Dayton Unit NAACP wins national awards

The Dayton Unit of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) received national recognition during the 113th National Convention in July in Atlantic City, N.J.

For the ninth year in a row, the Dayton Unit NAACP won two national awards named after the late Ross Thalheimer, a philosophy instructor at John Hopkins University, a philosophy and sociology instructor at the University of Washington and president of the Thalheimer Foundation. Thalheimer awards recognize branches and state/area conferences for outstanding work in strategic priorities and goals mandated by the national board of directors.

The Thalheimer Award for Programs and the Thalheimer Award for Publications were presented to Derrick L. Foward, Dayton Unit president.

Foward said it was humbling to be recognized from 2,200 NAACP local units across the country by peers for the work done in Dayton.

“It’s because of the loyal and dedicated staff of volunteers, citizens of Montgomery County and various businesses and corporations that support our efforts every year that we are able to sustain this type of performance,” he said.

The Dayton Unit’s voting delegates who attended the convention were Foward; Mattie P. White, 1st vice president and community coordination chair; Willie A. Terrell, Jr., 3rd vice president and scholarship chair; Clair M. Thompson, secretary; Tiwona L. Branham, treasurer; Ayo O. Ogunduyile, international affairs chair; Chris R. Cortner, labor and industry chair; Lu Dale, Freedom Fund chair; Arnetta G. Gary, GOTV member and office volunteer; and Willie Love, member.

Tom Roberts, 2nd vice president, attended in his role as state president of the Ohio Conference NAACP, and Claudia L. Mason, former Armed Services and Veterans Affairs chair, attended in her role as state youth and college advisor of the Ohio Conference NAACP.

The Dayton Unit NAACP was able to ensure that members and advisors of the Littlejohn Junior NAACP Youth Council (Ages 1-13); Dayton NAACP Youth Council (Ages 14-24); Move Foward Thurgood Marshall NAACP High School Chapter, and Central State University NAACP College Chapter, all received civil and human rights training and development at the NAACP 113th National Convention.

Prior to the convention, the National Afro-Academic Cultural Technological Scientific Olympics (ACT-SO) Competition was held. The Dayton Unit NAACP sent Richael Saka, rising senior at Columbus St. Francis-DeSales High School, who competed in computer science, and Casana Lawrence, rising senior at Stivers School for the Arts, who competed in drawing.

Saka received a National Silver Medal in computer science, and was given the opportunity to sing in the National ACT-SO Choir, and was featured in the ACT-SO Awards Ceremony.

The four-day convention had a theme of “NAACP: This is Power.”

NAACP Chairman Leon Russell was the keynote speaker at the opening event and shared his vision that focused on building relationships with the community partners.

The Dayton Unit delegation also saw Vice President Kamala Harris and Derrick Johnson, president and CEO of the NAACP, speak.