This year’s observance presented “Life Time Achievement Awards” to four Hampton Roads citizens: Presiding Bishop Ted Thomas – National Board of Bishops Church of God In Christ, U.S.A.; Deputy Chief of Police (Retired) John L. Bell, Jr. – first African American to rise to the level of “Deputy Chief of Police” in the City of Virginia Beach; Ms. Edna Hawkins-Hendrick – Author of the First Black History Book of Princess Anne County / Virginia Beach – Citywide Historian; and Ms. Brenda H. Andrews, Publisher and Owner of the New Journal and Guide Newspaper.
Several speakers gave perspectives on Black history. They were Mrs. Jeanette Cherry, Order of Eastern Star, PHA, who gave the history the order. Also, Ms. Starr Armstrong, who spoke from the theme, “Shape Up”, urging Black Americans to become more involved in building healthy communities.
The 2017 Citywide Community Vision was delivered by Rev. D.L Williams, Big Piney Grove Baptist Church, Virginia Beach. He spoke from the theme: “Moving Forward.”
A presentation by speaker Min. Gary McCollum addressed the current push by Virginia Beach residents for a full disparity study by the city.
Others on the program were Mrs. Jeanette Cherry, Mrs. Gracie Drake, Rev. Vanessa Copleand, Ms. Tammie Mullens-Rice, Miss Sylvantria P. Hawkins, Ms. Elizabeth Mills, Rev. Dr. Harry C. Poole. Music was rendered by Mr. Randy Riddick.
E. George Minns, NAACP President-Elect Virginia Beach (5th term 2017), is the Presiding Officer of the Seatack Community Civic League Administration.