NAACP Freedom Fund dinner focuses on voting rights, protecting freedoms

Detroit — As Michigan gears up for another election in the fall, attendees of the NAACP Fight for Freedom Fund Dinner on Sunday talked about what is needed to protect the right to vote, a keystone of democracy.

The theme of the evening was “Freedom is expensive, but tyranny is unaffordable.” Each speaker noted that while it was not easy to continue to support the rights of Michiganians and voters across the country, it was essential to carry on the push for voting rights.

“We stand at the crossroads of whether we will turn toward an autocracy or maintain our democracy in these United States of America,” said Rev. Wendell Anthony, president of the NAACP Detroit Branch. “While democracy is under a violent attack and genocide erupts in Ukraine, it is under an ideological siege and political fratricide right here in America.”

Speakers and those given awards at the dinner spoke about voting rights. The event was double the size of last year’s event, closer to the pre-pandemic Freedom Fund dinners that were some of the largest NAACP gatherings in the country.

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan said Huntington Place, where the dinner groups took place, was the site of “one of the most egregious” attacks on voting after the location became a hotspot of controversy during the 2020 election, when conservative groups told members to travel to Detroit to watch the counting of absentee ballots.

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