Vincents introduction of Congressman Lewis, democratic representative from the state of Georgia, focused on the fact that Lewis is the only living person who marched and spoke with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in 1963. He has endured beatings, arrests and vilification and has fought for equal rights for all citizens of our great country&
Congressman Lewis was honored with the NAACPs Roy Wilkins Lifetime Achievement Award. The Providence Branch also recognized other outstanding leaders and their civil rights achievements in Rhode Island. These awardees were:
James Diossa- Mayor, Central Falls who will receive the Medgar Evers Award
Rossi Harris- Magistrate, RI Family Court who will receive the Thurgood Marshall Award
Melissa Husband- Executive Director, Community Action Partnership of Providence will receive the Martin Luther King, Jr. Award
Alisha Pina- Reporter, Providence Journal who will be presented with the George S. Lima Award
Lisa Ranglin- President, RI Black Business Association will be awarded the Rosa Parks Award
Misty Wilson- DARE, Ban the Box Campaign will be awarded the Ida B. Wells-Barnett Award
Jimmy Winters- Newport Housing Hotline will be awarded the Joseph G. LeCount Award
President Vincents preamble to this years program addressed the growth of the organization over the past three years of his tenure as President. Vincent claims the NAACP Branch membership has increased and the Legal Redress Committee has followed dozens of discrimination complaints. The chapter participated in recruitment drives by the Providence Police & Fire departments and the Department of Corrections; and successfully lobbied with community based groups to achieve Ban The Box legislation, and in favor of Rossi Harris as the first person of color to serve as a Magistrate in Rhode Island Family Court history.
The Chapter recently partnered with the newly established Rhode Island Black Business Association (RIBBA) in hosting a economic development summit and chartered a bus for some 53 Rhode Islanders to participate in the 50th Commemoration of the March on Washington. Vincent stated that the branch was working hard on several issues that impact people of color in particular; among them are repeal of the voter ID Law, payday lending reform, amending the Racial Profiling Law, eliminating the NECAP test as a high school graduation requirement, strengthening the Police complaint process, out of school suspensions and the over 40% unemployment of young adults of color.
Chantee Lans, TV Journalists, WPRI 12, was Mistress of Ceremonies for the event with Cheryl Albright providing vocal inspiration, Edward Hooks provided a history of the Providence Branch, and the introduction of Congressman Lewis by Rhode Island Congressman David Cicilline it was noted that the entire Congressional Delegation was at the head table for this years event honoring US Congressman John Lewis. Michael Rollins and Company provided music for dancing at the sold out event. Congratulations NAACP Providence Branch on another year of dedicated service to the membership and citizens of Rhode Island.