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July 19, 2018

11/29/2017 4:35:00 PM
'Way-Down-Home-Funky Blues' at the NAACP Banquet
By Mary Helt Gavin

At the annual Freedom Fund Banquet of the NAACP Evanston/North Shore on Nov. 18, Reverend Wendell Anthony of Fellowship Chapel in Detroit entertained and challenged his audience with a sometimes-serious and often biting rendition of the “way-down-home-funky blues” – the political scene in this country in 2017.  

“When they pull resourced from your community and blame you for the poor condition of your community, you get the way-down-home-funky blues,” Dr. Anthony said. He said the U.S. Supreme Court case Shelby County v. Holder is “a bitter and distasteful example of voter suppression,” and added there are 99 bills in 31 states aimed at voter suppression. “It appears we are in the Second Reconstruction,” he said.  Noting the emphasis on diversity here and elsewhere he said, “Diversity doesn’t mean anything if it doesn’t result in equity.”

In his printed message, NAACP Evanston/North Shore President Michael Nabors wrote, “There is an attempt to deconstruct human and civil rights gains that raised our nation to one of the most civilized on earth. Immigration reform is a baseless attempt to keep people of color out of our nation and out of the voting booth. Public education reform is an effort to prevent students of color (and poor students, no matter their color) from receiving quality, first-class education the same as student in charter and voucher schools.”

Nonetheless, he said to the audience of about 300, “I believe that Evanston is nothing less than a paradigm and a model for what a loved community can be about."

Honored with Community Service Awards were Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc., Skokie Mayor George Van Dusen, Evanston Township High School student Nolan Robinson, City of Evanston Long-term Care Ombudsman Audrey Thompson, and Northwestern University President Morton Schapiro.

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