Corvallis-Albany NAACP chapter celebrates 50th Freedom Fund event

An+illustration+depicting+someone+holding+a+flag+with+the+words+Celebrate%2C+Remember+and+Persist.+Celebrate%2C+Remember+%26+Persist+is+the+theme+of+the+Corvallis%2FAlbany+NAACPs+50th+Freedom+Fund+event%2C+taking+place+on+Nov.+6+in+person+on+the+Oregon+State+University+Corvallis+campus+and+virtually.+

Alex Koetje, Illustrator

An illustration depicting someone holding a flag with the words “Celebrate,” “Remember” and “Persist.” “Celebrate, Remember & Persist” is the theme of the Corvallis/Albany NAACP’s 50th Freedom Fund event, taking place on Nov. 6 in person on the Oregon State University Corvallis campus and virtually.

Riley LeCocq, News Contributor

The Corvallis-Albany NAACP branch will be celebrating the 50th anniversary of their annual Freedom Fund event taking place virtually and in person on Nov. 6.  

The Freedom Fund Celebration is an annual ticketed event raising funds to be used throughout the year for various branch operations and initiatives of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. The NAACP is the nation’s oldest civil rights organization.

The in-person portion of the event begins with meal and program pick up from 2 to 4 p.m. at Reser Stadium in Corvallis, Ore. and at 220 SW Fifth St. in Albany, Ore. The celebration reception takes place from 4 to 5:30 p.m. 

For those wishing to join the virtual part of the event, the celebration begins at 6:30 p.m.

This year, the branch celebrates their 50th anniversary of being a civil rights organization in the Corvallis-Albany community. The theme, “Celebrate, Remember & Persist,” is named to honor the leaders who have forged the way for the Black community over the past 50 years. 

“I am just so fortunate to continue the legacy of so many great individuals that have pioneered the way for us today,” said Jason J. Dorsette, the Corvallis-Albany NAACP branch president. “To continue to first, be in community, but also to shed light and call attention to some of the issues of injustice that are currently happening in our community.” 

In honor of the anniversary, the organization has added all of the bells and whistles to both virtual and in-person aspects of the event. 

The in-person reception will take place just before the virtual celebration, hosting Oregon State University alumni and musician Jasmine Lumpkin to perform while guests enjoy food and the company of the community. Those in attendance are also encouraged to come dressed in semi-formal attire. 

The reception is set to be held on the OSU Corvallis campus at the Student Experience Center plaza. Dorsette plans to make remarks at the reception about the ways students can get involved with the NAACP community on campus. 

OSU is the only university in the Pacific Northwest to have their own campus NAACP chapter and Dorsette hopes to encourage students of all races and ethnicities to be involved. 

Joel Shungu, the OSU NAACP chapter president, said the OSU NAACP branch represents and does much more than people would imagine. 

Our voices have a lot of weight—that is why I always encourage students to get involved in the OSU NAACP chapter; we are consistently looking for new members,” Shungu said. “The OSU NAACP chapter is here to make sure that your experience as a person of color on the campus of Oregon State is filled with joy and equal opportunities.”

Shungu also said he plans to attend the Freedom Fund event as a leader in the community to uplift the history and perseverance of Black voices. 

Every time this Freedom Fund celebration happens, it gives me hope,” Shungu said. “It allows me to believe that the branch is still standing strong and fighting for changes in our communities.”

Mistress of the ceremony Dr. Ramycia McGhee, an English professor at Linn-Benton Community College, will run the virtual component.

The virtual portion plans to include performances in real time from artists all across the nation. Ranging from a live painting by Jaron Chism tuning in from North Carolina, to performances by jazz recording artist James “Saxsmo” Gates joining from Baltimore, Md. There will also be a talk from keynote speaker J. Luke Wood, the vice president of student affairs and diversity at San Diego State University. 

The event is planned to bring in new elements to celebrate as well. One new addition is that of a comedian performance, “Blame the Comic,” who has made appearances on Saturday Night Live and other local shows and will be performing a set virtually from Houston, Texas. 

“This work needs everyone, everyone is invited to participate as they are able, and help us continue to fight for justice certainly across Oregon State, across the state of Oregon and all  across the nation,” Dorsette said. “We want the entire community to come out and celebrate.”