Saturday, February 21, 2009

100 Years of The Good Fight

There was much to celebrate tonight at the annual banquet of the Monterey County branch of the NAACP in Seaside.

President Barack Obama is in the White House. Ben Jealous, a native son, is the national president of the NAACP. Leon Panetta, long a NAACP supporter, is running the CIA. And Dick Gregory showed up to remind us that sacrifice, activism and humor are not mutually exclusive.

What struck me about the night was how the confluence of talent can have such profound connections. Dick Gregory spent much of the night thanking the NAACP for its influence on his struggles through his life and establishing how its activism forged a new dynamic in American society. The result is Mr. Obama. 

Leon Panetta is now Obama's CIA director. And Jealous, as a young York School student, once served as a page in Panetta's Congressional office.

The celebration at Embassy Suites tonight was much fun, of course. Hal Ginsburg, owner of KRXA-AM radio, was honored by the NAACP with a Spirit of Partnership Award. The organization also presented Herbard Olsen, the omnipresent videographer, with its President Choice Award. And Panetta was presented the group's The Ties That Bind Award. Leon wasn't in town to accept the award, but Sylvia Panetta accepted in his absence.

Congratulations to this year's NAACP local president, Sylvia Waldrup-Quarles.

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