Hillary Clinton to speak at Detroit NAACP dinner

Nicquel Terry
The Detroit News

Detroit — Hillary Clinton will be the keynote speaker at the Detroit Branch NAACP’s 61st Annual Fight for Freedom Fund dinner next month, organizers announced Monday.

This will be Clinton’s second time speaking at the event. The former secretary of state was the keynote speaker in 2004. Her husband, former President Bill Clinton, also delivered the keynote at the annual fundraiser twice during his eight years as president.

Hillary Clinton, the leading Democratic presidential candidate, has a record of involvement with the NAACP and urban communities, said the Rev. Wendell Anthony, president of the Detroit Branch.

Anthony said he expects Hillary will address diversity in America and education.

“We are pleased that she is now able to join with us in this city of Detroit,” Anthony said. “I’m sure she is going to come with something that is going to speak to our theme ‘Let America Be America Again.’ ”

The Fight for Freedom Fund Dinner is set for 5 p.m. May 1 at Cobo Conference Center. Organizers say it draws 10,000 attendees each year. Tickets are $150. Proceeds will benefit the Detroit Branch NAACP’s initiatives.

U.S. Rep. Brenda Lawrence, D-Southfield, said she was excited to learn Clinton would be speaking at the dinner. Lawrence said Clinton is one the “largest voices we have in America right now.”

“Clinton has shown repeatedly on every level of political role that she’s played in this country that she is inclusive,” Lawrence said Monday. Clinton was first lady, a U.S. senator from New York and Secretary of State. This is her second run at the presidency.

“I expect for her to talk about the challenges in the African-American community ... recognize them, have a plan. I expect for her to really be a voice and a trumpet of respect and dignity of the diversity that we have in this country.”

The Detroit Branch NAACP also announced the recipients of several awards that will be given out at the dinner.

Among those are the Great Expectations Awards which will go to author Shaka Senghor and Detroit Councilwoman Mary Sheffield; the Ida B. Wells Freedom and Justice Award to Ivy Bailey, president of the Detroit Federation of Teachers; and the Mary Church Terrell Freedom and Justice Award which will go to Sen. Goeff Hansen, R-Hart.

Last year’s keynote speaker was Vice President Joe Biden, who lauded the city’s efforts to remake itself following the nation’s largest municipal bankruptcy, saying the city was on the road to economic recovery.

Hillary Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont are vying for the Democratic presidential nomination. Sanders narrowly defeated Clinton in Michigan’s March presidential primary, 49.8 percent to 48.2 percent.

nterry@detroitnews.com

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