More than 250 attend the NAACP Freedom Fund Gala 2023

More than 250 attend the NAACP Freedom Fund Gala 2023
August 15
12:33 2023

By Felecia Piggott-Long, Ph.D.

The NAACP Freedom Fund Gala 2023 served as a bridge to reconnect with like minds, since this face-to-face gathering was not accessible during the COVID-19 years. More than 250 NAACP members, sponsors, scholarship recipients, pastors, elected officials, church members and supporters of the NAACP gathered at the Winston-Salem State University Anderson Center McNeil Ballroom on Friday, Aug. 4. Elder Reginald McCaskill, executive member of the WS/FC NAACP, served as the master of ceremonies.

President Al Jabbar offered the welcome and purpose of this annual celebration.

“I want to give honor to the members and supporters of the NAACP, and I must recognize my wife Addie Jabbar because she supports me when I’m out here on this battlefield. I honor my Providence Church family for their support also,” said Jabbar.

“The NAACP is a social justice organization. The public does not always agree with us because we speak to the issues of the community. We raise money for scholarships and to undergird the mission of the NAACP. We in the Winston-Salem Chapter have our own stand-alone building because Dr. Vivian Burke made sure it was possible. Hats off to Mrs. Burke, and today is her birthday. We are glad to be back together again; after three years, we are finally in person,” said Jabbar.

Dr. Herbert Miller II, senior pastor of Emmanuel Baptist Church, was the keynote speaker for the evening. His topic for the hour was, “What Are We Going to Do?” His text came from Isaiah 1:17, according to the New Revised Standard Bible. Dr. Miller encouraged the audience to “Learn to do good, seek justice, rescue the oppressed, defend the orphan, plead for the widow.” 

According to Dr. Miller, “Our nation is full of sin and trouble – rebellious children, mental illness, evil corruption, ungodly rulers whose hands are full of blood. In the words of KRS-One, ‘You’re headed for self-destruction.’ What are we going to do? … We must turn back to God,” Miller said. He received a standing ovation by the end of the sermon.

Five students received a $1,000 scholarship from the NAACP for 2023. Dr. Nedra Dozier served as the chairperson of the scholarship committee. The winners of the awards are: 

*Makayla Beard, a graduate of Mount Tabor High School, plans to attend UNC-Chapel Hill and major in economics/pre-law.

*Trenton Dozier, a graduate of East Forsyth High School, will major in sports management with a concentration in marketing and promotion at WSSU.

*Shari Stevenson, a graduate of Glenn High School, will attend WSSU and major in nursing. 

*Jamya Wallace, a graduate of Mount Tabor High School, will attend North Carolina Central University and major in kinesiology to become an occupational therapist. 

*Broderick Freeman, a graduate of Atkins High School, received an award named in honor of the late Rev. Dr. Carlton Eversley. Freeman will attend the Naval Academy to become an oceanographer to study naval intelligence with the hopes of commissioning as a surface warfare officer. 

Harry James, Jr. was honored with the Distinguished Service Award.

Zakiyyah Niang led the audience in the singing of “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” the Negro National Anthem. Charles Burnes provided special music throughout the program. 

Councilmember Barbara Haynes Burke greeted the audience on behalf of Mayor Allen Joines and her colleagues.      “For the past couple of years, I have worked closely with President Jabbar on housing issues, bus stops, safety issues, with the Ministers’ Conference, and it has been a pleasure working with this chapter addressing social justice concerns and civil rights issues,” said Burke. “So many efforts that once seemed secure such as affirmative action, Roe v. Wade, and even threats about the right to vote. We will continue to support this chapter.”

Daniel Piggott, executive board member of NAACP, recognized the sponsors of the gala. They include Food Lion, the City of Winston-Salem, Judge Whitt Davis, Mount Moriah Outreach Center of Kernersville, Mount Sinai Full Gospel Deliverance, and the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools.

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