, senator from the state of Massachusetts who was chosen as this year’s keynote speaker. “Having Senator Warren serve as our keynote speaker will drive the message home of staying vigilant in the fight for justice,” Rev. Dr. Anthony said.
Warren, Anthony added, “reflects the time that we are in, who has spoken boldly about all these issues, who continues to be a crystal clear voice regardless of race, station, or location, who has made a history of advocating for the rights of people regardless of their status in life, she has been their champion.”
Honorees for the 2017 Detroit NAACP Fight for Freedom Fund Dinner includes Joy Reid, host of AM Joy on MSNBC, who will be honored with the Ida B. Wells Barnett Freedom & Justice Award for the excellence she has shown in journalism. Reid, a Harvard University graduate, has used her national platform to speak on issues of race and is one of the major voices in the African American community.
Former Acting U.S. Attorney General Sally C. Yates will be presented with the Mary Church Terrell Award for Freedom & Justice Award for her efforts in protecting basic human and constitutional rights with her refusal to defend the travel ban signed into law by Donald Trump. Yates is also responsible for helping to uncover secret talks between then National Security Advisor Michael Flynn and the Russian Ambassador, a violation of the Logan Act. This singlehandedly led to the forced resignation of Flynn.
This year’s recipients of the Great Expectations Award include Angelique Peterson-Mayberry, the newly elected vice president of the Detroit Public Schools Community District’s Board of Education and current UAW Director of Community Relations. Peterson-Mayberry has long been an advocate for education reform and worker’s rights in the city of Detroit.
Also receiving the Great Expectations Award are Eastern Michigan University students Jaren Johnson and Darius Anthony. Johnson and Anthony have bravely exposed the hostile racial climate on the EMU’s campus and have organized demonstrations and sit-ins to engage both EMU students and faculty. Johnson is the current president of the EMU’s Black Student Union and Anthony is the president of the EMU’s college chapter of the NAACP.
“We believe that this line up of freedom fighters, advocates for justice, and keepers of the flame of hope, will serve as true inspiration for those of us in the city of Detroit and this region,” Rev. Dr. Anthony said of the honorees and keynote speaker.
To purchase tickets, tables or to become a sponsor for the 62nd annual Fight for Freedom Fund Dinner to be held on April 23 at 5pm at Cobo Center in Detroit, please go to detroitnaacp.org or call (313) 871-3027.