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NAACP hosts annual Freedom Fund Award Banquet

Keynote Speaker the Honorable Jackie Lacey, Los Angeles District Attorney

The Ventura County Chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) held its annual “Freedom Fund Banquet” on Saturday, October 12 at the Courtyard by Marriott in Oxnard. This year, the event’s theme was “Leading the Path and Continuing Our LEGACY.”

Karen Burnham, NAACP Distinguished Award

Ventura County Chapter President John R. Hatcher, III, praised the theme. “It was an outstanding theme because it talked about what we are doing right now. We are leading our legacy. The NAACP is 103 years old and we are doing a lot of good things in our community. We are leading the charge for our youth.”

Keynote Speaker the Honorable Jackie Lacey, Los Angeles District Attorney

The NAACP was founded in 1909. It is the nation’s oldest and largest civil rights organization, serving the nation from the ballot box to the classroom, with thousands of dedicated workers, organizers, leaders and members who continue to fight for social justice for all Americans.

John R. Hatcher, III, President, NAACP VC Chapter (Photo Credit: Gary Harbour)

Keynote speaker Los Angeles District Attorney Jackie Lacey said, “We must continue to focus on education and cultivate the skills needed to compete in tomorrow’s work place.” She continued, “We all have a responsibility to carve a path for our children and must continue to focus on their future.”

The event also paid special tribute to the late Deloris Carn who was named the recipient of the NAACP Memorial Award. Other honorees were: Attorney Gregory Ramirez, President’s Award; Leroy Andrew Gibson (Buddy), NAACP Special Award; Rhen Bass, NAACP Award; Karen Burnham, Distinguished Citizen Award; Jackie Lacey, LA District Attorney, Pioneer Award; Mayor Ellis Green, First African-American Mayor, Port Hueneme, CA; James A. Williams, II, First African-American Fire Chief, Oxnard, CA; Michael A. Stewart, Community Service Award and Anthem Blue Cross, Corporate Award.

A special plaque was presented to Derrick Delaney, the master of ceremonies. Delaney asked, “By a round of applause, how many people have been helped or know someone that has been helped by the NAACP?” Every hand in the room clapped.

Final remarks were made by Ventura County NAACP President John R. Hatcher, III. “One of the things I need to do that I usually forget is to thank my wife for all the work that she does.” Mrs. Hatcher signs up a record number of new members each year.

Hatcher continued, “I would also like to thank my daughters Stacy Luney and Regina Crawford for putting out one of the finest banquet books that I have ever seen.”

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