Stephen C. Mays, President

June 1, 2019

Dear Life Members, Community Partners, Honored Guests & Friends

It is with immense pleasure that I welcome you to the 54th Life Membership Banquet of the Gary Branch NAACP. As the Branch President, I am charged with working for civic and economic equality and opportunity for all residents in our region, particularly our disenfranchised and marginalized citizens. Since our birth in 1916, the Gary Branch has been on the forefront of influencing positive change to enhance our society and promote the greater good for everyone.

I would like to congratulate the 2019 Class of Life Members for their investment to drive the mission and efficacy of the NAACP. Today we welcome into our family of freedom fighters this new group of life members who have partnered with our branch and will share their time, talent and financial resources to uplift our community, this state and the nation. Congratulations to our special awardees for dedicating their lives to improving the educational, social, and economic outcomes for others in this community. We are forever grateful for their drive and tenacity, but realize with all that's been accomplished, there is so much more work to be done.

I want to extend an especially warm thank you to our honorary chairperson, Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson for her commitment, passion and dedication. I can't say enough about how proud we are of her leadership and humility. We are delighted to have Fred Seamon of MGT Consulting Group with us and appreciate his reflections and insight as he gives voice to our hopes and concerns as we all work together to provide the best learning environment for families and children. A heartfelt thank you to our sponsors and supporters, the Banquet Committee and all our members for all your work to make this a successful event. I'm very blessed and grateful to have branch officers, executive committee and dedicated members who are the hardest working group of volunteers working for positive change in Northwest Indiana.

We will continue to advocate and fight for justice, fairness and equal access, opportunity and outcomes.

Yours in the Fight for Freedom,

Stephen C. Mays