Fears, Reed, grads among honorees at annual NAACP banquet in Daytona
BY ANDREAS BUTLER
The Daytona Beach/Volusia County NAACP celebrated its legacy as a champion for civil rights and honored others for their community efforts at its annual Freedom Fund banquet on June 10.
“United We Stand Together as One’’ was the theme of the 44th annual banquet, held at the Hilton Daytona Beach Oceanfront Resort.
Among those honored were Daytona Beach Zone 6 City Commissioner Paula Reed, who received the Trailblazer Award for her work in city government, community relations and academia.
Longtime NAACP member and leader Joel Fears received the President’s Award posthumously.
Fears, a local electrical engineer and longtime community activist, died on May 21 at age 78.
“The destiny of a person is not measured where they stand during time of comfort and convenience but where you stand in time of content and controversy. I am thankful this evening,’’ Reed told the crowd.
Joel Fears tribute
Mary Fears, who was married to Joel Fears for 49 years, accepted the award on his behalf.
“The recognition and awards received by my husband from the organizations in this community are great. Thanks to the NAACP for honoring the many hours of service that he gave to this organization and community,” she said.
NAACP president Cynthia Slater added, “Mr. Fears was really dedicated to civil rights and social justice. He served on every committee, including budget and planning. I could always go to him for advice. He knew all our bylaws and protocols. He was quiet, reserved and wise. He knew how to use words. He always knew what to say and both the right way and time to say things.’’
Clifton Taulbert, the banquet speaker, talked about community building and unity.
“As long as we stay separated we will never understand the power of us. Building community is a process, not a project. We are building lives. It is a never-ending process. It takes time and unselfishness to build community,” Taulbert told the crowd.
Taulbert is a world renowned speaker and former banker. He also is founder and president of the Freemont Corporation, which consults on human capital development and organizational effectiveness.
His books include “When We Were Colored,” which was featured in a film starring Phylicia Rashad; “Eight Habits of the Heart of Educators” and “Who Owns the Ice House: Eight Lessons from and Unlikely Entrepreneur.’’
‘We need ‘them’
The speaker honored those who paved a way for his success.
“We all need a ‘them.’ Nobody makes this journey of life alone. My journey was made possible because of ‘them.’ My grandfather did it first just by taking me on a simple trip to the city of Greenville, Mississippi. Walk if you have too. Those before us always took that walk. If you truly cared about the generation behind us, you would walk amongst them,” Taulbert related.
Opening doors for others also was encouraged.
Taulbert expressed, “The door was open for me. I must open the door for others. In every life, we must take opportunities that God gave us. We must open the door. We must ask a kid if they want to see something else?”
The speaker also talked about his humble beginnings during the banquet.
“As a child, I knew people of the Mississippi Delta. People who had no privilege, no power, or no position of power, but they were willing to share what little they did have,” he said.
Scholarships for grads
The NAACP honored graduates during the evening program.
Mainland High graduates Ke’aira Floyd, Charles H. Fordham and Tyla Plowden along with Atlantic High graduate Jared Adkins received $1,000 scholarships.
“I’m honored and I thank the NAACP for thinking of me for the scholarship. Going to college every amount of money helps,” Floyd said.
Fordham echoed, “It’s humbling to know that the NAACP felt that I was deserving of a scholarship.
It’s a blessing and I hope that I can follow the legacy that was laid out before me.”
Floyd has a 3.5 grade point average and is dual enrolled at Daytona State College where she will earn her associate’s degree over the summer. She will attend Bethune-Cookman University, major in English, and possibly double major in communications. She also will be in the school’s dance troupe.
Fordham played football at Mainland and posted a 3.58 GPA. He will attend Jacksonville University, major in sports business management and play football.
Plowden boast a 3.3 GPA; she also will attend B-CU in the fall and wants to study hospitality.
Adkins has a 3.59 GPA and will attend Bethune-Cookman to study music with an emphasis on technology. He will be in the band.
Praise for NAACP
They are fond of the NAACP’s work and legacy.
I think the NAACP is a wonderful organization that works for the acknowledgements and rights of African-Americans and all people. They have really paved the way for us youth on how to do things and ensuring equality and justice,” Fordham stated.
“The past two years I have really been getting in touch with my roots. The NAACP fights for what I believe in. I will be joining. I want to stand for equality, voting rights, civil rights and especially women’s rights. I want to make my community better and ensure that people have what they need to survive.”
Along with the graduates, other awards went to the League of Women Voters of Volusia County (Civic Engagement Award) and Medallion Health Care Services, LLC (Community Service Award).
Keona and Sean Barnwell run Medallion Health Care Services, which provides case management services.
Radio personality JoJo Dancer of Orlando’s Star 94.5 FM was the emcee for the second year.
Elected officials who attended included Florida State Rep. Patrick Henry, Volusia County Sheriff Mike Chitwood, Daytona Beach Mayor Derrick Henry, Daytona Beach City Commissioners Dannette Henry and Ruth Trager as well as DeLand City Commissioner Jessica Davis.
Uplifting musical selections were provided by the Morning Star Missionary Baptist Church Praise Team comprised of Takela Carter, Olga M. Card, Shalonda Tillman and Rose Wood.