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Tennessee NAACP leader highlights 45th Freedom Fund Banquet in Waynesboro

The history of the Waynesboro branch of the NAACP is on display in the atrium of Waynesboro Public Library. Photo by Rebecca J. Barnabi.

The Waynesboro Branch NAACP 45th annual Freedom Fund Banquet will be held Friday, June 14, at 6:30 p.m. at the Cornerstone Church, 1156 Tinkling Springs Road, Staunton.

This year’s guest speaker will be Gloria J. Sweet-Love, president of the Tennessee State Conference NAACP since 1996. Under her leadership, the TN State Conference has become a force to be reckoned with in the civil rights advocacy and policy arena.

Sweet-Love, a retired systems administrator for a Fortune 500 company, devotes full time to the work of the NAACP. She advocates for building coalitions with like-minded advocates. She is a member of the National Board of Directors of the NAACP where she serves as Chair of Memberships & Units Committee, Vice Chair of the Personnel Committee and serves on the Resolutions and Election Supervisory Committees. She also serves as Chair of the Southeast Region V NAACP Leadership caucus.

A staunch advocate for education, civil rights and social justice, Sweet-Love’s experience in the political arena as well as her work with Black/Brown coalitions, grassroots organizations and labor unions, makes her a formable force in the civil rights struggle.

She obtained a number of firsts in her life including the first Black woman elected to the Haywood County School Board, first Black woman elected as president of the Tennessee School Board Association, and first Black woman appointed by the governor as a commissioner of the Peace Officers Standards & Training Commission.

The recipient of many distinguished awards, Sweet-Love is a licensed and ordained gospel preacher. She if a faithful member of the St. John M.B. Church in Stanton, Tenn., where she serves as associate minister and women’s ministry leader. She also serves as chair of the Women’s Ministry for West Tennessee Hardeman County Baptist Missionary and Education Association. She and her family live in Brownsville, Tenn.

Individual tickets may be purchased for $45.00 per adult and $20 per children (ages 12 and under). Reserved tables of eight can be purchased at $445.00 (not tax-deductible). A souvenir journal will be printed. Individuals who would like to advertise in the journal can pay $100 for a full page, $65 for a half page, $40 for a quarter page and $25 for a business card-sized ad.

Reservations and additional information are available by calling 540-221-5796 or 540-949-7254. Reservations are requested sooner rather than later for printing of ads and table head counts before the end of May.

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca J. Barnabi is the national editor of Augusta Free Press. A graduate of the University of Mary Washington, she began her journalism career at The Fredericksburg Free-Lance Star. In 2013, she was awarded first place for feature writing in the Maryland, Delaware, District of Columbia Awards Program, and was honored by the Virginia School Boards Association’s 2019 Media Honor Roll Program for her coverage of Waynesboro Schools. Her background in newspapers includes writing about features, local government, education and the arts.