By Wesley Wells
NAACP National President and CEO Derrick Johnson will be the keynote speaker this year at the annual Lee County/Tupelo NAACP Freedom Fund Banquet. The event will take place on Saturday, December 18, 2021 at the BancorpSouth Conference Center in Tupelo.
“It is an honor to have the National President, Mr. Derrick Johnson, as the keynote speaker for our NAACP Freedom Fund Banquet this year,” said Pastor Charles Moore, Lee County NAACP President. “I admire and respect his dedication to the mission of this great organization.”
Moore wouldn’t take total credit for landing the busy Johnson to Tupelo.
“It was a few things that played an integral part in Mr. Johnson’s acceptance of our invitation to the event,” he said. “One being, his communication with our NAACP Membership Chair, Ms. Chevelle Champ, who is currently one of the participants in the Mississippi Black Leadership Institute, a program President Johnson and Representative Bennie Thompson Co-Founded. She reached out to him during one of the sessions and he accepted.”
Having Mississippi ties was another factor that didn’t hurt. Johnson is the former head of the Mississippi NAACP.
“President Johnson has a personal connection to the people of our state and the issues that impact our lives,” Moore added. He understands the gravity of his leadership, which began in the state of Mississippi. In essence, we were in “the right place” at “the right time.” As a first-term local NAACP President, I am elated to be given an opportunity to be on the same stage with the National NAACP President and CEO of the largest civil rights organization in America.”
Nettie Davis to be honored
Longtime Tupelo City Councilwoman Nettie Davis will be honored at the event for her service to the community. Davis was first elected to the council over 20 years ago and has been instrumental in the rapid growth of the city.
“The honor is long overdue,” Moore said. “Mrs. Nettie has given 20 years plus of her life serving our community in various capacities. As a young adult, Mrs. Nettie began her charge to actively seek fairness for all individuals as a civil rights activist. She stood firm on her beliefs and never wavered when addressing a cause she believed in. Mrs. Nettie’s dedication and persistence to be the change agent in her community landed her the respect of her constituents, local and state officials,”
“As Councilwoman, Mrs. Nettie has organized community events to bridge the gap between wards, been an active leader in improving race relationships within our city government, and led the charge to revitalize her ward,” Moore added. “Moreover, as an educator for many years, Mrs. Nettie positively impacted the lives of many children. Her ability to teach, mentor, and engage others are second to none. It is these attributes and tireless work ethic that define her as a person. Therefore, it is only befitting that we honor her for her lifelong contributions and achievements.”
Those interested in purchasing tickets can reach out to banquet chairperson Chevelle Champ at (662) 687-0160. The event kicks off at 6 p.m. with doors opening at 5.