By: Tony R. McCray
Movement for Change (MFC) held its 16th Annual Banquet for third time at leaving one to believe the old axiom that “the third time is a charm” because it was a very successful civil rights, educational, civic engagement, youth talent exposure, and leadership event. With old school leadership managing the agenda, and the youth leadership providing the talent and the guest speaker, Movement for Change is a prime example of what teamwork and collaboration can produce with the wisdom of the older leaders and the emerging multi-talented young adults.
The Master of Ceremonies was Dr. Marion Williams, who managed the agenda of the program with his eloquence of light hearted comments to keep the audience laughing and comments to remind those in attendance of civic issues that should be addressed. Carol McIntosh, a staunch MFC member brought the Welcome and her husband Jerry McIntosh, a strong long time member as is his wife brought the Occasion.
Next on the agenda Dr. Williams announced that the talented Belmont Youth Band with Vivian Lamont would be making their musical presentations. At one point in the program the audience was singing along with the band’s rendition of one of the temptations top hits. The music then led to a very delicious dinner prepared by “It’s Personal by Sheila’s”. John Jerralds, the MFC President, commented to the Pensacola Voice after the event, that Sheila does it all. She and her team did the decorations and the food in-house.
During the dinner, President John Jerralds updated the audience on the involvement of MFC in the “Stop the Violence Spelling Bee Contest” which has been hosted by the organization for the past three years. The spelling bee was sponsored by the City of Pensacola Police Department and the Escambia County Sheriff Department at the Woodland Heights Resource Center. In his description of the gender competition he said, “The girls wiped the boys out, and the contestants spelled every work on the spelling bee list”! He went on to state that the program could be expanded with more adult volunteers may be forgotten tomorrow, to serve as tutors.
Next on the program agenda was the Guest Speaker, Dr. Reginald Todd of Pensacola State College. Jerralds introduced Dr. Todd educating the audience that he is the son of the local architect, Eddie Todd, while dropping some advance intelligence that Dr. Todd is leaving Pensacola State College to join the faculty at Texas Southern University in Houston.
Dr. Todd’s theme, “There Is Room at the Top But the Space Is Limited” was dedicated to MFC and the community organizations and leaders in the room that our students must prepare educationally for the career opportunities that are available in the public and private sector. He quoted Nelson Mandela when he said, “Education is the most powerful Weapon you can choose to change the world”.
He went on to say, “Make your life’s purpose the work of the Lord”! Dr. Todd focused on the Escambia County School District’s low rate of minority teacher promotions, stating in an after the event interview, “Minority teachers are not being promoted equitably”! He emphasized the need for tutors, and volunteers to assist our Black students to “get their blueprint for education together. He ended his presentation by stating, “The good you do may be forgotten tomorrow, but give the best you have to give”!!!!
The program ended with Francis Tolbert giving a membership appeal to assist MFC to fight the issues impacting the African-American Community. The following was provided in the souvenir program:
The Vision of Movement for Change is to: Foster principles of equal rights and opportunities for all Americans, promote public awareness of issues address issues of concern with all law enforcement agencies, as well as, the judicial system, take action on specific issues of local importance, cooperate with other persons and organization to achieve mutual goals, improve the disparities in education, hold all elected officials accountable, and encourage economic empowerment throughout the community.
Movement for Change is guided by the following principles: Have mutual respect for all persons, respect for differences, while promoting unity, accomplish our mission through teamwork, display dignity and professionalism, encourage maximum personal development, and expect collective work on issues through open discussion, before decisions are made.