Republicans, Democrats and people of many races were among the sold-out crowd at the 101st annual NAACP Spokane Freedom Fund Banquet Saturday night, according to NAACP Spokane Branch President Kiantha Duncan.
“Everybody is in here,” Duncan said.
She said some of those people see the world differently than she, but she still counts them as friends.
“If we can do that in here, we can do that out there,” Duncan said.
The banquet returned Saturday after a three-year hiatus because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Spokane Mayor Nadine Woodward, City Council member Betsy Wilkerson and other notable community members attended the fundraiser at the Davenport Grant Hotel in downtown Spokane.
Author and journalist Roland Martin, the fundraiser’s keynote speaker, shared his thoughts on race relations in America.
Martin, a longtime TV commentator and author, released a book in September called “White Fear: How the Browning of America Is Making White Folks Lose Their Minds” about how it affects society as whites become a racial minority in the U.S.
By 2043, the majority of the country will be people of color, Martin said.
“The reality is we are going to be who we are and we have to come to grips that the nation that we have known is not the nation we are going to be,” Martin said. “So therefore, we must be preparing ourselves for that day that is actually coming, and we can’t live in denial and act as if it’s never going to happen.”
Martin has written many books on the Black experience.
“I think part of the problem we have in this country when we have this conversation, is we want to be so comfortable,” Martin said. “We want to make it easy for people.”
He said people fail to focus on the nation’s history, like slavery and police brutality.
“You can’t talk about the dream part unless you confront the nightmare,” Martin said.
The banquet included a tribute to Sandy Williams, Black Lens founder and publisher, who died months earlier in a plane crash in the Puget Sound.
“I still haven’t caught my breath from her death,” Duncan said.
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