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NAACP Mid- Manhattan Branch 12th annual Freedum Fund Luncheon

10/24/2013, 11:54 a.m.
Wilkins Outstanding Award honoree Denise C. Soares, R.N., M.A., and presenter New York City Council Member Inez Dickens Photo by Gideon Mnasseh

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Ruth Clark, Roy Wilkins Art and Culture Award honorees Elijah A. Lewis and Ahmaya K. Higginsen, and Vye Higginsen, executive producer of “Mama, I Want to Sing”

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Geoffrey Eaton and Roy Wilkins Lifetime Achievement Award honoree Voza Rivers

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Geoffrey Eaton, Roy Wilkins Community Service Award honoree William F. Perry and presenter Robert Reed

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Former Mayor David Dinkins and Rep. Charles Rangel at the podium

On Oct. 19, Marina Del Rey Caterers in Throgs Neck, N.Y., hosted the Mid-Manhattan Branch of the NAACP’s 12th annual Freedom Fund Luncheon.

NAACP Mid-Manhattan Branch President Geoffrey E. Eaton said, “As president of the Mid-Manhattan Branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, it is my honored pleasure to welcome you to our 12th annual Freedom Fund Roy Wilkins Award Luncheon. Since our chartered founding in 1966, the NAACP Mid-Manhattan Branch has consistently been recognized on a local, state and national level as one of the association’s premier branches.

“This year, we celebrated several major milestones and ‘game changers’ in civil rights history. We began the year with the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation and the founding of the Union League Club, which outfitted the first colored troops and infantry armies. The impact of these historic events was magnified by the 100th anniversary of the Women Suffrage Movement and 100th anniversary of the homegoing services of Harriet Tubman. Unbeknownst to many, Harriet Tubman was reverently referred to as ‘The General,’ and was the first woman to lead men in a decisive battle and Civil War victory that resulted in the freedom of more than 700 slaves in the year that the Emancipation Proclamation was issued.

“In the same year that Tubman was laid to rest, one of the legendary mothers of the Civil Rights Movement, Rosa Parks, was born. Ms. Parks’ 100th birthday was celebrated this year with a commemorative United States postage stamp in her honor, and her spirit was memorialized with a full-length statue—the first one ever—of an African-American woman to be displayed in the Capitol’s Statuary Hall in Washington, D.C.”

Eaton concluded by saying, “Today, I congratulate our wonderful, courageous and exemplary Roy Wilkins Award honorees: Executive Committee member Rayne Dorsey, Program Manager Dawna Mitchelle Fields, President George Gresham, Executive Producer Voza Rivers, Executive Director Denise C. Soares, entrepreneur Betty Park, Judge W. France Perry, Ahmaya Knoelle Higginsen and Elijah Ahmad Lewis. Your individual contributions and collective accomplishments embody the spirit of the NAACP and its enduring legacy that the fight for civil rights is a lifetime commitment.”