“Our Voices, Our Engagement, Our Votes Matter!” was the theme of our annual Freedom Fund Dinner on October 12, 2018 at the Kona Kai Resort & Spa. Dr. Helen Griffith, Executive Director/Chief Executive Officer of e3 Civic High served as the Mistress of Ceremonies. Consistent with the theme of the dinner, Dr. Andre´ Branch, president of the San Diego NAACP reminded all those gathered of the critical importance of voting on November 6, 2018.
There were outstanding performances by saxophonist Erisa Nicole, pianist Gloria Daviston and drummers of Extreme Rahim Entertainment. Jor’Denay Collier, San Diego ACT-SO gold medalist, performed her award winning poem, “Mr. Drugdealer.” The 9th and 10th Cavalry Association, San Diego Chapter Buffalo Soldiers, led the presentation of colors ceremony.
The San Diego NAACP honored four students for their outstanding academic accomplishments. The students were Yosief Abraham (Hoover High School), Amy Amoah (Eastlake High School), Jor’Denay Collier (Eastlake High School), and Angel Rios (Lincoln High School).
Dr. Branch presented a President’s Award to California Attorney General Xavier Becerra for his service and leadership. Attorney General Becerra has decades of experience serving the people of California through appointed and elected office, where he has fought for working families, the vitality of the Social Security and Medicare programs and issues to combat poverty among the working poor.
The San Diego NAACP honored three individuals for their community service. Eugene “Mitch” Mitchell, Vice President, State Governmental Affairs and External Affairs for San Diego Gas & Electric and Southern California Gas Company is an active member of the community. He currently serves on the board of directors of the San Diego Museum of Art, the Voice of San Diego and the California Asian Chamber of Commerce. Rebecca Paida is the Senior Program Manager for Nile Sisters Development Initiative. The mission of that organization is to educate, support and offer training to refugee and immigrant women and their families to help them overcome barriers to social and economic self-reliance. Ms. Paida is a former refugee who is intimately aware of the health disparities as well as the social and economic challenges people face when relocating to a new community. Eric Rivera, Vice President for Student Affairs at San Diego State University has dedicated his life to advancing access, student success and achievement for all students in higher education. Under his leadership the division significantly expanded learning communities and student support centers such as the Black Resource Center, Commuter Resource Center and the Women’s Resource Center.
The San Diego NAACP honored four organizations for their community service. The California Innocence Project (CIP) is a law school clinic, founded in 1999 at California Western School of Law, dedicated to freeing the innocent, training law students and changing laws and policies in the state of California. Since its inception, CIP has freed 30 people from prison who have served more than 340 years in prison for crimes they did not commit. The San Diego People of Color Quilt Guild provides a forum for the continuation of the tradition of quilting as an art and a method of recording history and storytelling. They donate baby quilts to military families. They donate quilts to community members who are ill. Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Inc., Mu Sigma Zeta Chapter provides scholarships to youth in the San Diego community. Its signature event held in April is “Zeta to a Tea, Military Women Rock!” The event honors women who have or are serving our country in the military. Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity Inc., Omicron Iota Sigma Chapter serves the community though activities that include providing scholarships, contributing to organized charities and promoting voter education and voter registration.
The San Diego NAACP holds its general membership meetings on the first Thursday of each month at 6:00 pm in the Community Room of the Jacobs Center located at 404 Euclid Avenue, San Diego. The meetings are open to the public.
Here are photographs of attendees and honorees and performances from the dinner:
The Union Tribune covered the dinner:
The San Diego NAACP held its Freedom Fund gala dinner.
And this was the event program:
NAACP 2018 Booklet 10.5.18