Welcome to the 96th Annual Lincoln-Douglass Banquet. It is an honor to serve as your local & State President. Our Theme for this year is Hat’s Off To Our Legacy! “Honoring Our Local Black History Makers”
Congratulations to all our honorees. Thank you to all the members of the NAACP and the Springfield community for your continued support. Each year appears to be more productive for the members of the NAACP. We hosted several Town Hall meetings and candidates’ forums to educate our community on making wise decisions on Election Day. We have built better community relationship with a diverse group of people. The NAACP demanded that the Department of Justice conduct both a civil and criminal investigation in the LaQuan McDonald police involved shooting.
Our Springfield NAACP members worked with the Prince Hall Grand Lodge Free & Accepted Masons State of Illinois, and members the Fraternity and Sororities to Get out the Vote and provide rides to the polls on Election Day. The NAACP and the American Red Cross continues to work together! Disasters don’t discriminate and neither should WE! It feels great to bring the NAACP leadership back to Springfield where it all started. The theme under my leadership is “One Illinois, One NAACP.” Several times I was interviewed as spokesperson for the NAACP to discuss issues facing the black community by the media. The Springfield Branch received the 2nd Place Membership Trophy at the 2015 and 2016 IL NAACP State Convention. During the State Convention, I presented a workshop titled “Let’s Talk” an open dialogue between NAACP members and Police Chiefs around the state. The goal was to break down the barriers between the black community and law enforcement.
As President, I was honored to receive the 2017 Outstanding Commitment in Community Service Award from Illinois State Treasurer Michael W. Frerichs on February 8, 2017. At the 107th NAACP National Convention in July 2016 I received the “Dr. Ben Hooks, Keeper of the Flame” Labor Award. Springfield Branch hosted organized the Annual NAACP legislative mobilization in Springfield to address issues such as police reform, education, healthcare and creation of jobs.
For more than 25 years I worked with many of you to organize the Annual MLK Unity March and Program in Springfield. This year more than 175 people participated to honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Millennials served on the panel and answered the tough questions about Race Relations in America Today. Thank you University of Illinois at Springfield (UIS) students for making the march successful! This year we acknowledged the civil rights legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. However, many of us felt that we had nothing to celebrate. Under this new administration, civil rights that our parents and grandparents fought for are under attack. Our civil rights in the U.S. have been rolled back and this should serve as a wakeup call for those who sit on the side line and do nothing.
Lastly, I would like to thank you, our families, friends and supporters, both individual and corporate for your support of this endeavor. The proceeds from today’s banquet will help provide scholarships for our young folks and it will also benefit the NAACP Back-To-School/Stay-In-School program.
Please continue to support the Springfield Branch NAACP with your service and financial contributions.
Teresa Haley, President