LIMA — The Lima chapter of the NAACP held its annual Freedom Fund Awards Dinner at Grace Church Worldwide Ministries Saturday night.
The evening featured a dinner and honors for several community members.
Dr. Wilfred Ellis was the keynote speaker. He touched on the history of the NAACP as a national organization and how it’s still relevant today.
“We have a lot of battles still left to be fought and civil rights is extremely important. If we let our guards down, then we will revert back, and we don’t want to go back, we have to go forward,” said Ellis.
Ellis acknowledges the local chapter has been controversial since it’s reformation just a few years ago.
“What hasn’t been controversial nowadays? With the advent of Donald Trump in politics, controversy appears to be the word of the day for organizations. What we have to do is look beyond the controversy and look for the goals. We always have to remember that we have to have a viable NAACP and it’s been that way since 1909 and needs to be that way today in the United States and also included in that, Lima, Ohio. Leadership though has to be beyond reproach. We have to make sure that we’re able to be good role models, good examples for our kids to follow because after all is said and done, it is they who have to pick up the mantle and carry on,” said Ellis.
Ellis says much has changed since the civil rights movement of the 1960s.
“Being a young man who’s grown up in Washington D.C., in 1963, [I] was nine years old and I attended the March on Washington. I couldn’t help but attend. It was right in my neighborhood. The importance for race relationships in terms of Lima is that we have to realize this is a different age than what it was back then. The problems we face today are problems with trying to educate our young about how we got to be where we are. A lot has been taken for granted, and if you take it for granted, you don’t get the true understanding about what the struggle was. Have you even be considered attending a school with other people from the other ways to even do something as simple as use a bathroom that doesn’t say “For Whites Only” or “Coloreds Sit Here”? Our children don’t know the history, and they need to learn that history and they need to learn it well because if you don’t learn your history, it has a tendency to come back,” said Ellis.
Recognized during the event were The Bradfield Community Center, Jamie Dixon, 5th Ward Lima Councilor, Derry Glenn, 6th Ward Lima Councilor, Ellis, Dr. Jonah O. Ukiwe, Dr. F.O. Oruma and Charles Latson, a gospel musician from Fourth Street Missionary Baptist Church.
Reach Sam Shriver at 567-242-0409.