State Senator Gary Winfield (D-New Haven, West Haven) offered a call for understanding for African American youth, who rail with passion against discrimination, in his inspiring keynote speech at the 2016 New Britain NAACP Freedom Fund Dinner. The theme for the celebration was, “Our Lives Matter, Our Votes Count”.
Winfield pointed out that we all must stand together and proclaim that African American lives matter. He also noted that we can know that African American votes matter because they would not be stolen if they did not. He pointed out that people in suits do not steal something unless it matters.
Winfield gave a sobering account of his words and those of other legislators of color being discounted when speaking on behalf of communities of color. He spoke of his frustration at still having to argue on questions of equality and justice that should have been resolved long ago, and looked forward to continued advocacy bringing a better future.
Winfield’s keynote speech was part of a program that included poetry by local poet Michaelchief Peterson and scholarships announced by Gerri Brown-Springer.
Senator Terry Gerratana thanked the NAACP for its work in the community, and gave special honors to Art Perry, one of the night’s honorees, for his lifetime of work advocating for working people. Members of two unions Perry was a part of, District 1199 and 32BJ, joined in celebrating Perry’s life at the event.
NAACP New Britain Branch President Ronald P. Davis led the presentation of awards to the twenty-five honorees of the event. The honorees were Dr. Richard Bachoo, Shirley Black, Alton F. Brooks, Tremell Collins, Torrence Conaway, Paulette Fox, Jason Gibson, Carlyle Hinds, Tebucky S. Jones, James Jones, Donna Lee Crockett, Elizabeth N’Konoki-Ward, Arthur Perry, Michael Peterson, Duane Pierre, Emmanuel Sanchez, Nicole Sanders, Darwin Shaw, Suff. Bishop Dale I. Shaw, Sr., Atty. George Springer, Jr., Gerri Brown-Springer, Alicia Strong, John Turner, Kevin Williams and Alphonse Wright.