In keeping up with their reputation of class, culture and dignity, The Los Angeles NAACP Youth Council held their 2008 Men of Valor Awards Luncheon at the Torrance Marriott Hotel on Saturday, June 14.
This annual event culminates a year-long program uplifting and providing outstanding service to others.
The Youth Council honors men in our community who are willing to lend a helping hand to young African American males.
This honor is given to men doing exemplary work, and are positive attributes to the African American Community. The honor is also given by the Youth Council because the honorees’ contribution to society is beneficial to young people as well.
Youth Council members select men in these categories to honor business, legal, education, religion, and other public positions. This gives the youth opportunities to observe leaders in the community and get a chance to hear about their community involvement.
As the program began, over 180 guests were greeted at their tables by Youth Council members handsomely dressed in tuxedos supplied by Tuxedo Plus, located in the Imperial Highway and Crenshaw Plaza, a Black owned business.
The audience enjoyed hearing the bios of the honorees, but more than that, they enjoyed seeing the young men handle the entire program.
After receiving their award, each honoree offered words of praise and encouragement to the youth for doing an outstanding job.
The Youth Council has celebrated approximately 50 or more African American men as ‘Men of Valor’ awardees.
Some of the honorees selected in the past were: Kerman Maddox, James Smith, (recent retired U.S. Post Master); Council Bernard Parks, Judge Greg Mathis, Rev. Cecil Murray, and the list go on and on.
This year, the Youth Council has chosen a quote by Booker T. Washington, as the theme for the 2008 Men of Valor Awards; “Success Leaves Footprints.”
LeVon Wright called the names of twenty-three Youth Council Members.
The 2008 recipients were: Fire Chief Douglas Barry, Superintendent of Schools, David Brewer, TV News Anchor and Journalist, Marc Brown, NAACP Membership Recruiter Charles Burks, owners of the Lucy Florence Coffee Club; Richard and Tonald Harris, Bernard Kinsey, a Philanthropist and business Consultant, Dr. Thomas Tucker, DDS. Rev. Leslie White senior pastor of Grant AME Church.
Austin Hutcherson introduced Fire Chief Douglas Barry, who wore his uniform, and was accompanied by his lovely wife and Captain Hogan. He thanked the youth for the honor and congratulated them for their involvement in the NAACP.
Superintendent David Brewer, III, was very impressed with the performance of the young men and ladies of the Youth Council. He congratulated the youth, the NAACP Branch and the parents for the work they are doing with the youth. Justin May, the newly elected NAACP Youth Council President introduced Marc Brown, Channel 7 News Anchor and Journalist. Justin opted to introduce him because he plans on becoming a Sports Announcer for T.V. in the future. Quinn Hailes used explicit words to introduce Charles Burks, the NAACP Membership Recruiter.
Khalid Stevens is interested in majoring in Business after graduating from high school. He chose to introduce Bernard Kinsey, after reading his impressive bio. Kinsey addressed the audience and applauded the youth for selecting him as a Man of Valor. His wife Shirley also enjoyed seeing the youth take the lead in the program.
Dr. Thomas Tucker, III, was introduced by his Mentee Russell White. White was happy to have the opportunity to introduce his dentist and his Mentor as a Man of Valor. Thirty-six patients and friends of Dr. Tucker, witnessed him receiving his award. His lovely daughters were among the excited crown to applaud Dr. Tucker for thirty-four years of exemplary service in the community. Nicolas Tinson delighted the audience with his introduction of Rev. Leslie White, the proud senior pastor of Grant AME Church. Rev. White’s wife was among the twenty-five Grant members in support of their dynamic pastor.
Many of the NAACP board members were there to support the youth and Mr. Burks.
Dr. Geraldine R. Washington, Branch President was over joyed with the entire program. She congratulated the honorees as she thanked the parents of the Youth Council. She was so impressed with the attendance and the beautiful job that the Youth did in presenting the program.
She also thanked the Youth Council Advisor, Ms. Merelean Wilson for an outstanding job that she has done over the last eight years.
Ms. Wilson was overwhelmed with the choice of honorees, and as always, she expressed her appreciation to the Youth and their supportive parents.
Special thanks were given to Ms. Rene White, Linda Tidwell and Antoinette Kashimbiri for excellent work at the registration desk. Ms. Wilson was extremely proud of all the Youth participants.
The NAACP Youth Council Membership chairperson is Mark Williams Jr.
There are many men in our community, but our young men and women seldom get to know them, however, to expose our youth to positive strong leaders is just another way of showing them that they can become successful in their endeavors.
Freedom Fighters Since 1936
The NAACP believes strongly that future leaders must be developed today, and such development is ongoing in the Youth and College Division.
Today there are more than 30,000 young people representing 600 Youth Councils, High School Chapters and College Chapters actively involved in the fight for civil rights.
The mission of the NAACP Youth and College Division shall be to inform youth of the problems affecting African Americans and other racial and ethnic minorities; to advance the economic, education, social and political status of African Americans and other racial and ethnic minorities and their harmonious cooperation with other people. For more information, call (323) 291-3413, or you may call the Los Angeles NAACP Branch office at (310) 397-1171.