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Steve Smith
Guests look on at the Barstow NAACP Branch's 14th Annual Awards and Unity Banquet Saturday at the Ramada Inn.

NAACP banquet recognizes contributors

Keynote speakers address minority issues

Staff Writer

BARSTOW • Essie Jackson will tell you attitudes toward minorities still exist in modern America. The Barstow NAACP branch president moderated keynote speeches during the branch organization’s 14th Annual Awards and Unity Banquet Saturday recognizing community member contributions.

“We usually take a question from the current issues that would be conducive to what our organization does,” she said, speaking of the keynote topics.

Elder David Norman from the Church of God and Christ and Ryan Beal took turns addressing the crowd of approximately 75 at the Ramada Inn.

A main topic of this year’s banquet was the perceived voter suppression in the November election which Jackson said affected not just people of color, but lower-income adults, senior citizens and the disabled as well.

Through more sophisticated tactics than in year’s past, Jackson said lawmakers in some states intended to place “barriers” in front of this segment of people in order to make it more difficult for them to vote.

Some of these barriers, she said, included challenging voter eligibility, cutting back early voting, asking for IDs and placing billboards with ominous warnings that read “Voter Fraud is a Felony” in poor and minority neighborhoods which had not previously been subject to such allegations.

The banquet, which is the branch’s biggest yearly fundraiser, will use the money raised from the event to help keep the branch viable and provide scholastic awards.

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