By LISA CAPOBIANCO
From schools to nonprofit organizations to local businesses, the Bristol NAACP will honor over 20 individuals from a variety of community sectors during the annual Freedom Fund Banquet next week.
The banquet will take place on Friday, Oct. 27, 6 p.m. at Nuchie’s Restaurant. With a theme of “Steadfast and Immovable,” the event will feature keynote speaker Rev. Dr. Shelly Best, the pastor of Redeemer’s A.M.E. Zion Church in Plainville.
Bristol NAACP President Lexie Mangum said the goal of the banquet is to recognize the most influential African American men and women from Bristol, Plainville and other surrounding towns.
“We want to bring light to what some people are doing in town—just a way to say thank you,” said Mangum, who will be honored during the banquet. “It’s the unsung heroes you never hear about.”
This year’s honorees include: Plainville historian Gale Williams; Phyllis Tucker of Thomaston Savings Bank; Julius Aboagye of the African Heritage Collection; Sally Miller, president of Plainville AARP; Dayna Snell, executive director of Queen Ann Nzinga Center, Inc., professional photographer Taffie Ann Bentley; Dr. Marc Henderson of Posner, Henderson & Goslee Dentistry; Todd Smith of the Older Members’ Association, Bristol Central High School educator Reinhard Walker; Bristol civic organizer Thaddeus Singleton; Lt. Stephen Tavares of the Bristol Police Department; Francine Coleman, executive director of the Wheeler YMCA in Plainville; Jocelyn Bush, a licensed marriage and family therapist in Bristol; Al Floyd, CEO of Floyd Manufacturing in East Berlin; ESPN men’s basketball analyst and motivational speaker Malcolm Huckaby; Tim Camerl, first vice president of Bristol NAACP and member of HRA Board of Directors; community activists Olga Callender, Frank Robinson, Irene Singleton and Dorothy Brooks; and Bristol Eastern High School educator and coach Anthony Floyd.
Established in the 1960s, the Bristol NAACP has been currently going strong with 120 members in its chapter, said Mangum. Over the past year, the Bristol NAACP has collaborated with community partners like Bristol Hospital and the Bristol Police Department to hold forums about topics like preventing heart disease and strengthening relations with police officers. On Monday, Nov. 6, the chapter will team up with Bristol Hospital again to hold a forum about mental health.
“It has improved the relationship with the community,” said Mangum, noting how proud he feels to see the Bristol NAACP’s partnership with the police department.
Looking ahead, Mangum said the chapter hopes to focus on inspiring more minorities to get involved with city boards and commissions.
“Our main focus is getting more minorities in city government and education. We’re still trying to get people to put the time in make sure they’re represented across the board,” said Mangum, adding how the chapter also has focused on increasing voter registrations.
The Freedom Fund Banquet will take place on Friday, Oct. 27 at Nuchie’s, 164 Central St., Forestville. The event will kick off with a social hour at 6 p.m., followed by the banquet at 7 p.m. Tickets are $75 a person and $40 for children ages 12 and under.
For more information, contact Lexie Mangum at (860) 202-9965.
Comments? Email lcapobianco@BristolObserver.com.