May 30, 2024

South Brevard Branch NAACP Freedom Fund Banquet

6 min read

Keynote speaker, Dr. Rosalind Osgood. Dr. Rosalind Osgood is a member of the Florida Senate, an author, and a keynote speaker. She is also a workshop facilitator who leads workshops on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, Organizational Health, the Journey of Recovery and Resilience, Women Empowerment, and Public Policy.

Article and photos by Audrey Grayson

The community turned out in large numbers to support the South Brevard Branch of the NAACP annual Freedom Fund banquet. I enjoyed greeting them as I roamed around the room taking photos. I hadn’t seen many of them for a year or more.
The annual Freedom Fund committee included a history of the South Brevard NAACP Branch in their program book. Mr. Eugene C. Johnson compiled a very comprehensive history that I hope will be placed on their website, because it should be shared with the public. Mr. Johnson covered their history from its beginning in 1959 to the present.
Mrs. Josephine Hunter, the Mistress of Ceremony, presided over a program that was inclusive of members of the south Brevard community, including young people. In fact, having the young people included on the program was an example of how the branch gives young people the opportunity to excel, as documented in the Year in Review in the program book.
Three delightful young ladies, Amalea, Arianna & Autumn Levy led the audience in singing Lift Every Voice and Sing, the Negro National Anthem. In addition, Ahmir Hadley, president of the South Brevard Youth Council gave the Welcome and Occasion.
Several other prominent members of the community followed each other to the lectern to deliver greetings. Pastor Dr. Quintin P. Woods, Sr., of Palm Bay’s Mount Moriah Missionary Baptist Church, and Bishop Merton Clark of Truth Revealed International Ministries delivered greetings. Both pastors spoke to the strength required for an organization like the NAACP to sustain itself. Pastor Woods compared that strength to the Three Little Pigs fable. The first two pigs built their houses of materials that were easily destroyed by a hungry wolf; however, the third little pig built his house not only on a solid foundation, but he also built his house out of brick, a much stronger and more substantial material that withstood the wolf’s destructive powers. Pastor Woods used this fable as a metaphor to describe the strength that has sustained this organization for 115 years.
Bishop Clark’s comments also centered around the sustainability theme, i.e., he focused on a strong structure and a firm foundation to ensure the success of any organization. Jesus is our firm foundation. He used ‘firm’ as an acronym to emphasize the strength required for an organization like the NAACP.
‘F’ is for Faith. If we build anything that will last beyond us, we must make sure that faith is in the foundation.
‘I’ is for Investment. Someone poured their resources into the NAACP to make it what it is today. The baton has been passed to us to make a proper investment in organizations like this, particularly, the NAACP.
‘R’ is for Responsibility. I have a responsibility to the generation that he has been called to. To show devotion to him who has called you out of darkness. We have a responsibility to lift every voice and sing.
‘M’ is for Management, stewardship. We must manage this responsibility well. When we leave it, it should be better than it was before we took it. It shouldn’t spoil under our watch; it should be better. Bishop Clark ended by asking the audience to give praise for a firm foundation.
The president of the Central Brevard Branch NAACP, Clarence Whipple, Jr. and William Gary, president of the North Brevard Branch of NAACP encouraged those in attendance who are not members to join their local NAACP branch and be part of the solution.

