About 150 people attended the recent 2012 Portage County NAACP Freedom Fund celebration, held at the Kent Student Center at Kent State University.
The 2012 honorees were Leander Walker of Leander's Barber Shop, Community Building Award; Conni Dubick, Education and Social Justice Award; and the Women's Social Club of Kent, honored for Advocacy for Education Excellence.
Youth awardees were El'line Concepcion of Ravenna High School and Salahuddin Habeeb of Theodore Roosevelt High School in Kent.
Past awardees and community groups promoting educational excellence have included the Northeast Ohio College of Medicine, Hiram College and Robinson Memorial Hospital.
NAACP Leadership collaborated with the KSU Human Resources Office of Outreach and Initiatives, Portage County Community Action Council, Portage Area Regional Transportation Authority, Giant Eagle of Ravenna, Mental Health and Recovery Board of Portage County and various university offices.
Greeting guests were Human Resources intern Brayden Fratantonio and KSU employee Renee Romine.
Entertainment included the voices of KSU alumna Nichele Scott and her mother, Natalie Emerald Scott.
The event chairs were Frank Hairston and Dr. Geraldine Nelson.
The Rev. Eddie Renfroe, NAACP president, and Manny Jones, NAACP state second vice president, welcomed the community members, local residents and elected officials in attendance.
James Geisey of the Baha'i Faith of Kent gave the opening prayer.
State Rep. Kathleen Clyde shared statewide updates and gave words of encouragement.
Linda Jordan, clerk of Kent City Council, introduced elected officials.
The guest speaker was the Rev. Ronald Fowler, special assistant to the office of the president of KSU.
Those attending included community members, school administrators, area churches, community organizations and businesses, who came together for a common cause, to support the advancement of the community and to honor local high school scholars, community members and businesses for their efforts and contributions for the betterment of Portage County.
The organizers expressed gratitude to all those attending, those who supported the group by advertising in the commemorative booklet, and all who have continued their dedication to the mission of the NAACP to ensure the political, educational, social and economic rights of all persons and to eliminate racial hatred and racial discrimination.