The Evanston/North Shore Branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People held its 51st Annual Freedom Fund Banquet on Nov. 21 at the Evanston Country Club. Approximately 225 people attended.

“After 106 years of being the ‘tip of the sword,’ the NAACP continues the fight for justice, fair treatment and equality,” said George P. Mitchell, president. “We are needed now, more than ever. The political climate in this nation requires our diligence and growth to continue to be effective advocates. We are pursuing liberty in all aspects of American life.

“Much of our society’s gains have been at the thrust of the NAACP, locally and nationally. Now is the time to be engaged in the struggle for change and challenge to existing injustices.”

A theme of many of the speakers was that the NAACP was needed now more than ever.

At the banquet, the NAACP presented community service awards to Naomi Ruth Cohen Institute for Mental Health Education for “its continued support for mental health for all people;” to Pastor Monte L. G. Dillard, Sr., pastor of the First Church of God Christian Life Center in Evanston, for “his service to the Evanston greater community;” to the Evanston RoundTable for “its diligence in reporting important community news;” to Alana Amaker, a counselor at Evanston Township High School, for “her dedication and inspiration;” and to Alexis Harris-Dyer, a sophomore at ETHS who has engaged in many service projects, with encouragement “to continue on the path to success.”