FW NAACP also honors Jonathan Ray and Jamie Garwood – Video

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News release from the Fort Wayne/Allen County NAACP #3049:

Local NAACP joins National “We are one” campaign to fight ongoing attacks on Labor & Civil Rights in America
Fort Wayne NAACP also honors Jonathan C. Ray and Jamie L. Garwood of the Fort Wayne Urban League for their efforts to support civil rights

(April 4, 2011) – Today, the Fort Wayne/Allen County Branch of NAACP joins people throughout Indiana and across America to honor the  legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. On April 4, 1968, Dr. King was assassinated while working in support of sanitation workers demanding collective bargaining rights in Memphis. To commemorate Dr. King and encourage grassroots action to defend labor rights and civil rights, the national NAACP’s We Are One campaign includes community events nationwide today.

Dr. King, along with other civil rights leaders, including A. Philip Randolph, WEB DuBois and Medgar Evers among others, understood the strong correlation between labor rights and civil rights. They considered the right of workers to organize to be as fundamental as the right of African Americans to vote, and regarded the labor movement as a strong ally in the struggle for civil rights.

“Our needs are identical with labor’s needs: decent wages, fair working conditions, livable housing, old age security, health and welfare measures, conditions in which families can grow, have education for their children and respect in the community,” Dr. King said. “The duality of interests of labor and Negroes makes any crisis which lacerates you a crisis from which we bleed.”

43 year after Dr. King’s death, poor and middle class working families are again under attack as politicians and legislators in Indiana and across the nation work to destroy labor rights. With grassroots events across America, the We Are One campaign reminds people of the indivisible link between labor rights and civil rights, and the urgent need to defend both for the benefit of individuals and families in  America.

“We are facing unprecedented, coordinated attacks on our civil rights across the country,” said Paulette Nellems, President of the Fort Wayne/Allen County Branch of NAACP. “We must begin to unite as one to find solutions to move the dream of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. forward.”

Selecting from the many people working each day to find solutions to challenges in our community, the local NAACP chose to recognize the work of two individuals committed to addressing the issues of social, educational, economic and political change: Jonathan C. Ray and Jamie L. Garwood of the Fort Wayne Urban League.

Jonathan C. Ray, MSW – For the past five years, Fort Wayne Urban League President and CEO Jonathan C. Ray has worked to strengthen the organization’s services and advocacy for low income and minority residents. Ray has modernized the agency to improve efficiency in order to better serve the public. Under his leadership, the Fort Wayne Urban League’s education, employment and housing programs have improved outcomes for individuals, youth and families. Ray is also an outgoing civic leader on issues related to education, housing, poverty, violence and crime.

“Jon is willing to take a stand on issues that others may avoid,” Nellems added. “He listens to all sides but remains true to his strong, core values. Jon is a genuine consensus builder and community builder.”

“I’m grateful to be recognized by the NAACP on this historic day,” Ray said. “Our community has challenging issues to address and difficult conversations to hold but much to gain if we work together to expand opportunity for all.”

Jamie L. Garwood, MPA – Currently serving as Director of Development for the Fort Wayne Urban League, Jamie Garwood has nearly 15 years of experience working on and teaching about issues of educational and economic inequality. Prior to her position at the Urban League, Garwood developed “Real Men Read,” a community campaign to close the third-grade reading gap by recruiting a diverse group of men into elementary classrooms for rewarding reading experiences with students. Garwood has also taught courses in child development, sociology and multicultural education.

“We must rid our community of the education gaps and low expectations that we have for many children of color,” Garwood said. “If we don’t, we will deny them and ourselves a  prosperous life and real freedom.”

“Last year, the local NAACP awarded Jamie our Elizabeth Dobyness Award – one of our highest awards for leaders fighting for racial and economic equality,” Nellems said. “We’re proud to recognize her again for her continued passion and willingness to challenge the status quo for what she believes is morally right.”

On behalf of the Fort Wayne/Allen County NAACP, Branch President Nellems presented Ray and Garwood with NAACP/We Are One Certificates of Recognition.




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The Fort Wayne/Allen County NAACP #3049 website


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