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Nazareth, Pa., United States

Wednesday, March 02, 2016

Bethlehem NAACP's 71st Annual Freedom Fund Banquet

L to R: Esther Lee (Bethlehem), Fred Montgomery
(Allentown) and Bonita Crowe (Easton)
Bethlehem's NAACP, first founded in 1945, calls itself the "eyes and ears" of social justice in the Christmas City and the Lehigh Valley. President Esther Lee, with her bombastic style and church lady hats, is known for contentious town halls and frequent demonstrations on equal rights, education, suffrage, fair housing and other issues affecting us all. But on February 28, the raised fists of the NAACP were holding forks and spoons. Over 250 well wishers of all colors celebrated "the pursuit of liberty and justice for all" at the 71st Annual Freedom Fund Banquet, held at the Meadows.

Lowes L. Moore, Jr.
One of the accomplishments celebrated was the first ever African American secretary to be hired by the Bethlehem Area School District. Latoya Small will work at Broughal Middle School. Superintendent Joseph Roy was among those who congratulated her.

In addition to Dr. Roy, the banquet was also attended by Bethlehem Mayor Bob Donchez, Police Chief Mark DiLuzio and State Rep. Steve Samuelson. All are frequent guests at NAACP panels throughout the year.

Songs, poetry and piano playing preceded keynote speaker Lowes Moore, who graduated from the University of West Virginia and went on to play for several years in the NBA before becoming the Executive Director of the Boys and Girls Club in Mount Vernon, New York, where he grew up.

Winston Alozie
That's basketball country. At least seven of Moore's peers have gone on to play in the NBA. At 6'1", Moore was told he was too small for professional basketball. "It's not about height; it's about heart," he'd answer. During his time as a Division I and NBA baller, "I carried around with me all those who didn't make it."

As much as he loved the limelight, he said that everything he did in college and professional sports set him up for his real life's work - children. Married for 32 years and with four children of his own, Moore brought his wife and a few cousins to the banquet. Admitting that he will never live in a gated community, Moore proudly spoke of each of his four children and mentioned that he and his wife have mentored about 30 children. "God has always provided," he said.

He called the NAACP "an act of love"and added that "[e]very community deserves an Esther Lee."

Bonita Crowe, President of the Easton NAACP, and Fred Montgomery, First VP of the Allentown NAACP, also attended the banquet.

This year's "Distinguished Citizen Award" went to Winston Alozie, Program Director at the Bethlehem Boys and Girls Club. Alozie was also the Banquet's pianist.

Alozie is a 2005 graduate of Freedom High School. In 2010, he earned a degree in developmental psychology from Edinboro University of Pennsylvania.

17 comments:

Anonymous said...

How did you get into this banquet? Were you invited? Did you buy a ticket?

Bernie O'Hare said...

What is your problem? Why are you so fixated on me instead of the event. Yes, everyone was invited. Yes, there was a charge. Yes, I made a donation out of respect for this group. I did not eat bc I was covering the event, although I did drink a soda at one point.

Anonymous said...

WFMZ was on the property -how did they get in .Apparently you were well received, Mrs Lee knew you for sure -The lady is a gift to the community .

Anonymous said...

Many of the young African-Americans no longer see the relevance of some of these old groups. Many support Bernie Sanders while the older blacks support Hillary.

Young people are offended by the use of "colored" in the NAACP as well as "negro" in the College Fund. So they eschew what they consider old holdover terms that have no relevance to the present.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations to Award Winners.

Anonymous said...

Ester Lee was one of the African American leaders who called out
Ron Angle over his racist radio show. If we are not mistaken she got the NAACP to condemn his actions.

She is a leader not afraid to stand up to bigotry.

Anonymous said...

Bernie,
Noon coffee and and an exercise session for the brain mussel¿!)$ On this topic with most of those just wanting to preditorize the inner city way of life by those that make derogitory comments¿!)$ These types just cannot comprehend the the happiness of life¿!)$ Some circus complicite actors call it being a putz while there are others that put it to print as speaking in a hostel manner¿!)$ There is a 10 day grace period as to dispositions pandered to print¿!)$
This very same entity as a whole wouldn't and couldn't survive in the reel world if it wasn't for there pandering of the innocent idigent childrens children preditorized upon as meens of tranformational tools¿!)$
redd

Anonymous said...

NAACP = KKK. KKK = NAACP.

It's time to marginalize groups that are based upon racial identity. We should all judge and be judged on the content of our character and not the color of our skin. All lives matter.

Peter J.Cochran said...

They were all very nice people at this event. I just wish the NAACP national would address issues to improve the constituency. Fatherless households, firearms carried by unauthorized persons and education . Education in the sciences and math and chemistry,not basket weaving . I wish the group would get to self improvement groups that render achievement within.Some of us want others to excel,have integrity and self respect. Philadelphia presently has had a epidemic of shootings as I write this , and they are not on the 'mainline' ThIS issue can easily happen here.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Peter, It was good to see you there, sporting your Sunday best.

Peter J.Cochran said...

Berie that was a borrowed suit,and the Swain School tie was free .

Peter J.Cochran said...

Bernie , I can't help to think about General Ronald Bailey-USMC who is a Marine Corps General an Afro-American ,combat veteran and the present J-3 plans and operations and reports to only the Joint Chief of Staff --a BLACK MAN he has excelled and distinguished himself . He was the first BLACK -Afro-American to command the FIRST MARINE DIVISION in history of the Marine Corps. HE known me, and I know him. Wonderfull man ,setS example for extreme integrity .

Anonymous said...

I get it now...... Bernie O'Hare and Bernie Sanders... Coincidence???? Lol

What I find to be wow this doesn't sound right is in 2016 thinking that the first black secretary is progress? Its 2016 for gods sake and this is Bethlehem PA not some back woods redneck place in 1950.

Anonymous said...

"He was the first BLACK -Afro-American"????????
Dude really???

Black -Afro-American?? Can you get any more strange? Do you still live in 1964???

Peter J.Cochran said...

anon3.16 Yes, You could be an Afro-American WHITE MAN if you were white and came to America from Africa ---A white Man can be an Afro-American from Capetown SA easily.I have atleast beem there ,,,,had dental work .I'm not completely stupid.

Anonymous said...

Afro-sheen?? You be a white boy thru and thru.

It is African American not
Afro.

Peter J.Cochran said...

Yes Anon 5;25 I apologize, The 'Afro' term my be as result if my dementia onset -I mean no harm .