“Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan greets Senator Elizabeth Warren as Rev. Dr. Wendell Anthony looks on at the 62nd Annual Fight for Freedom Fund Dinner.” (Photo by HB Meeks/Tell Us Detroit)







  Powerful women deliver their message at the 62nd Fight for Freedom Fund Dinner in Detroit

By Karen Hudson Samuels and Wendell Bryant
Tell UIs Detroit

DETROIT (Tell Us Det) - The powerful voices of U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren and U.S. Congresswoman Maxine Waters brought thousands to their feet at the Annual Fight Freedom Fund Dinner at Detroit’s Cobo Conference Center Sunday evening.

Delivering the keynote address, Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) spoke to the “ugly truth” of the new era, “Yes the system is rigged, rigged for the rich” adding that “Systemic racism has restricted opportunities...Powerful people see roses but don’t feel the thorns.”

The plain talk said Warren was intended to send the message that “We know what’s going on” and that righteous voices will not be silenced in the face of social justice, or by an administration that would appoint Jeff Sessions as the Attorney General of the United States.

Warren recounted how Republicans voted to silence her during congressional hearings on Jeff Session’s nomination. The Senator explained she was cut off while attempting to read a letter written in 1968 by Coretta Scott King, the widow of Martin Luther King Jr. criticizing Jeff Sessions as nominee to be a federal judge.

In the letter Senator Warren said Mrs. King wrote that Sessions has used the powers of his office to intimidate and frighten elderly black voters. “We will not be silent!” said Warren, to roaring applause.

The Honorable Maxine Waters (D-CA, 43rd District) was the recipient of the James Weldon Johnson Lifetime Achievement Award. She inspired the audience in speaking the words of Weldon’s Negro National Anthem "Lift Every Voice and Sing" that we will “March on until victory is won.” In an evening that made tribute to women, Waters is the most senior of the 12 serving African American women in in the U.S. Congress. A lifetime of service has earned Waters the reputation of being one of the most powerful women in politics today, millennials have dubbed her their “Rock Start”.

Sally Yates, former Deputy Attorney General Sally under President Obama and was awarded the Mary Church Terrell Freedom and Justice Award. During her time as Deputy Attorney General Yates led criminal justice reform initiatives

Local Southwest entrepreneur Jane Garcia was honored with the Ida B. Wells Freedom and Justice Award. The community development activist the board chair the Latin Americans for Social and Economic Development (LASED) and a member of Detroit’s Board of Water Commission.

Greetings for the evening were delivered by Dan Gilbert, chairman of Quicken Loans and Rock Ventures. And Rory Gamble, Director of UAW Region 1A. Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan along with the Michigan’s elected officials serving in Washington also delivered welcoming remarks including U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow, U.S. Senator Gary Peters and U.S. Congressman John Conyers and U.S. Congresswoman Brenda Lawrence.

Rev. Wendell Anthony, president of the NAACP Detroit Branch said of Warren, "She is a Senator without a need for any kind of introduction. She is a firebrand. She is a people’s person. She’s concerned about all the things we are concerned about: Health care, education, finance, foreign policy, so she is the right person for this task at the right time.”

Maxine Waters, the fiery Democrat from California, the senior African-American woman serving in Congress, the woman who inspired the #BlackWomenAtWork hashtag after a sophomoric attack by Bill O’Reilly, was also in attendance at the dinner. Waters received the James Weldon Johnson Lifetime Achievement Award at the event.

The Fight For Freedom Fund Dinner of the Detroit Branch NAACP was launched in April 1956 under the leadership of Branch President Edward M. Turner, Arthur L. Johnson and Dr. Lionel F. Swan, co-chairman. Today, The Fight For Freedom Fund Dinner is the largest sit down dinner of its kind in the world. Serving approximately 10,000 guests with a first class meal, world-class entertainment, and some of the world’s renowned keynote address speakers.










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