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NAACP 2007 Freedom Banquet

By Joe Starkey



Personal Responsibility was the key theme of this year’s dinner. The introductory speaker remembered the differences between Detroit in July of 1967 with the 12th Street Riot resulting in martial law, 43 dead and 5,000 homeless when 10,000+ people on both sides of the law made a poor personal choice {{more}} while in Abilene, the Taylor county Sheriff made a personal choice to integrate his department. Abilene was not perfect but that personal choice did not lead to riots.Ms. Felica Mason-Edwards also spoke of personal choices. A choice to abuse or neglect a child that results in the child having only a garbage bag to load what they can of their old live and leave their home. Last year in Texas alone, the child protective services investigated over 163,000 cases with greater than 41,000 proven instances of child abuse or neglect. Here in Region 2 , there are 620 children in foster care of which 122 are Afro-American. Texas has a higher percentage of black children removed from their homes and a lower percentage of these children reunited with their families and thus a higher percentage of children who age out from a foster care situationShe showed us the goals for this year. 1. More youth placed with kin. 2. Increase the cultural competence of CPS staff at all levels. 3. More community involvement. 4. More foster and adoptive homes. They are trying to establish faith based foster care as a ministry in congregations. In 2007, they placed more than 158 children in such groups and achieved 16 adoptions from faith based ministries.Their Kinship Care Program has the purpose of providing children of abuse with love and care in a familial setting. This means finding a grandparent or aunt and uncle that will take in the child so they remain with family. The state has some funding to help these families bring in another child and hopes to increase the amount this year.These programs are necessary as the community of 30-40 years ago has frayed and the people are no longer as open and caring. After the program, we discussed that it is easy to gather 20,000 or more Texans in a pro-life rally while almost impossible to get these same people who demand that all conceptions go to full term births to provide homes for these new babies or even money for their care. If you can not adopt an abused or neglected child, there are other ways you can help. There is a program called “Adopt a case worker” where you give moral and physical support to the case workers trying to deal with 50 or more children. You can support a “Rainbow Room” that gives the children a place of safety and comfort. Donate your time and money and volunteer to local agencies. And everybody should become more aware of child abuse/neglect issues and advocate on behalf of children.She ended by telling us that “only you can make a difference. Step up and take charge.”Mr. Petty Hunter ended the program with recognition of the Jackson Family for their long term participation in the foster care program. The Carver Teens were applauded for organizing a campaign against drugs in their neighborhood. And Ms. Crystal Wiley thanked for her acapelo solo that entertained during dinner.

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