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Celebrating 72 years at Founder’s Day luncheon
BY HOLLY KESTENIS, Staff Writer
ST. PETERSBURG – Saturday marked the 72nd year the National Council of Negro Women (NCNW) St. Petersburg Metropolitan Section have been united together in the mission of ensuring African-American women are heard and accounted for.
As some of the most well-known local ladies gathered at Isla Del Sol Yacht & Country Club, located at 6000 Sun Blvd., to partake in a luncheon of chicken piccata, sweet potato mash, and key lime pie, more than just delicious eats were on the menu.
“We fight and kill each other every day,” said keynote speaker Minister Janice Nunn-Nelson who encouraged luncheon participants to hold each other’s hand and tell their neighbor they love them.
“We do that for a multiplicity of reasons,” she continued, “but one of those reasons is because we don’t take time just to say I love you.”
Nelson, a native of the Tampa Bay area, has worn many hats from educator, psalmist and even is active in the theatrical arts relaying God’s word in such productions as, “See How They Done My Lord” and “Showing a Sinner the Way.” She has also performed on Broadway in numerous musical productions.
The theme of the afternoon feast was to stand united under the Lord’s name and to work through him to make a difference in the local community and society as a whole. A message that the NCNW has emulated since its inception in 1935. Founded with the idea of representing the concerns of African-American women, the NCNW is now affiliated with nearly 40 women’s organization connecting close to four million worldwide.
Nelson acknowledged times can be tough for everyone, but encouraged the women in the room to not get sucked into believing they are above help and to shelve those negative feelings that sometimes creep into everyday life.
“We need to come out of this syndrome of continuing to tear each other down,” she said encouraging the women in attendance to remember how blessed they are just to be alive. The problem is, “You think you’re the only one that’s great. Stop trying to be the one that stands out more than anyone else; you’re going to find yourself looking real crazy.”
Nelson went on to preach of joining hands with one another symbolically and finding and working to bring out the good in everyone. She wants women to find the common denominator between them and bond as sisters, living life for the Lord.
“Some of you came here today with questions, some of you came here today because pain knows your address,” she said urging everyone to join together and help each other out.
The luncheon also honored those within the community and the NCNW organization for their dedication and contributions to women and the youth. Such as NCNW officer and third vice president Zaneta Moton who works as a youth advisor with the organization. Moton works with new girls who join up with the NCNW youth program.
“Our youth are faced with a lot of issues and problems we didn’t have to face at their age,” she said noting that adults, mentors and parents must be willing to adjust to new ways of looking at the world and doing things in order to meet teenagers on their level. “I take the time to see what they are dealing with. These young ladies have decided to commit themselves to serving their community; I don’t want them to think that it’s in vain.”
And it is this attitude and willingness to help others, along with her compassion in dealing with the minority youths in residence here in St. Petersburg that led to Moton being named the 2014 Sister of the Year. Because of Moton’s diligence, the NCNW youth group has been revived and is gaining a presence in the community.
Barbara Norris was presented with the NCNW Appreciation Service Award along with Anne Killen whose daughter had to accept her award due to health reasons.
The luncheon wrapped up with NCNW honoring women with the Bethune Achiever Awards in honor of Dr. Mary Jane McLeod Bethune an extraordinary educator, civil rights leader and the founder of the NCNW. Recognition awards acknowledging service were also given out.
For more information on the National Council of Negro Women, their mission, and how you can become a member, visit ncnw.org.