Dr. Mendez wins Minister of the Year Award from N.C. NAACP conference

Dr. Mendez wins Minister of the Year Award from N.C. NAACP conference
October 15
00:00 2015

NAACP supporters and staff members gather from 91 of the 100 counties in North Carolina for the NAACP State Conference last weekend.

By Mayeesa Mitchell

For The Chronicle

The 72nd annual NAACP N.C. State Conference concluded on Saturday, Oct. 10 with an address from Attorney Lani Guinier at the Freedom Fund Awards held in the Winston-Salem Embassy Suites Grand Pavillion ballroom.

During the Freedom Fund Awards, the N.C. NAACP recognized the Rev. Dr. John Mendez of Winston-Salem with the Minister of the Year award, Rep. Larry Hall with the Political Trailblazer award and fourth Vice President of the Board Courtney Patterson with the District Director of the Year award.

Barber presented President’s Awards to Linda Sutton, of Winston-Salem, and Kim Porter for community organizing in the fight for voter’s rights, Leroy Lewis for his dedication as part of the security team for many years and the Rev. Gatewood for his dedication to the American Journey for Justice.

Additionally, Mitchell County NAACP was recognized as New Branch of the Year. Jessica Frank was recognized as Youth of the Year. Griffeth Chapel AME Zion in Burnsville, North Carolina was recognized as Church of the Year.

Guinier, an attorney, author and professor best known for her principal stand after being nominated for assistant attorney general for Civil Rights in 1993, spoke to the audience of NAACP staff members and supporters from 91 of North Carolina’s 100 counties about a theory called ‘the miner’s canary.’

“When the canary gasps for breath, it is not a call to fix the canary,” explained Guinier. “Because the canary’s respiratory system is more vulnerable, when the canary has difficult breathing, it alerts others to the growing toxicity of the atmosphere in the coal mines. Thus, the goal is to fix the atmosphere in the mines to benefit the miners as well as the canary.”

The Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, president of the N.C. State Conference of the NAACP and a member of the national Board of Directors, said of Guinier’s unconventional speech that “they invited a professor and let her teach.”

During the night, Barber informed the audience about upcoming events, such as the anniversary of the 13th amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which freed slaves in the United States, in December and the 10th Mass Moral Monday rally on Feb. 13.


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