Article from The Philadelphia Tribune Christmas Edition

The Philadelphia Section of the National Council of Negro Women (NCNW) held its 72nd Annual Founder’s Day and Awards Luncheon on Saturday, Dec. 8, 2018. The event was held at Drexelbrook Catering and Special Event Center in Drexel Hill, Pa.

The organization states that it has, “a mission to lead, develop and advocate for women of African descent as they support their families and communities, NCNW addresses issues of human welfare and rights through public education, community service and advocacy.”

Philadelphia Pa. Section President Deborah C. Johnson, extended a warm welcome and expressed appreciation to supporters.

Johnson remarked, “Your valued support enables us to continue such endeavors as our “Free Annual Family Day in Malcolm X Park,” our ongoing involvement with the Mary McLeod Bethune School (the school our Section adopted many years ago), our participation in the “Messages from Mom/Dad Prison Ministry,” our “Annual Coat Drive” and the “Mid-Atlantic Bethune/Height Recognition Program.”

Other officers serving with Johnson are: first vice president, Rhonda Holloway; second vice president, Reba Mur’Ray; recording secretary, Brenda Ashanti; corresponding secretary, Lisa Marie Lee; financial secretary, Anna Thomas; treasurer, Sevena McFadden and assistant treasurer, Lorraine Williams.

Members of the Philadelphia, Pa. Section of the National Council of Negro Women, Inc. (NCNW) strive to uphold the mission of Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune, the organization’s founder, and Dr. Dorothy I. Height, who led the National Council of Negro Women for more than four decades, “to advance opportunities and improve the quality of life for African American women, their families and communities” as the organization states.

The 2018 luncheon theme coincided with that of its national headquarters: “Fortified by the Past, Focused on the Future.”

This event is the largest annual fundraiser held by the section. The event’s awards portion highlights the work and vision of three Philadelphia area women. The group also raises funds for NCNW Philadelphia Section’s programming throughout the year.

Awards were presented to exceptional individuals from the Philadelphia area. The Mary McLeod Bethune Award is named after NCNW’s founder. The organization states: “Dr. Bethune was founder of the currently named Bethune-Cookman University in Daytona Beach, Fla. She was the first highest appointed African-American woman within federal government serving under five American presidents. The section’s Bethune awardee is a woman who has achieved excellence in her work and share like qualities of Dr. Bethune in the realms of education, organizing, and/or social activism. The Dorothy I. Height Award is named after NCNW’s President Emerita. Dr. Height was a civil rights organizer and activist, educator, and NCNW national president for 40 years. The section’s Height recipient is a woman who has made strides in her work as an advocate for African-American women and their families, civil rights, social activism or humanitarian causes. The Philadelphia Section will also grant its NCNW Intra-Council award to a NCNW Philadelphia Section member in good standing and meets other criteria and its Youth award to a deserving Philadelphia County resident and high school student.”

This year, the organization was delighted to honor Dr. Jonanna R. Bryant, recipient of the Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune Award, Rev. Michelle Ann Simmons, recipient of the Dr. Dorothy I. Height Award and Reba Mur’Ray, recipient of the NCNW Intra Council Award. Each honoree was applauded for making a difference and having a positive impact on our community. Congratulations to these outstanding awardees.

Congratulations to the dedicated luncheon planning committee, under the leadership of event chair Dr. Mary White and co-chair April Baidal. Everyone is commended for all that they did to make this day a proud memory for all in attendance. You can follow this organization on Facebook and Instagram @NCNWPhiladelphia.