BY JURRY TAALIB-DEEN
Journal Staff Writer
Approximately, 400 people attended the National Association for the Advancement of Color People, NAACP, Freedom Fund Dinner, on Saturday, October 22. The event was held in the Stranahan Theatre, 4645 Heatherdowns, Great Hall.
The annual event raises funds for the nation’s oldest, African American organization.
Highlighting the evening were presenting area leaders for their efforts within the community. Being awarded, with the Freedom Fund Award, were, Bishop Robert Culp, pastor, First Church of God, Suzette Cowell, president, and CEO of Toledo Urban Federal Credit Union, and Doni Miller, CEO of Neighborhood Health Associations. Jane Moore, executive vice president of Community Impact, also received a certificate for her ongoing efforts within the city.
Jasmine White, a 17 year old senior at St. Ursula Academy, talked about why she joined the organization.
“I believe I have the power to make a change within our community,” she said. “Many times, minority youth don’t realize they have the power to change things in our community,” Ms. White said, who will be attending the University of Toledo in fall 2017, majoring in Pre-Med.
Ray Woods, president of the local NAACP, gave a summarization of the organization’s progress within the city. And reality television star of, “Flip My Food,” Chef Jeff Henderson, was the keynote speaker.
Amongst the progress made by the organization, Mr. Wood pointed out the organization helping to pass the Lead Paint Ordinance, which would help protect the lives of people, particularly children, living in older house in the central city.
Other notables included a recent coalition between the NAACP, and the Latino community, their ongoing effort of supplying the people of Flint, Michigan with clean drinking water, the establishment of a local NAACP branch within Toledo Correctional Facility, and opening chapters on the campuses of the University of Toledo, Lourdes University, and Bowling Green State University.
Before speaking to the audience at the Freedom Fund Dinner, Chef Jeff made a visit to the Toledo Correctional Facility, where he addressed the inmates.
While there, he shared his story, with the inmates; he too spent time in prison for drug trafficking. Chef Jeff also shared with the inmates strategies on how to change the criminal mindset; one of which included changing their value system.
He said the NAACP having a branch within the prison is very powerful. “That branch will help men and women transform their lives and re-enter society for the better,” Chef Jeff said.
He told The Toledo Journal his talk at the dinner would focus on the power of potential.
“We need to change the culture of our community so young people can achieve the American dream,” he said.