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Brunswick County NAACP banquet set for Saturday

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By Laura Lewis, Reporter

More than 200 people are expected to attend the Brunswick County Branch of the NAACP annual Freedom Fund Banquet this Saturday night.

The event is set for 6 p.m. Sept. 15 at Brunswick Community College’s South Brunswick Islands Center, 9600 Ocean Hwy. in Carolina Shores. It’s a black-tie-optional affair kicking off with a reception and silent auction.

This will be the 10th Freedom Fund Banquet for the reorganized Brunswick County NAACP branch, though local chapters of the national human rights organization date back well before that, said event organizer Arthur Mallory, an NAACP diamond member.

Keynote banquet speaker will be Gene Nichol, professor of law at the University of North Carolina and director of the UNC Center on Poverty, Work and Opportunity.

BCC president Susanne Adams is honorary banquet chair.

This year’s Freedom Fund Award will be presented at Saturday night’s banquet to John Elliott, manager of external affairs at Progress Energy.

“This is going to be a very different affair than we’ve had before,” Mallory said, noting the addition of the reception and auction as well as entertainment.

El Jaye of Wilmington, described by Mallory as a one-man band, will provide musical entertainment at the banquet.

“We’re just going to have an evening of black-tie elegance,” Mallory said.

“We’ve tried to reach out and broaden this thing into the community, to make it very diverse because this community is diverse,” Mallory said.

He pointed out the NAACP, which was founded in 1909 in New York, is dedicated to bringing about necessary change to protect liberties and prevent discrimination of any citizen.

“We’re trying to eradicate always racial bias or prejudice,” he said. “We try to make sure we’re part of improvements for education for economic development, to ensure all social issues are fair and equitable for all citizens of the county.”

Mallory said they would like for everyone to be involved “because we’re all part of the community, because what affects one group affects another.”

Mallory said there will be a display of NAACP founders at Saturday’s banquet.

The annual banquet raises funds for the local NAACP branch “to make sure we can operate during the year,” Mallory said.

The event also helps the local branch provide scholarships for kids who are going to college, he said.

Bernest Hewett, president of the Brunswick County NAACP branch, also strives to provide information to citizens about healthcare matters, Mallory said.

The NAACP does not endorse any party candidates for office, but does try to educate people who are eligible to vote and get them to register, Mallory said.

In that regard, the chapter does get involved in politics. Blocking votes is “definitely not part of equality,” he said. “We want to make sure everybody has equal access.”

Tickets for the banquet are $40 each. No tickets will be sold at the door.

For more information, call Adell Bernard at (910) 762-5811 or Jerry Jackson at (910) 386-9765.

 

Laura Lewisis a staff writer at the Beacon. Reach her at 754-6890 or email llewis@brunswickbeacon.com.