NAACP to host MLK gala Jan. 28 at Mill Race Center

The Columbus/Bartholomew County Area Branch of the NAACP will host its annual Martin Luther King Jr. Remembrance and Awards Gala from 7 to 11:30 p.m. Jan. 28 at at Mill Race Center, 900 Lindsey St. in Columbus.

The guest speaker for the event is Dennis Bland, the executive director of the Indianapolis Center for Leadership Development. The theme for the evening, “I Am the Dream,” will focus on youth in the community, and the NAACP will invite 25 young people to attend. Tickets, which cost $55, are available now, can be purchased through Eventbrite.

IUPUC, which will be partnering with the chapter, will award its Diversity Awards at the event.

The NAACP will award community awards in the following categories: NAACP Outstanding Citizen Award (2022 awardees were Paulette Roberts and Ron Thompson), Outstanding Business Award (2022 awardees were Trainer Connect and Cabrina’s Safe Haven), Outstanding Athlete (2022 awardee was Jaxson Scruggs), Outstanding Student (2022 Awardee was Zacaria Scruggs), NAACP Distinguished Service Award (2022 awardee was Roxanne Stallworth) and the NAACP Distinguished Service Award (2022 awardee was the Heritage Fund of Bartholomew County).

The NAACP was founded in 1909 in response to the ongoing violence against Black people around the country. It is the largest and most pre-eminent civil rights organization in the nation. For more than a century the NAACP has worked to ensure the political, educational, social, and economic equality of rights of all persons and to eliminate race-based discrimination.

The local chapter was formed Dec. 8, 1968, and its role has included everything from helping to push to establish the King holiday as a day off for Bartholomew Consolidated School Corporation schools to building bridges of trust between Black residents and Columbus diverse population.

Organizers and leaders have long said that the chapter must remain vigilant about matters of equality even when considerable advances have been made in opportunities for Blacks and other minorities.

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