NAACP FIGHT FOR FREEDOM FUND DINNER: Almost 6,000 people joined the Detroit NAACP to host President Joseph R. Biden at its 69th Fight for Freedom Fund Dinner with the organization’s president, Rev. Dr. Wendell Anthony, right, presiding. Program participants included Debra Peek Haynes, founder and president Quorum Commercial, left, Rev. Dr. Freddie Haynes III, pastor of Friendship West Baptist Church in Dallas, Texas and Jamele Hill, American sports journalist. PHOTOS COURTESY OF MONICA MORGAN AND ANDRE SMITH

Detroit, MI – Preserving American liberty must be a priority. Former President of the United States Donald Trump on his Truth Social page spoke of a “unified Reich.” The term Reich reminds one of the Third Reich of Nazi Germany, a time of racial hatred, the holocaust of millions of Jews, and one of the darkest moments in history.

Amidst this rupture in the sanctity of humanity, the Detroit Branch NAACP 69th Annual Fight For Freedom Fund Dinner called for the “Preservation of Sweet Liberty and the Defeat of Bitter Tyranny.” The birthday of Malcolm X, May 19, drew a crowd of nearly 6,000 persons to welcome the 46th President of the United States, Joseph R. Biden.

Senior Corporate Chair Gary Torgow, Huntington Bank Chairman, Community Co-Chair Saunteel Jenkins of The Heat and Warmth Fund, along with Detroit Branch NAACP Executive Director Kamilia Landrum managed the largest civil rights dinner in the country.

The event focused on priorities of the NAACP. Seventy years after Brown vs. Board of Education, May 17, 1954, banning separate but equal education, cities in various states, among them Louisiana, Texas, and Michigan, have already or are attempting to secede from school districts with Black and brown children.

The NAACP focuses on equity in funding and educational opportunity for all. Health expansion is still a major priority. The passing and signing into law the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act remain as high priorities. Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) is not a metaphor for “Didn’t Earn It.”

Thousands of attendees stood and applauded after a song well known in the Civil Rights Movement, “I Aint No Ways Tired” rang throughout the hall.

While standing, President Biden indicated “I am not tired, but I am inspired.”

The Fight For Freedom Fund Dinner serves as a national call to action. A call for peace in the Middle East, a cease fire, more humanitarian aid for Palestinians, and immediate release of all hostages was advocated. The ultimate resolution to this conflict triggered by the attack by Hamas against Israel, Oct. 7, dates back several generations. We believe it resides in a two-state solution where everyone is respected and protected.

America must also work to end the conflicts, deaths from starvation, and violence in Haiti, Ethiopia, Sudan, and the Congo. Too many people from these Caribbean and African nations are victims of human suffering. Many nations around the world simply stand by and observe.


Leaders from labor, faith-based, business, corporate, and community activists attended this historic event. National President Derrick Johnson presented the William Monroe Trotter Freedom & Justice Award to Rev. Dr. Frederick D. Haynes, III of Dallas, Texas, and Sports Journalist Jemele Hill presented the Blue Dais guests and the Ida B. Wells Freedom & Justice Award to Atty. Khalilah Spencer, president of Promote The Vote. Alice Thompson, founder of Black Family Development presented Detroit’s

Spain Elementary Middle School the Great Expectations Award for State and Regional Robotics Champions along with Renaissance High School for National Chess Champions. Black Tech Saturdays was also a recipient of a Great Expectations Award.

A special Presidential Award was presented to U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow for her service to the nation. The senator has decided not to seek reelection.

The James Weldon Johnson Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to President Joseph R. Biden by Rev. Dr. Wendell Anthony. At the conclusion, the words of James Weldon Johnson echoed throughout the hall, “Let Us March On Till Victory Is Won.”