By Lynn R. Mitchell
During Staunton’s 67th Annual NAACP Freedom Fund Dinner last weekend, Councilwoman Andrea Oakes, who has been a member of the NAACP since 2000 and serves on their executive committee, welcomed the crowd that met at Covenant Presbyterian Church. Former Staunton City Councilwoman Rita Wilson returned to her hometown from Richmond to act as MC in a room full of familiar faces.
Councilwoman Oakes’ welcoming remarks:
Good evening. I am NAACP member Andrea Oakes and on behalf of the Staunton Branch NAACP, I would like to welcome all of you here today.
This may seem like just another Freedom Fund banquet but it is not. Our gathering is an opportunity to come together as one voice to say it is time the right thing is done for all. This is 2014 and we all still have not reached the ultimate goal of embracing diversity in every facet of life. Even during the times of when the scriptures were being written the right thing was recognized. It is written in the Book of John, chapter 7, verse 24, “Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.”
Again, it is 2014 and we still face challenges … challenges that should be at this point a dark memory. So let us abolish the school of thought, “Equal, but Separate,” once and for all in our society. The last time I checked, there is only one race … the human race.
So this evening let us be that voice, let us be that example, that people from all walks of life can come together and show love and support for each other. Let us rejoice in each other’s success and not revel in one another’s demise. Let us help raise each other up to our full potential and if we truly do not care for the one sitting next to us, let it be because of the characters only.
I leave you with the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. “We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools.”
Once again, we welcome all and we hope you enjoy your evening.
Among those who attended the dinner were members of city council as well as Police Chief Jim Williams and members of the city school board.