The Peoria NAACP branch will be hosting its 57th annual Freedom Fund Banquet on Saturday, November 16, 2019 at the Paradice Hotel & Conference Center, in East Peoria. Social hour will begin at 5:30 pm and the Program at 6:00 pm. The theme for this year’s event is “When We fight… We Win.” The banquets keynote speaker is Mark Thompson. A meet and greet reception will follow immediately after.
The Rev. Mark A. Thompson was honored at the 104th Annual NAACP Convention in July 2013 “for 25 years of crusading journalism and outstanding leadership in furthering the work of civil and human rights.”
Mark began his broadcast career in 1988 with Radio One, Inc. under the guidance of Cathy Hughes. As a Georgetown University freshman undergrad in 1985, he organized the shantytown which led to the University’s divestment from apartheid South Africa.
While he was a correspondent for the Georgetown student newspaper, his editors at The Hoya resisted calls to censor his coverage of South Africa despite pressure from Reagan Administration upon university officials. Also, while at Georgetown, he worked with one of his mentors, Men’s Basketball Coach John Thompson, Jr., as a Manager for the Hoyas.
Later matriculating to the University of the District of Columbia, he was organizer and spokesperson for KIAMSHA, the 1990 eleven-day student protest and boycott, and was named one of the “100 Most Powerful People in Washington” by Regardie’s magazine.
In 1992, Mark teamed with the American Civil Liberties Union, the National Organization to Abolish the Death Penalty, and a young fellow activist by the name of Ben Jealous, who would go on to head the NAACP, to organize and lead a campaign against a Congressionally-imposed ballot initiative forcing the death penalty on the District of Columbia. The “Thou Shalt Not Kill” campaign mobilized voters to defeat the initiative on Nov. 3, 1992.
The following commemorative awards will be presented to four outstanding community leaders; The Harry Sephus Trailblazer Award, The John Gywnn Courage Award, The Don Jackson Game-Changer Award, and the Sam & Jean Polk Humanitarian Award.
Eugene Daniel will be the MC for the evening and musical entertainment will be provided by Rachael Parker and the Manual High School Blues Project. Doniven Hill-Bush the Branch’s first ACT-SO medalist, won a silver medal at this year’s NAACP National Convention held in Detroit, will be performing his winning piece at the Freedom Fund Banquet.
The NAACP is the nations oldest, largest and most recognized civil rights organization, with over a half-million members. The vision of the NAACP continues to be; to ensure a society in which all individuals have equal rights without discrimination based on race.
For ticket information, please go to www.peorianaacp.com or call 309 648-3445.