The NAACP of Norwalk honored its outgoing president, the Rev. Lindsay Curtis, at its 10th Annual Freedom Fund Banquet on Friday by giving him the Rev. J.P. Ball Leadership Award. "It is such an incredible honor," said Curtis, pastor of Grace Baptist Church .
A successor to Curtis, who is stepping down at the end of the year, will be elected at a future general meeting of the Norwalk branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.
More than 200 people, including politicians and state representatives of the NAACP, attended the evening gala at the Water's Edge at Giovanni's in Darien. Cablevision was presented the Award for Corporate Citizenship and the late Dorothy Beamon was awarded the Barbara Jean Edmonds Penn Memorial Award for Community Service.
"Dorothy had a deep conviction about community service and tremendous can-do attitude," Curtis said of the longtime NAACP member who died in February. "Even when she wasn't well, she found the energy to attend meetings. Dorothy will be sorely missed."
The evening, which focused on education, began with a keynote address by Steven Perry, founder and principal of Capital Preparatory Magnet School in Hartford who is a regular education commentator on CNN.
"He said we are not treating our minority children properly," said Jacqueline Steiner, NAACP interim secretary and banquet co-chair. He took on controversial topics, saying that schools that are not performing well should be shut down and that teachers union protects bad teachers, Steiner said.
"He shook people up," she said. "People spent the rest of the night talking about his remarks."
Curtis is working to start a charter school in South Norwalk, recently submitting an application to the State Board of Education and now awaiting a response. "Submitting the application was the culmination of years of work," he said.
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