ABOVE PHOTO: State Rep. Donna Bullock, Thurgood Marshall NAACP Justice awardee Baltimore State Attorney Marilyn Mosby, State Rep. Joanna McClinton, and Phila. Branch NAACP president Min. Rodney Muhammad. (Photo: Robert Mendelsohn)
By Patricia Gilliam Clifford
The Philadelphia Branch NAACP hosted its 2017 awards gala on October 13th at First District Plaza in West Philadelphia.
“ We should know now that human progress and justice does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but through the tireless efforts and persistent work of dedicated individuals,” said Minister Rodney Muhammad, Philadelphia Branch NAACP president. “I am grateful to all those of the NAACP.”
Other officers of the NAACP Philadelphia Branch are: Dr. J. Louis Felton, first vice president; Joey Temple, second vice president; Felicia Harris, third vice president; Rochelle Bilal, secretary; Shirley “Pumpkin” Jordan, assistant secretary and Shirley Jordan, assistant treasurer.
This was an especially meaningful year for The Philadelphia Sunday SUN, which celebrated its silver anniversary and the memory and legacy of founder/publisher and Philadelphia civil rights leader J. Whyatt Mondesire on his birthday (October 14th). Mondesire led the organization as Philadelphia Branch and State NAACP President for nearly two decades. A portrait of Mondesire was displayed on the podium during the reception along with other notable civil rights leaders. SUN Publisher Catherine Hicks and fiancée of the late Mondesire, was recognized as a media sponsor of the event. “With the current social climate of discrimination and racism, the SUN will continue to support the important work of the NAACP and its leadership under President Muhammad,” said Hicks who also serves as a committee member for the Philadelphia Chapter.
The well-supported annual event’s theme was, “Justice is the Cornerstone of a New Society.” This year’s distinguished honorees were: Philadelphia NAACP Corporate Citizen, Zed Smith; Community Service Award recipient, Sharon Powell; Thurgood Marshall Justice Award recipient, States Attorney for the City of Baltimore Marilyn J. Mosby, Humanitarian Award recipient, Williams Jacobs, Jr. and NAACP Charles H. Huston Legal Redress Award recipient, Ronald J. Harper, Esq.
NBC10’s Pamela Osborne and Harry Hairston were gala emcees. WURD Radio host Thera Martin also participated in the program.
A “presidential” reception preceded the awards dinner and included remarks by Philadelphia Mayor James F. Kenney. Philadelphia City Councilman Kenyatta Johnson (D- 2nd Dist.) presented a citation to honoree Zed Smith. Smith is Chief Operating Officer of The Cordis Companies based in Baltimore.
Philadelphia City Council President Darrell L. Clarke presented a citation to honoree Sharon Powell and was joined by his mentor, former Mayor John F. Street. Powell is a skilled professional communicator, has held many significant positions and has also worked closely with our community and elected officials.
Honoree Edward Jacobs, Jr. is a proud North Philadelphian. He received great support from many relatives and friends who joined the community in acknowledging the tremendous, selfless work he has done to feed the homeless.
“Recognition by the NAACP is a great observation to be shared with a public in need of knowing that perceived racial injustices will be addressed by the NAACP,” Ronald J. Harper, Esq. said I am pleased to be recognized for providing a needed service for people who have usually exhausted more popular publicly funded support. Man cannot live by bread alone; an award does invigorate”.
Harper was also well supported by a host of family members, friends, professional associates and Zion Baptist Church Trustees, where he serves as board president.
Honoree and keynote speaker State’s Attorney for Baltimore City Marilyn J. Mosby, who was presented with a citation by State Rep. Donna Bullock (D- 195th Dist.), made impassioned remarks.
“As a proud member of the NAACP, I was deeply honored to receive from one of the oldest chapters of the NAACP, the 2017 Thurgood Marshall Justice Award,” said Mosby, the youngest chief prosecutor of any major American city. “It is truly a humbling experience to be recognized in memoriam of a legal pioneer that lit the torch for justice and equality in this country. In the racially divided times in which we currently live, I stand tall on the shoulders of this giant and will continue to fight to ensure liberty and justice for all.”
Congratulations to all 2017 Philadelphia Branch NAACP officers, honorees, members and supporters!