Dayton NAACP earns top national award for eighth straight year

The Dayton Unit of the NAACP has received the national organization’s top award for the eighth year in a row.

The local organization, led by Derrick Foward, Dayton Unit NAACP president, was presented the Thalheimer Award at last week’s national conference.

“We’ve been able to be recognized nationally eight years in a row with the highest award any unit can receive,” Foward said. “That’s absolutely amazing for a 100 percent volunteer organization.”

The Dayton chapter, which turned 104 years old in May, is one of 2,200 NAACP units across the nation and is the second largest in the state of Ohio.

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Foward credits the local unit’s consistent recognition to its volunteers and active youth programs.

“We’re hitting on all cylinders,” Foward said. “The team gets all the credit.”

That team includes former state lawmaker Tom Roberts, the Dayton Unit’s second vice president, and Te’Nayia A. Bailey, president of the Dayton NAACP Youth Council, who were elected as chairpersons for the NAACP’s seven-state Region 3.

Foward is also continuing to lead the national credentials committee and is the training and compliance officer for the state of Ohio.

The local group’s active programs include the Littlejohn Jr. NAACP Youth Council, named after retired Dayton Municipal Court Judge Bill C. Littlejohn, which seeks to develop leadership skills among children up to 13 years old. The Dayton Youth Council assists people from age 14 to 24, providing they are in post-secondary studies.

The local unit maintains a high school chapter — Move Foward Thurgood Marshall NAACP H.S. Chapter — and has a chapter at Wright State University.

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Foward said this year they sent four students to compete nationally in the NAACP’s Afro Academic Cultural Technological Scientific Olympics, which measures students in 25 categories, including STEM work and performing arts.

Foward said among the highlights from the past year were holding a third job fair, increasing membership, and advocating for the community on local issues, such as photo enforcement cameras and decriminalizing marijuana.

“I’m proud of my entire team for volunteering their knowledge, skills and abilities to enhance the lives of Americans in the Dayton region,” Foward said. “These individuals who give their time and resources, their energy, knowledge and skills for free to help mankind is a noble cause. It’s noteworthy to be praised.”

The Dayton Unit NAACP’s office is open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. daily at 1528 W 3rd St. For more information, visit the website,, or call (937) 222-2172.

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