Banquet focuses on right to vote

The right to vote was the focus of the night at the 2nd annual Freedom Fund Banquet themed “Speaking Truth to Power,” held by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

The purpose of the banquet varies from year to year. This year, the money raised goes toward scholarships for NKU students, with two students being presented with scholarship funds for books. The event’s Master of Ceremonies was WLWT-TV Channel 5’s Courtis Fuller, and the keynote speaker was Cincinnati Chapter NAACP President Edith Thrower.

“The theme ‘Speaking Truth to Power’ reflects the ongoing effort of the NAACP has developed to ensure all citizens are registered to vote and for students to exercise their right to vote on Election Day,” said Laila Hameen, president of NKU’s NAACP chapter.

Fuller was a member and supporter of the NAACP long before his move to Cincinnati. He has emceed the Cincinnati NAACP Banquet about 15 of the last 18 years, he said. As one of Hameen’s heroes, he came to lend support to the NKU chapter in its event.

“I’m going to help (Hameen) in any way that I can,” Fuller said.

The presentations of the evening began with the Award for Student Leadership given to NKU student Curtis White, a sophomore psychology major. The Faculty Staff Award was presented to faculty member Stephanie Collins.

“This person is truly one of a kind,” said student Kiyoka Wells, while presenting the award to Collins. “She is a high-spirited, down-to-earth woman.”

The two book scholarships were awarded to Krystolyn Alfred, sophomore secondary art education major, and Pavel Romero, senior secondary education and international studies major,

“I can honestly say that this is a great organization to be a part of,” Romero said.

The evening ended with keynote speaker Thrower. She has been the president of the Cincinnati NAACP chapter and is in the middle of re-election activities. Thrower found it refreshing to see the chapters and councils of college-age students in the NAACP. She also spoke of Cincinnati hosting the 2008 annual NAACP Convention, winning the honor over Las Vegas.

“I’ve never been to a college dinner before,” Thrower said, “and it is an honor to be here, certainly my privilege.”