Detroit Branch NAACP Announces Plans for 55th Annual Fight for Freedom Fund Dinner Sunday, May 2, 2010
DETROIT, March 30 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The following is a statement by Reverend Dr. Wendell Anthony:
Two thousand ten marks the 55th occasion in which the Detroit Branch NAACP, the nation’s largest branch, will hold its Annual Fight for Freedom Fund Dinner. The theme this year for this historic event is “Jobs, Jobs, Jobs, and National Health Care: A Matter of Justice, Privilege, or Right.”
The City of Detroit and the State of Michigan have one of the worst rates of unemployment in our nation. Statewide, the unemployment rate is reported to be over 15%. In the City of Detroit, the unemployment rate is over 20%. We believe that due to the number of persons who have not been counted and who have simply dropped out of the system, the unemployment rate is closer to 40% inside our city. This is even magnified by the lack of adequate health care within our state. Michigan currently has an uninsured population of 1.15 million persons. The uninsured non-elderly in our state, ages 18-64, is approximately 969,000 persons. In the City of Detroit, that number far exceeds 100,000 persons. The number of uninsured persons has risen from the years 2003-2005 from 14.5% to over 15.6% as of September, 2009. It is because of these striking numbers and the impact upon families that this dinner will focus on jobs and national health care. Not since the struggles of 1964 and 1965 with the passage of the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act have we seen such vehemence, violence and vitriolic rhetoric cast at those who would seek to provide health care to all of America’s citizens. The recent signing of the national health care legislation by President, Barack Obama, and supported by several in our Michigan Congressional delegation is cause for national celebration and not degradation.
It is for this reason that at the 55th Annual Fight for Freedom Fund Dinner, we will honor and pay special tribute to those members of our Michigan Congressional delegation, both senators and congresspersons, who voted to support this legislation. Many of them have been threatened, called out of their names, and highly disrespected, based on them exercising their constitutional duty. We believe that it is most appropriate that at the largest event of its kind in the nation, that we in Michigan pause to honor our own. We are appalled and outraged at the fact that State Attorney General Mike Cox is attempting to turn back the hands of progress and to deny Michiganians, urban, suburban, and rural, young and old, the right to adequate health care by filing a lawsuit against the federal government to thwart its implementation. This is shameful. This move should be called out and denounced by every Michiganian who will be affected by this action. Yet we remain committed to freedom, justice and equal opportunity, in spite of the naysayers.
We are very pleased to announce that we will present our Freedom and Justice Awards to two Michiganians. The Ida B. Wells Freedom and Justice Award will be presented to a longtime social advocate, preacher, missionary, and international ambassador for peace, Bishop Thomas Gumbleton. Bishop Gumbleton has been a part of this community representing the archdiocese of Detroit in the finest of tradition as it relates to aiding the least of these. We are equally as pleased to present the Mary Church Terrell Freedom and Justice Award to none other than Ms. Annette Rainwater. Annette Rainwater has been a longtime community organizer from her church at St John CME to the NAACP, the National Rainbow PUSH Coalition and the National Political Congress of Black Women. She has been a voice and a key organizer with SCLC and the annual Martin Luther King, Jr. national birthday celebration. Our James Weldon Johnson Lifetime Achievement Award will go to a man who has demonstrated a lifetime of achievement. His voice has been prophetic; his teachings have been electric; and his activism has been magnetically inspiring to draw persons to look beneath the surface of social discourse to find social justice. He is the author of several books that continue to inspire both the intellectual and the social justice community. He is the renowned Dr. Cornel West of Princeton University.
Finally as we bring all of these factors together to address the very pressing issues of our nation concerning jobs, health care, and a national respect for diversity of views, we are very pleased to announce that our keynote speaker will be the House Majority Whip, the Honorable James Clyburn of South Carolina. Congressman Clyburn has come under attack recently for his leadership and for his support in seeking votes and the successful passing of national health care. He is bold, unwavering, and brings the vintage of the southern experience in the fight for justice and equality to the northern reality to sustain such justice and equality no matter what odds are against you. This promises to be one of the most electrifying Fight for Freedom Fund Dinners that we have had in recent years.
SOURCE Detroit Branch NAACP