The Cincinnati NAACP Freedom Fund Dinner 2021 Event & Honorees

Resounding Resilience Theme Means We Never Quit

CINCINNATI, October 19, 2021 — The Cincinnati NAACP Freedom Fund Dinner to be held this year on Saturday, October 30, 2021, at 6:00 P.M. at the Duke Energy Convention Center. The cost is $85.00 per person.

The dinner will include an array of awards, entertainment, and a phenomenal keynote speaker. The keynote speaker is one of Cincinnati’s very own local treasures, who is a notable physician, educator, and valued leader of several institutions and boards, Dr. O’dell Moreno Owens, M.D., MPH, former Hamilton County Coroner, Cincinnati State University President, and recently retired President and CEO of the local health equity non-profit agency, Interact for Health.

This year’s dinner theme, “Resounding Resilience,” is undeniably reflective of our history as an organization that has undergone adversity and transitions, while continuing to make strides and being relevant in the fight for Civil Rights that is still very much needed in the current climate of the United States.

The NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) was established in 1909 and is America’s oldest and boldest, largest and most renowned, well-equipped and most respected civil rights organization that exists. It was formed by both white and Black activists, specifically in response to the ongoing violence and lynchings of African Americans
around the country.

To put it plainly, we refuse to quit. Our mission is to ensure the political, educational, social and economic equality of rights of all persons and to eliminate racial hatred and racial discrimination. We will continue the fight against racial disparities and injustice until it is won. We are seeking the participation of all social justice warriors and freedom fighters who share our core values and mission.

The Cincinnati NAACP Annual Freedom Fund Dinner is a long-standing tradition that brings together NAACP members and community supporters to raise funds to support the operations of our local Branch. At the level where we have been working diligently to eliminate discrimination and inequalities for over a decade, since 1915, in 52 neighborhoods and our surrounding communities.

Our initiatives are needed as much now as they ever were. Every day we focus on these key areas: voter education and empowerment, criminal justice reform, public safety, racial health disparities, and economic inclusion, among other aspects. We couldn’t do this work and accomplish our goals, without the generous support of our community, and monetary support of our mission by our allies and partners. For sponsorship information or to donate to the Cincinnati NAACP please visit our website at or by contacting us at 513-281-1900.

Please join us as we educate, empower, and engage the community. We would look forward to hearing from you. With the Cincinnati NAACP: YOU Are The Movement!

2021 Award Recipients Recognized at the Freedom Fund Dinner

2021 President’s Award Recipient

Christie Bryant Kuhns, Esq

The President’s Award is the highest award given at the local branch level that is chosen by the branch president to recognize an individual that has been a pillar of the organization for their individual sacrifice and overall impact.

Wright-Overstreet Memorial Award Recipient

Verna L. Williams, Dean, UC College of Law

The Wright Overstreet Award was established in 1989 to honor the memories of two dedicated civil rights leaders, Rev. Samuel Ross Wright and Mr. Henry Overstreet, Jr. Both men are recognized through this award for their work in the NAACP and in the community. Rev Wright, a minister in the United Methodist Church, was a past president of the NAACP and appointed to the Ohio Civil Rights Commission by the governor. Mr. Overstreet was a resolute union man who dedicated his efforts to supporting the NAACP.

Community Outreach and Partnership Awards

  • Sandra Jones Mitchell, SO-ACT Director
  • Greater Cincinnati Foundation, Ellen Katz, CEO
  • Fifth Third Bank, Stephanie Smith, Sr. Vice President, Chief Inclusion Officer

The Community Outreach Award recognizes the organization or persons that exemplify the values and mission of the NAACP in their outreach, efforts, and impact in the Greater Cincinnati area.

Empowering Education Award Recipient

Anthony G. Smith, Superintendent, Winton Woods School District

The Empowering Education Award recognizes leaders in education, who greatly impact African American students in the Greater Cincinnati Area.

Theodore M Barry Award Recipient

Alicia Reece, Hamilton County Commissioner

The Theodore M Barry Award was established in 1995 to recognize outstanding achievement in the political arena and in service to the community.

⁸Ted Barry established milestones early in his lifetime. He was Cincinnati’s first African American High School Valedictorian, Hamilton County’s African- American Assistant Prosecutor, and Cincinnati’s first African American Mayor, a position he served from ‘72 to ‘75. Mr. Barry spent 15 years on Cincinnati City Council. He resigned his council seat to accept an appointment as Assistant Director of the Office of Economic Opportunity in Washington D.C. He served as President of the Cincinnati Branch of the NAACP for 10 years.

Inspiring Innovator Award Recipient

Nathan Ivey, Nathan Ivey Show

The Inspiring Innovator Award is given to organizations or persons who change the world we live in with their innovation and creativity.

Distinguished Volunteer Award Recipient

Eula Melson, NAACP Executive Committee

The Distinguished Volunteer Award recognizes a very impactful volunteer of the Cincinnati Branch of the NAACP and a trusted member that has over time dedicated their time, energy, and resources to help push forward the mission of the local branch of the NAACP.

Contact Us

Contact President Joe Mallory or Freedom Fund Committee Chair Vanessa Y. White, Ph.D.
Telephone: (513)281-1900; or via email at

Download Press Release including Photos


Share This Story, Choose Your Platform!