“Bold Dreams …Big Victories”

The LORD is gracious and merciful;
Slow to anger and great in loving-kindness.
The LORD is good to all,
and His mercies are over all His works.
All Your works shall give thanks to You, O LORD,
and Your godly ones shall bless You.
They shall speak of the glory of Your kingdom
And talk of Your power;
To make known to the sons of men Your mighty acts
And the glory of the majesty of Your kingdom (Psalm 145:8-12)

The N.A.A.C.P. Held its annual awards banquet Saturday evening October 24, 2009 at the Truman Arnold Center at Texarkana College in Texarkana, Texas. The gala event consisted of the “Meet and Greet” occasion a prelude to an extraordinary evening of wonderful cuisine, enchanting music, and the presentations of awards of excellence to six recipients in various categories .The banquet hall was bursting with gaiety, decked in exquisite adornments and the people were dressed to the nines in their finery. The community came out in record numbers offering support and to celebrate the 100th Anniversary of the National Association of the Advancement of Colored People and the 90th Anniversary of the Greater Texarkana Branch.

The N.A. A.C.P. is the oldest and largest civil rights organization whose mission is to ensure the political, education, social, and economic equality of the rights of all persons and to eliminate racial hatred and racial discrimination. More than any other organization in the nation’s history, the N.A.A.C.P.has worked to change this country for the betterment of people of color, women, and the disenfranchised. In addition, the work of this great organization has expanded access to equal opportunities and social justice. Starting when the black citizens were denied the right to cast a vote, to voting in the 2008 historic Presidential Election; a big victory was apparent when voting in the 2008 historic Presidential Election; a big victory ws apparent when an American of African descent became president of the United States of America” . (Melva Flower, Banquet Chairperson)
As I mentioned before the night was extraordinary, there was a heartfelt video from President Barrack Obama congratulating the N.A. A.C.P. on their landmark contribution of hard work and diligent service to the betterment of humanity to mankind; the brilliant dialogue of 11 year old honor student Caleb Washington who aspires to become a neurosurgeon. Young Mister Washington spoke eloquently of the dedication and tenacity he understood would be required to transform his “bold dreams into big victories”. What this reporter felt was most enthralling was Washington’s declaration of faith rooted from Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things thru Christ who strengthens me”…And so the evening transpired into an evening not only of gaiety and celebration of the honorees accomplishments but to one of humble and exalting praise to God .

From speaker to speaker the flow of testimonial praise of God’s goodness was given. From the Master of Ceremony Texarkana , Texas City Councilman Derrick Mc Gary to the Reverend Madison Brown who officiated as spiritual overseer of the ceremony and the honorable mayor of Texarkana ,Texas Steve Mayo who proclaimed Saturday October 24, 2009 as “Sylvester Turner Day” .
"But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength; they will soar on wings like eagles, they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint." (Isaiah 40:31)

The honorable Texas State Representative Stephen Frost introduced the keynote speaker of the evening, the honorable Texas State Representative Sylvester Turner. Turner encouraged young Caleb Washington to never stop having bold dreams in which he spoke of his own personal journey towards becoming a Texas State Representative. Turner who was reared in Acres Homes also reflected on his faith in God, and his life lessons given to him by his father and mother. State Representative Turner lectured on his metaphoric analogy of “a small boat sailing with the big ships” in which he compared his bold dreams in striving for new victories in the political arena. As I listened to State Representative Turner speak I thought of how greatness is birthed out of bold dreams, nurtured by wise instructions and prime examples but only truly manifested when one humbly submits to God and has a genuine love of people . I thought of the first day I began working for Texarkana Community Journal, of the words of Pastor Paul Keener when he gave me his vision, his metaphoric analogy of his bold dream. Pastor Keener said he saw himself as “a limousine driver and Texarkana Community Journal was the limousine (the vehicle) to help carry people from one place to another to reach their dreams”.

As I sat at the table with complete strangers* a bond of friendship and kinship began to grow. The speakers’ generational praise reports and personal testimonies united us as one; it was our own generational stories being retold. There were different names, different situations but the same struggles, hopes, dreams and the same God’s promises, deliverance and victories. *Lou and Richard Murphy, Jackie Clay, Jean H. Matlock, Joyce Matlock Porter, and I had shared “A Holy Scripture Night of Praise”. As I looked about the banquet hall I saw that rapport was contagious and there was an overwhelming joy of we the whole community were celebrating where our forefathers had been , where we had come and where our younger generations could , would, can, and will go . We had witnessed, testified and celebrated as a whole “Bold Dreams …Big Victories”
A.E. Alton Educational Award recipient Toney Favors
Special Achievement Award recipient Lovie Hearon
Dr. Calvin Rolark Business and Economic Award recipient Paul Keener**
Dr. G.W. Thompson Medical & Professional Award recipient Rita Williams
John Jay Jones, Sr. Community Service Award recipient Andrea Darby
President Award recipient Willie F. Williams, Jr.

When I called, you answered me;
You made me bold and stouthearted (Psalm 138:3)

** Paul Keener family relative of Dr. Calvin Rolark
(Keener is senior pastor of Hickory Hill Baptist Church &owner/ general manager of the Texarkana Community Journal and PK Enterprises and this year ‘s recipient of the Media Honor Award)

By His Grace…reporter Sandra Dukes

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