*The NAACP Mid-Manhattan Branch advocates for community based programs including education, civic engagement, healthcare and voter registration. Each year the iconic civil rights organization recognizes and celebrates the diversity, dedication and support of individuals and their contributions to the community. On Saturday, September 15, 2012, the organization paid tribute to ten such extraordinary individuals at its 11th Annual Freedom Fund Luncheon at the fabulous Marina Del Rey, Throgs Neck, New York that was attended by some 450 guests.
This year’s amazing Roy Wilkins award recipients included: Wyclef Jean, musician, producer, humanitarian (arts & cultural award); Hon. Inez Dickens, Deputy Majority Leader-NYC Council Member, District 9 (outstanding leadership award); Robin Bell Stevens, executive director & CEO / Jazzmobile, Inc. (cultural award); G. William Hunter, executive director, National Basketball Players Assoc. (centennial presidential award); and Willie Walker, general manager, Harlem State Office Bldg. (lifetime service award);
Also Anthony Harmon, director, parent & community outreach, UFT (outstanding service award); and NAACP Mid-Manhattan branch members who received the coveted Roy Wilkins Branch Service Awards Marti A. Golden-Greenberg, Ruth Miller, Anna Lewis, Esq., and Beverley Wheeler. New York 1 news anchor & author Cheryl Wills served as Master of Ceremonies. Rev. Dr. Thomas D. Johnson delivered the invocation.
Special Remarks were made by Dr. Hazel N. Dukes, Congressman Charles B. Rangel, former Gov. David A. Paterson, Assemblymen Keith L.T. Wright, NAACP Mid-Manhattan Branch president Geoffrey E. Eaton, and Kyndell A. Reid, Esq., who served as gala chairperson. The abounding afternoon affair boasted a cocktail reception replete with finger foods and carving stations; 3-course luncheon; open bar throughout the entire luncheon; and dancing to music by the Warren Daniels Band. Tonnie’s Minis from 264 Lenox Avenue, Harlem, NY donated 400 cup cakes to the event which made for a very sweet ending.
*On Saturday, September 29, 2012, a spirited group of well-dressed women boarded a special bus in front of the Harlem State Office Building as guests of the New York Coalition of One Hundred Black Women (NYCOBW) headed to The Carltun, Eisenhower Park, East Meadow, New York, to attend NYCOBW’s 2012 colloquy & founder’s day luncheon. Upon arrival, they were greeted by NYCOBW’s president Avalyn P. Simon and other guests in attendance.
The afternoon affair brought back fond memories of twenty-four women of distinction who forty-two years ago through their vision, commitment, and courage, laid the foundation and set out to build a legacy of leadership for this illustrious organization.
In her graceful welcoming remarks President Simon thanked members, friends and guests for attending this important celebration. “From our genesis in 1970, the Coalition has been a dynamic force that has championed issues affecting Black women, such as their education and that of their children, political disenfranchisement, employment discrimination and health concerns. We have made tremendous strides!” exclaimed Simon.
Themed “Health, Wellness and Today’s Woman,” the stellar soiree handed out the coveted colloquy awards recognizing members’ contribution, service and dedication to NYCOBW; as well as the prestigious beacon award in recognition of individuals who exemplify what it means to “lead by example.”
Following a cordial cocktail reception, guests lunched on mixed green salad (first course); a choice of roasted chicken, salmon or pasta (main course); followed by dessert, coffee & tea. Unlimited wine and champagne was served throughout the graceful event.
After a thoroughly delectable lunch President Simon was assisted by Dr. Barbara Kairson, board member and chair of the education committee, event co-chairs Terry Epps and Sharon Long and CBS News anchor Michelle Miller-Morial who served as Mistress of Ceremonies in dolling out the distinguished NYCOBW service awards to Abaynesh Asrat, founder, Nation to Nation Networking Ltd.; Elizabeth Ann Carde, BSN, RN; Cheryl Green-Foster, education & administrator; pediatric physician Dr. Karen N. Myrie; and Evangeline B. Vaughan, retired NYC board of education.
In addition, Delores C. Dixon, educator, musician, actress, was presented with the outstanding member award; and Dr. Nancy Roberson Jasper, was recipient of the coveted beacon award for outstanding achievement in the field of medicine. Mandognin Bamaba, a student at Queens College of the City University of New York, was presented with the Edna Beach scholarship award. Beach is a proud member of the Coalition’s young women’s leadership initiative.
The well attended event attracted founder and past president Dorothy Gordon along with past presidents Natatia Griffith, Edith Davenport and Virginia Montague. After an abundantly fun afternoon filled with happy feelings and lots of wobbling on the dance floor to fabulous Motown cuts spun by iconic DJ Reggie Wells, in her glowing departing remarks President Simon shared fond recollections of NYCOBW’s remarkable past while embracing the vision of the founders as the Coalition goes forward.
“As we look to the future, we are optimistic that our organization will continue to attract committed women who embrace the vision of our founders. We also hope that we will continue to receive the support of corporate partners and friends as we seek to build a legacy of leadership in the decades to come,” said President Simon. And as I looked around the room filled with pride and several generations of dynamic women I could not help but applaud the Coalition’s vision of nurturing younger members who will take the organization into the next century and beyond.
Audrey J. Bernard is an established chronicler of Black society and Urban happenings based in the New York City area.
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