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Hub NAACP to host annual Freedom Fund Dinner

Banner Staff | 9/3/2008, 7:26 a.m.
Leonard C. Alkins, former president of the Boston branch of the NAACP, will receive the Distinguished Service Award at this year’s Freedom Fund Dinner for his 11 years of leadership in the Greater Boston area. Banner file

The Boston branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) will hold its annual Freedom Fund Dinner next Thursday evening, Sept. 11, 2008, at the Seaport Hotel in Boston.

The event’s theme this year is “The Civil Rights Movement: Looking Back, Moving Forward.” The evening is scheduled to include a traveling exhibit on the life and times of W.E.B. Du Bois, the civil rights pioneer who served as editor-in-chief of the NAACP’s Crisis magazine for more than 20 years.

“The 2008 Freedom Fund Dinner will be the springboard to explore the remnants of discrimination and inequity that remain in our society and our institutions,” said Karen Payne, president of the NAACP’s Boston branch. ”We see disparities in health care and education, as well as continued redlining and under-representation in business and political leadership.”

 ”Our goal,” Payne explained, “is to move the dialogue on these and many other issues forward in Boston, while considering ways to impact policy and bring change.”

The NAACP chartered its first branch here in Boston in 1911.

Gov. Deval Patrick will serve as the keynote speaker at the dinner. Karen Holmes Ward, host and executive producer of WCVB-TV’s “CityLine,” will serve as the evening’s mistress of ceremonies.

According to the NAACP, the dinner provides an opportunity to recognize “selfless leaders, corporate citizens and young people who continue to demand more of themselves, our communities, institutions and our country.”

During this year’s dinner, the Boston branch plans to honor Patrick with its Lifetime Achievement Award for his work as assistant attorney general in the U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division and at the NAACP Legal Defense Fund.

Also slated to be honored is Leonard C. Alkins, former president of the Boston branch, who will receive the Distinguished Service Award for his 11 years of leadership in the Greater Boston area.

Andrew Tarsy, chief advancement officer of the Brookline-based educational organization Facing History and Ourselves, slated to receive the Kivie Kaplan Award for his willingness to identify and explore genocide, racism and the plight of the oppressed in all communities. The award is named after Kaplan, a Jewish American businessman from Boston who served as president of the NAACP from 1966 to 1975.

U.S. Sens. Edward M. Kennedy and John F. Kerry join Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino in serving as honorary chairs for this year’s dinner.

For more information on the event and the award recipients, visit www.bostonfreedomfund.org.