By Sheri L. Stuart, Staff Writer
Lieutenant Governor Garlin Gilchrist delivered the keynote address at the 38th Annual NAACP Freedom Fund Dinner on Saturday, March 9. He spoke on the principles of leadership and the importance of accountability among elected officials.
“Ninety-five percent of leadership is showing up. You build trust with presence. So, the governor and I are going to continue to show up and be present to listen and respond and work with you,” said the Lt. Governor.
“We are bestowed with the privilege of leadership by voters. We are accountable to every community in the state of Michigan. We cannot turn our backs on anyone.”
Gilchrist said while Michigan is rich with diverse, innovative and hardworking people, they have not always been considered for leadership roles at the statewide level. He said he was proud to be a part of the Whitmer administration, which has been inclusive in its outreach.
“It’s unfortunate that the elected leadership in this state has not always reflected that rich diversity. We haven’t always seen ourselves in the leaders who seek to serve us. Governor Whitmer has appointed the most diverse cabinet in the history of the state of Michigan,” he said.
The theme of this year’s dinner was “Stand Up and Be Counted”. The 2019 class of awardees included the following: The C. Fred Robinson Civil Rights Award was presented to the Pan-Hellenic Council, Flint Chapter which includes the “Divine Nine” Greek Chapters in the Flint Area. The Celia M. Turner Humanitarian Award was presented to the Hurley Foundation whose purpose is to raise funds to advance the health science, education and care of the Genesee County population, regardless of their ability to pay. The Lenore Croudy Distinguished Leadership Award was presented to United States Congressman Dan Kildee, Genesee County’s voice in Washington D.C. The Vera B. Rison Unsung Hero Award was presented to Gregory Gains, founder of Mr. Gaines Neighborhood, who has worked tirelessly by teaching youth the importance of produce production for many years.
Proceeds from the Annual Freedom Fund Dinner support scholarships awarded to local students and the NAACP’s Afro-Academic, Cultural, Technological and Scientific Olympics (ACT-SO), a yearlong achievement program designed to recruit, stimulate, and encourage high academic and cultural achievement among African-American high school students.
This year’s scholarship recipients include: Ariana Smith/Merit Award; Timothy L. Johnson II/Community Service Award; Keishaun Ali Wade/ Financial Aid Award; and the NAACP/Hurley Medical Science Awards were presented to Kayla Gagner and Timothy L. Johnson II.
Enjoy our photo gallery from the event.