The Long Beach branch of the NAACP is set to celebrate trailblazers and lifetime achievers with panache this year—it is the branch’s 75th anniversary, after all.
Slated for Thursday, October 22 at the Long Beach Hilton, the 36th annual Founders Gala will honor a slate of Long Beach locals and achievers of all genders and colors.
“This is one of our major fundraisers for the year,” said NAACP Long Beach Chapter President Naomi Rainey. “The fundraiser will fund programs in education, youth services, senior services and nonviolent conflict resolution.”
She added that, because this is the organization’s 75th anniversary, more individuals than usual will be honored.
The gala will be dedicated to the late Henry J. Meyer, owner of Hamburger Henry’s, who founded and contributed funding toward many scholarships that allowed young people within the NAACP and outside to the NAACP to pursue their education, and retired judge Marcus Tucker. According to Rainey, Tucker helped young members of the NAACP chapter become interested in the law and build careers in law.
Because of Tucker and Meyer, “many young people who were members of the NAACP could receive an education where they didn’t have to worry about finances,” Rainey said.
This year’s honorees, to be recognized at the gala, include:
Lori Farrell-Harrison, Director of Finance, Long Beach Harbor Commissioner, President — Zelma A. Lipscomb Award
Dr. Matais Pouncil, Dean of Student Services, West Valley College — Ernest McBride, Sr. Award
Alice Robinson, Community Service — Lillie V. Grigsby Award
Justin Rudd, Founder of the Community Action Team — Community Service and Unity Award
Dr. Robert Nagourney —Trailblazer in Medicine Award. He is a renowned oncologist physician-scientist and the Medical and Laboratory Director of Rational Therapeutics
Dr. Jane Conoley, President, California State University Long Beach — Higher Education Award
Christopher Steinhauser, Superintendent, LBUSD — Education Award
Victor Parker, District Director, US Small Business Administration — Business Award
Maiya Meeks, LB Branch NAACP Youth Council President — Youth Leadership and Service Award
President’s Award: Jack and Jill of America Inc. Long Beach Chapter, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. Theta Alpha Omega Chapter, and Long Beach Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc.
Lifetime Achievement Award: Richard Gaylord, Past President of the National Association of Realtors and Past President of the California Association of REALTORS. Richard Gaylord is a RE/MAX Real Estate Specialists, and is a member of the Gaylord-Demboski Team in Long Beach.