Editor’s note: On Nov. 5, 2011 the Ann Arbor branch of the NAACP held its annual Freedom Fund dinner to honor high-achieving black students. It was keynoted by Raymond Randolph Jr., who participated in the Freedom Rides during the summer of 1961.
Also addressing the audience was Ward 1 city councilmember Sabra Briere. Though The Chronicle did not attend the event, with Briere’s permission, we’re publishing the draft of her speech. We think it deserves a wider reading – as the calendar turns to the traditional season of giving, and as police in more than one city appear to be in a mood to move against Occupy demonstrators.
The official motto of the dinner was: “Building the Future on the Foundations of the Past”
Tonight I’m filling in for the mayor of Ann Arbor, John Hieftje, and for the mayor pro tem, Marcia Higgins. It’s an honor to play your mayor this evening.
I’d like first to remind everyone that tonight we’re not just breaking bread together. We’re celebrating Ann Arbor’s NAACP day, the first Saturday in November. Each year we hold the dinner on this night to remind us of our need to work together.
There are several people in the audience tonight who currently hold office, who have held office in the past, or who would like to hold office in the near future.
If you are a current elected official, please stand. Those who’ve been elected in the past, please join them. And those who are running for office, could you stand too? Let’s applaud their willingness to serve.
I prepared a few remarks, and promise not to speak at length. Tonight’s topic indicates that we are building our future on the foundations of the past.
I take my texts from the speeches of Martin Luther King, Jr.