Wednesday, April 9, 2014 || By Michael Romain
Saturday, ELMHURST — Last Saturday, April 5, Operation Uplift held its 26th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Community Awards Luncheon at Diplomat West Banquets in Elmhurst. Typically the luncheon is held in January to commemorate the King holiday. However, Uplift’s president, Mrs. Northica Stone, said that due to the inclement weather and shortage of nominations submitted by the public at the beginning of the year, the organization decided to postpone the event. This year’s luncheon commemorated the 46th anniversary of King’s assassination on April 4, 1968, in Memphis, Tennessee.
Trustee Michael Rogers, a longtime volunteer at the West Town Museum of Cultural History, which Operation Uplift runs, served as the afternoon’s master of ceremonies. Rev. Michael Wright, pastor of Light of Liberty Worship Center in Oak Park. The day’s entertainment was provided by soloist Gregory Parker, the Youth Sanctified Disciples Drum Line from Immanuel Temple church in Westchester and Mrs. Rosemary Phillips, who provided a stirring rendition of “If I Can Help Somebody,” an old hymn recorded by legendary Gospel singer Mahalia Jackson whose lyrics Dr. King included in the last sermon he delivered before his assassination. Guests were also treated to a marketplace outside of the ballroom, with vendors selling handbags and books, among other products, and a raffle.
“We as a people cannot afford to let Dr. King’s dream be lost,” said Mrs. Stone.
The following is a list of the afternoon’s honorees: Volunteer Helping Hand Awards–Linda Burton Reedy, Katheryn Kirby, Gail Bonnie Walker; William & Eloise Frayser Award of Excellence–Mayor Henderson Yarbrough; Margaret T. Burroughs Lifetime Achievement Award–Dr. Dorothy Bounds; Spirit of Uplift Award–Professor Michael Gregory, Ph.D.; Dr. Percy L. Julian Community Service Award–Rev. Curtis Malone; Rosa Parks Heritage Awards–Mrs. Anne Street-Edmonds, Mrs. Tenner Ferguson, Mr. & Mrs. Angus Laird and Deacon Wash Wesley; HomeTown Dream Weaver Awards–Isiah Brandon, Ivana Wade-Miles, Michael Romain and Rev. Michael Wright; Woman of the Year Award–Mayor Edwenna Perkins. VFP
The Day in Photographs
From left to right: Isiah Brandon (background) and Ivanna Wade-Miles; Isiah Brandon; Mrs. Northica Stone; Trustee Michael Rogers converses with former Maywood treasurer Byron Stewart; Maywood Trustee Audrey Jaycox; Rev. Michael Wright; former Maywood Mayor Henderson Yarbrough; Mayor Yarbrough and Cook County Recorder of Deeds Karen Yarbrough; District 89 Board Vice President Regina Rivers and Maywood Trustee Ron Rivers; Maywood Trustee Melvin Lightford; (l. to r.: former Maywood police chief James Stenson, Mrs. Gladys Freelon, Deacon Wash Wesley, Mrs. L. Jeri Stenson, former Maywood Mayor Joseph Freelon, Operation Uplift Board Chairman Edward Millon, and Honorary Board Member Mrs. Louise Jones-Denton); Maywood Police Chief Valdimir Talley; soloist Greg Parker; (l. to r.: Rev. Leslie Perkins, Maywood Mayor Edwenna Perkins and former Cook County Recorder of Deeds Eugene Moore); 111-year-old Deacon Wash Wesley and Mayor Freelon; Immanuel Temple Drummers strike a tune; soloist Rosemary Phillips; Gail Hannah-Walker; (l. to r.: West Town Museum curator L. Jeri Stenson, Michael Gregory, Ph.D., and Maywood Park District Commissioner Dawn Williams-Rone); Chairman Millon; Dorothy Bounds; Maywood Village Clerk Viola Mims; Dennis Cross and Trustee Cheryl Ealey-Cross; Dr. Queenella Miller, author; handbags by Karen Campbell; (l. to r.: Iberia Hampton, mother of Fred Hampton and Maywood Park District Commissioner Bill Hampton); Mayor Perkins and guest; Mr. & Mrs. Angus Laird; Rev. Curtis Malone (seated).