Flint, MI (February 20, 2017) – The Flint Branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) announced today, it’s 36th Annual Freedom Fund Gala, “Boldness in the Face of Adversity”. The black-tie optional gala will be held at 6:00 P.M. on Saturday, March 11th, 2017, at Genesys Conference and Banquet Center, 805 Health Park Blvd., Grand Blanc, MI 48439.
“The dinner provides us an opportunity to recognize our leaders, corporate citizens and young people, who continue to give and expect more of themselves, the communities in which they live, their local institutions and their country, which is why we are extremely honored to have Mr. Bankole Thompson (pictured above) as our Keynote Speaker”, says Mrs. Frances Gilcreast, President, Flint Branch NAACP.
Mr. Bankole Thompson is an opinion columnist, and a respected journalist at The Detroit News, an author and a cultural critic, with a commitment to equality and justice. To do his job as a columnist, Thompson, relies on his wide and diverse experiences, from covering the struggles of everyday people, to interviewing today’s powerful figures, including former president Barack Obama, with whom he conducted a series of sit-down interviews.
The Freedom Fund Gala is the signature fundraiser of the year. Proceeds will support youth scholarships, as well as the daily operations and efforts to address disparities and discrimination in employment, health and education within the community. The event will begin with a VIP Reception at 5:00 p.m., with dinner and entertainment at 6:00 p.m.
For ticket information please contact the branch office at 810-742-8622.
Ohio Senator Nina Turner has been confirmed as the Guest Keynote Speaker for the 35th annual, NAACP Freedom Fund Dinner.
Throughout her career in public service – as a legislative aide, a cabinet member in Cleveland Mayor Michael
R. White’s administration, a lobbyist for the Cleveland Metropolitan School District, a Cleveland City
Councilmember, a State Senator and a candidate for Secretary of State – Nina Turner has made it her
mission to empower individuals, institutions, and communities to achieve their greatest greatness.
Turner is currently a professor of history at Cuyahoga Community College and Chair of Party Engagement at
the Ohio Democratic Party. In this role, Turner is involved in the planning and implementation of all
political, constituency and issue-based outreach and programming.
At Turner’s urging, Governor Kasich created the Ohio Task Force on Community and Police Relations. Turner
co-chaired the Task Force and now sits on the newly formed Ohio Collaborative Community-Police Advisory
Board –created to develop the first-ever standards for law-enforcement agencies statewide. Turner is a
board member of the Karamu House, the United Way of Greater Cleveland, and the Cleveland Police
Turner’s work ethic, empathy and commitment to public service stem largely from her humble beginnings in
Cleveland, Ohio as the oldest of seven children. Determined to rise above her circumstances and break the
cycle of poverty, Turner worked her way through school earning her Associate of Arts degree from Cuyahoga
Community College and her Bachelor and Master of Arts degrees from Cleveland State University. In 2013,
Turner received an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Wilberforce University.
Her career path first led her to Columbus, where she served as a legislative aide in the office of former
State Senator Rhine McLin. She was soon called back to her hometown to work in the administration of
Cleveland Mayor Michael R. White as his Executive Assistant for Legislative Affairs and as the Director of
Government Affairs for the Cleveland Metropolitan School District.
In 2005, Turner was elected as the first woman to represent Ward 1 on the Cleveland City Council. In 2008,
she was appointed to the vacant 25th District Ohio Senate seat and two years later was elected by her
constituents to continue her service as their voice in Columbus. As a legislator, Turner championed
innovative solutions to critical challenges, sought to promote collaboration and regionalism in local
governance and fought to maintain the economic security of the middle class.
Turner’s passionate advocacy for economic fairness, workers rights, reproductive freedom and voting rights
earned her regular appearances on national television and radio programs—such as The Ed Show, Melissa
Harris Perry Show, The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell, Morning Joe and the Rachel Maddow Show on
MSNBC, Wolf Blitzer on CNN, Real Time with Bill Maher on HBO, BBC World News, NPR, Rickey Smile and the
Jeff Santos Radio Show—and accolades from numerous organizations across the country. She was named 2011
State Senator of the Year by The Nation, a Drum Major for Justice in 2013 by the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Memorial Foundation, Inside Business Magazine’s 2014 Power 100—a list of the 100 most influential CEO’s,
Politicians and Civic Leaders in Northeast Ohio—and the Power 100: Top 25 in 2015.
In 2014, Turner chose to forgo her last term as State Senator and run for Secretary of State as the
Democratic challenger to fight for free and unfettered access to the ballot box for all Ohioans. Her belief in
voting as the foundation of our democracy and the one place where we are all truly equal made her an
unrelenting and outspoken critic of voter suppression efforts across the country and resulted in an
unprecedented national grassroots fundraising operation.
Turner lives with her husband of 20+ years Jeffery Turner, Sr. in the same community in Cleveland in which
she grew up. They are the proud parents of Jeffery, Jr., a local police officer and Second Lieutenant in the
Ohio National Guard.
Editor’s Note: Each week we cross-post an excerpt from Katrina vanden Heuvel’s column at the WashingtonPost.com. Read the full text of Katrina’s column here.
As I write, New York City is witnessing its fifth day of demonstrations after a Staten Island grand jury’s decision not to indict a police officer in the Eric Garner killing. Those demonstrations followed on the protests across the country over the police shootings of Akai Gurley, a 28-year-old father of two who was slain while walking with his girlfriend in Brooklyn, Tamir Rice, a 12-year-old boy shot by a rookie Cleveland police officer while playing with a toy gun, and, most famously, the Ferguson, Missouri, police killing of Michael Brown. Conservatives joined liberals in denouncing the grand jury’s outrageous decision in the Garner case. Demonstrations have spread across the country as people of all races have taken up Garner’s plea: “I can’t breathe.”
President Obama met with some of the demonstrators in the White House, where 20-year-old Rasheen Aldridge Jr., director of Young Activists United St Louis, said they made it clear “that we are in crisis.” He added, “It is a crisis when a black American can get locked up for traffic fines, but police officers are rarely prosecuted for killing unarmed children.” The president, as another attendee later reported, “cautioned us against demanding too big and stressed gradualism. He counseled us that the wheels of progress turn sluggishly.” The Justice Department has launched special investigations into the killings of Brown and Garner. The president has announced that he will push for putting cameras on police and has convened a Task Force on 21st Century Policing with instructions to report back in 90 days.
The deaths of Garner, Brown and others at the hands of police are not the only cause sparking mass protests. The day after the Garner demonstrations started, low-wage workers walked off their jobs in more than 190 cities, demanding a living wage and the right to organize. They, too, chanted, “I can’t breathe.” Workers from fast food-restaurants such as McDonald’s were joined by those from low-wage retail and convenience stores and airline service jobs. In Washington, federal contract workers joined the march, calling on the president to issue procurement regulations that would reward good employers that pay a living wage with benefits and allow workers to organize and bargain collectively.