Prior to the introduction of the keynote speaker, Roberta Glover a member of Mount Moriah Missionary Baptist Church treated us to a great rendition of Without a Song, a very old favorite but still very enjoyable. One of the earliest recordings of Without a Song was by Bing Crosby in 1929. It was also recorded in 1946 by Billy Eckstine, a popular African American at that time. Because of its popularity, the song has been recorded by several major entertainers over the years.
Sharday Hazell Sypher, another representative from the Youth Council and a graduate of Palm Bay High School, introduced the evening’s keynote speaker, Dr. Rosalind Osgood. Dr. Rosalind Osgood is a member of the Florida Senate, an author, and a keynote speaker. She is also a workshop facilitator who leads workshops on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, Organizational Health, the Journey of Recovery and Resilience, Women Empowerment, and Public Policy. She is a Faith in Florida Organizer, a Florida Senator for District 32, and an Associate Minister at New Mount Olive Baptist Church. This list represents only a few of this amazing lady’s achievements.
Dr. Osgood holds both a Master’s and Doctoral Degree in Public Administration from Nova Southeastern University. After completing these credentials, she acquired a master’s degree in divinity from the New Orleans Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, accredited by the Association of Theological Schools (ATS). Dr. Osgood is also a graduate of Leadership Florida Cornerstone’s Class 37. The mission of Leadership Florida Cornerstone is to continually discover and convene committed individuals, enhancing and recharging their leadership skills by introducing them to a powerful community through whom they find knowledge and inspiration.
She is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated, the Links Incorporated, the South Florida Forum of Black Public Administrators and a Life Member of the Fort Lauderdale Broward Branch of the NAACP.
Dr. Osgood referenced an excerpt from a popular Bob Marley song during her speech. The excerpt brought to light her strong convictions about democracy. She encouraged attendees to get excited about the coming elections, to open their eyes to today’s political climate where their rights are being taken away, where the survival of our democracy is in question, and the importance of preventing the disappearance of our African American history.
…Get up, stand up
Stand up for your right
Get up, stand up
Don’t give up the fight…
Remember, Your Vote is Your Voice and Your Power!

2023 Year in Review: NAACP South Brevard Branch Unit 5115

As we reflect on the past year, continue recovery from the horrendous impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, NAACP Brevard Branch Unit 5115 has experienced a transformative journey marked by resilience, advocacy, and community engagement. Through various initiatives and events, the branch has tirelessly worked towards its mission of promoting social justice, equality, and civil rights for all.

  1. Community Outreach and Engagement: Reinstate a Village Mentality within the community.
    The year saw an increased focus on community outreach and engagement. The branch organized and participated in numerous events aimed at fostering connections within the South Brevard community. From town hall meetings to educational workshops, the NAACP Unit 5115 worked diligently to ensure that the voices of the community were heard and represented.
  2. Voter Education and Registration: Your Vote is an Important Initiative
    Recognizing the importance of civic participation, the branch dedicated significant efforts to voter education and registration drives. In collaboration with local partners, NAACP Unit 5115 hosted informational sessions, distributed voter guides, and conducted outreach to empower community members with the knowledge and tools to exercise their right to vote.
  3. Social Justice Advocacy:
    The branch continued to be a powerful advocate for social justice causes. Whether addressing issues related to racial inequality, criminal justice reform, or equitable access to resources, NAACP South Brevard Unit 5115 actively engaged in advocacy efforts at the local and state levels. The branch remained committed to challenging systemic injustices and promoting positive change.
  4. Youth Empowerment Programs:
    A highlight of the year was the expansion of youth empowerment programs. The NAACP Unit 5115. AC T-SO. Implemented initiatives to educate and inspire the next generation of leaders. From branch mentorship programs to educational scholarships, the Branch invested in creating opportunities for young people to excel. And become advocates for social change
    5.Collaborative Partnerships:
    Recognizing the strength in unity, the branch actively sought and nurtured collaborative partnerships with other organizations, community leaders, and businesses. By fostering these connections, NAACP unit 5115 enhanced its ability to address multifaceted issues and create a more inclusive and equitable community.
  5. Cultural and Educational Events:
    Throughout the year, the branch hosted a series of cultural and educational events that celebrated diversity and enriched the community’s understanding of African American history and culture. These events served as platforms for dialogue, learning, and fostering a sense of unity among community members.
    As we close the chapter on the past year, the NAACP South Brevard Branch Unit 5115 stands as a beacon of hope and activism in the pursuit of a more just and equitable society. The accomplishments and strides made over the past 12 months lay a strong foundation for the continued work ahead. The branch remains steadfast in its commitment to advancing civil rights and promoting social change for the betterment of South Brevard and beyond.
    President Bennie Jackson, Jr.

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