58th Annual Freedom Fund Banquet

On November 13, 2021, The Coatesville Area Branch of the NAACP recognized three outstanding members of the Greater Coatesville community at the 58th Annual NAACP Freedom Fund Banquet.

The Pathfinder Award honors those individuals who have created a path for others to follow and whose efforts have been ongoing and consistent within the community. There were two awardees this year. Dr. Eugenia Roberts was recognized for her distinguished service to the greater Coatesville Community. Throughout the Coatesville Area School District and beyond she has promoted and created programs that produce positive change through education. Her dedication has transformed the lives of countless students in our community. In her acceptance speech she challenged listeners to resist discouragement and complacency. If it can be conceived, it can be achieved.

Mr. Earl Johnson was recognized for his distinguished service to the greater Coatesville Community spearheading the Annual Martin Luther King’s Men’s and Young Men’s Breakfast as a mechanism for mentoring our youth, and for his decades-long work with the Coatesville Memorial Community Center, the Cheyney Alumni Association, and beyond. In his acceptance speech he celebrated family and friends recalling the history of the Coatesville NAACP encouraging the community to be a part of the NAACP movement.

The Pillar of the Community Award honors those who have toiled tirelessly often without fanfare for years in their chosen passion and recognizes an individual in the community who is a positive role model. They are an example of how to live with integrity, optimism, hope, determination, and compassion. This year’s award went to Elder Roland Holmes, Jr. for his overall dedication and devoted service to the community and for his outstanding, life-long leadership in music education for youth and adults in the greater Coatesville area and beyond. In his acceptance speech he challenged listeners to follow their gifts and talents waling in them with humility and purpose.

The inaugural President’s Diamond Award was presented to Kathleen Coleman-Smith, a charter member of the NAACP Coatesville branch Youth Committee. Her commitment to the mission of the organization is evidenced by her lifelong involvement. While making a name for herself in the Philadelphia Police Department, she continued her involvement through her leadership in that chapter most notably as Chairperson of the ACT-SO committee.

Awards were presented by a distinguished group of community members including Bryant Chavous, CASD, retired, The Hon. Harry Lewis, Teresa Eze, VAMC, Rev. Randall Harris, and Kenneth H. Bond. “We are pleased to recognize these community members,” says President Kenneth Bond. “We are honored to honor them for their contributions – especially to the youth in our community.” The crowd was motived by Rev. Kyle Boyer of Tabernacle Baptist Church to find inspiration in the simple things. Later the theme of inspiration was punctuated by a musical selection of “Ride On, King Jesus!” by the First Calvary COGIC Ensemble. The program also highlighted the NAACP’s commitment to unity and youth with performances by National ACT-SO Medalists pianist Jadon Heath – Music Instrumental Classic and Contemporary (Philadelphia NAACP), Lunden McClain – Poetry Performance (Greater Harrisburg Area NAACP), and the Lincoln University Concert Choir under the direction of Dr. Camilla Horne performed a choral arrangement created specifically for the NAACP Coatesville Area Freedom Fund Banquet.
“While these events are traditionally attended by older adults,” said Karol Smith-Williamson First Vice President and ACT-SO Chairperson, “we are delighted by the number of youth that participated on the program and served as hosts at the event. Their contribution cannot be overstated.”

“The Banquet began as a virtual event and by popular demand, it became an in-person one,” said Rev. Randall Harris, Freedom Fund Banquet Chairperson, “we so appreciate the support of our elected officials, businesses, NGO’s, the community and our membership.”

The 58th Annual* Freedom Fund Banquet was held on November 13th at 1:00 PM. Please contact the NAACP Coatesville Area branch at [email protected] for more information.

* Recognizes missed 2020 banquet.