Council members Sharon Green-Middleton, William Welch, Tessa Hill-Aston, NAACP president and Councilman Nick Mosby. (Photos by Anderson Ward)

More than 500 people gathered together for the Baltimore City NAACP Annual Freedom Fund Banquet, Nov. 7, at Martin’s West. The banquet is the largest fundraiser held by the organization each year.

The evening kicked off with the President’s Reception for honorees, Baltimore NAACP Board Members, special guests and corporate sponsors.

The Master of Ceremonies was Elder Anthony McCarthy, host of The Anthony McCarthy Show on public radio WEAA 88.9 FM.

“Each year this event gets better and better and we really appreciate the support we get from our Executive Board, members and corporate sponsors,” said President Tessa Hill-Aston.  “But this banquet is also about honoring the extraordinary work done by men and women on behalf of equality, justice and fairness,” she added.

The 2014 Baltimore City NAACP honorees were Helen Dale, longtime community and women’s rights advocate; Marshall Klein, owner of ShopRite; Del. Jill Carter, District 41 of the Maryland General Assembly; Carlton Gordon, member of the Baltimore City NAACP Executive Board; Lance Lucas, Technology Business Leader and community advocate; and Patricia Frazier, longtime minority business advocate.

Howard Henderson, CEO, GBUL; Michelle Brown and Rev. Jerome Stephens. (Photos by Anderson Ward)

A special tribute was also paid to and 2014 Baltimore City NAACP Awards were given to several veteran leaders; past Maryland Department Commander Leroy E. Thornton; Command Sergeant Major (Ret.) Wilson J. Thornton Jr.; and Earl William Nesbitt, well-known and longtime veterans advocate was honored posthumously.

A special message came from Vice President Adrian Muldrow calling those in attendance to action.

Baltimore City State’s Attorney-elect Marilyn Mosby delivered a rousing key note speech that had everyone on their feet with her “I am a byproduct of the history and work of the NAACP.” She said, “We have accomplished much but there remains much to be done and we need to be members, supporters and partners with the Baltimore City NAACP.”

President Hill-Aston said she couldn’t have been more pleased with the turn out and the whole banquet. “There was so much energy in the room and many people were congratulating us on securing the 2017 National NAACP Convention for Baltimore. We spend the bulk of the year working on very serious and important issues. It was good to relax, sit back and have a good time for a great cause,” she said.

Among the dignitaries present were Rep. John Sarbanes, the Rev. Jerome Stephens with Sen. Ben Cardin’s Office and Michele Brown, representing Sen. Barbara Mikulski.  In addition to honoree, Del. Carter, Del. Nathaniel Oaks also represented the Maryland legislature. Additional guests included Judge Sylvester Cox, Baltimore City Circuit Court and Lt. Col. Melvin Russell,  Baltimore City Police Department and City Council members Sharon Middleton, Nick Mosby and William Welch.