VICTORVILLE, CA- On Friday, November 3, the Hilton Garden Inn in Victorville hosted the NAACP Branch 1082 Annual Freedom Fund Dinner. The evening featured a delicious full course meal, exciting musical sounds by local band Willie Cockrell “Strings ‘n Things”. The event was ‘sold out’ as many community members, leaders and organizations gathered in recognition of the NAACP, the nation’s oldest civil rights organization.
NAACP President Bill Thomas warmly welcomed everyone, as Jiles Smith was introduced as MC for the evening. A few noted representatives and organizations in attendance included Supervisor Robert Lovingood, Delta Sigma Theta, NCNW, San Bernardino Sherriff’s Department, Burning Bush Church, Emmanuel Temple and First Missionary Baptist Church.
Shonda Scott, an entrepreneur, community leader and activist was introduced by Windsor Richmond, Anthem/Blue Cross Field Sales Manager, as keynote speaker for the evening. Scott is the CEO of 360 Total Concept, a corporation based in Northern California that provides services to organizations needing support with program management, communications, contract compliance, logistics and general management.
Scott, passionately shared her journey as becoming involved in community service during her early years. Raised by her father, a college professor and mother a retired Navy Officer, they each instilled in her the importance of serving her community and making a positive difference.
Scott commented, “Though I was too young to vote, my parents would often have me ‘phone bank’ and distribute flyers” along with many other miscellaneous tasks”. Scott humbly performed her duties that would later define her attitude and approach to politics. The early on work ethics experience attributed to Scott’s career lead to serving alongside great leaders such as Congresswoman Barbara Lee, Senator Kamala Harris including working with Pres. Barak Obama’s Whitehouse platform committee.
Scott encouraged the audience, specifically the youth to become in her words “Disrupters” in their communities. Further clarifying her statement, she closely described the meaning, “”Disrupters” as prioritizing justice, equality and the integrity of the political process, not to settle for the ‘status quo’. She further stated, “Dr. Martin Luther King was a ‘Disrupter’, Rosa Parks, John F. Kennedy and many other great historical leaders that made tremendous strides to better our nation”. “We would not be where we are today without these prolific “Disrupters”. It is a reality that we have to cultivate the next generation to maintain what many have fought and died for. Scott continued to comment regarding today’s youth saying, “If we are hosting events and the room is not half filled with young people or if we are not teaching our youth wisdom and knowledge on how to become positive “Disrupters”, then their outcome is our fault, and that’s the truth”.
Shonda Scott is the embodiment of an empowered woman, who grew up in an ordinary family and made extraordinary developments in her career. She is an ‘Agent of Change’, dedicated to serving her community, as she inspires and influences us all. Concluding her speech, she exited the stage amid a standing ovation.
An exciting highlight for the evening was the introduction of youth from the Millionaire Minds Kids Program and other young achievers. Standing onstage, they each had an opportunity to share their education and career goals/achievements. Their impressive career choices included accomplishments with obtaining degrees in the various fields of Medical, Engineering and Legal Studies.
An Inspiring student commented that her sibling, a previous NAACP recipient, was not in attendance due to her on- duty employment as a Pilot for a major airline carrier. They each vowed to continue being positive “Disrupters” of their generation as they took photos with speaker Shonda Scott.
Former NAACP Scholarship Recipients Attorneys, Phyllis Morris-Green, San Bernardino County Public Defender and Garner C. Morris, Jr. Deputy District Attorney, Santa Clara, CA were acknowledged. Both have excelled immensely in their chosen fields.
Peggy Moore, Chair for the NAACP Scholarship committee was introduced by MC-Jiles Smith. Acknowledging the past recipient’s success stories, Smith thereby challenged the audience, requesting donations to assist students with their future academic scholarships. Eager and generous hands began to spontaneously wave checks in the air donating contributions that will create college access and success for many motivated youth and young adults.
Award recipients were recognized for their outstanding community service; Charley and Evelyn Glasper- (Political and Educational Achievement); Cara Denise Hutson (Judicial Excellence); Regina Weatherspoon-Bell – (Community Service).
The NAACP wishes to recognize and thank these outstanding sponsors for the event, Platinum Sponsors-The GEO Group, Frontier Communications, Gold Sponsor-Edible Arrangements.
Table Sponsors included Attorneys Jim Terrell/Sharon J. Brunner; Burning Bush Church; City of Adelanto; Delta Sigma Theta; Emmanuel Temple; First Missionary Baptist Church; Mr. & Ms. Rick Hudson; Mr. & Ms. Garner Morris; San Bernardino County Sheriff Dept.; NAACP President Mr. & Ms. Bill Thomas; Mr. & Ms. Charley Glasper; Mrs. LaVern Scriven; Ms. Yolande Culbreth; Ms. Gloria Roberts.
Special thanks to Mrs. Terry Thomas, Chairperson of the Freedom Fund Banquet and her outstanding committee.
On behalf of High Desert/Inland Valley News, we wish to applaud NAACP-High Desert Branch 1082 for their outstanding efforts in making the Annual Freedom Fundraiser Dinner a great success!