NBDA 30th Anniversary Celebration Gala Highlights - by Kari Cooke

Kari Cooke

Kari Cooke
NBDA Communications Director & NYCBDA Member

National Black Deaf Advocates hosted the NBDA 30th Anniversary Celebration in Baltimore, MD on November 10, 2012. Members and supporters from all over the country attended the event commemorating the achievement of this esteemed organization expanding and growing to a nationwide movement. There were a variety of quality speakers, recognition of longtime members, and several surprise awards to round out the night.

With a theme of “Celebrating a Legacy: NBDA’s 30 Years of Advocacy”, the weekend kicked off with a Social Gathering/Cocktail Lounge on Friday night, with many people meeting and mingling. There were many sightseeing opportunities for members who came in early on Saturday, including the National Aquarium in Baltimore, Reginald F. Lewis Museum‎ of Maryland African American History & Culture, National Great Blacks in Wax Museum, and more.

The Saturday night banquet was intimate and beautifully set. After the dinner, Claudia Gordon, Esquire, introduced William T. Merritt, President/CEO of the National Black United Fund (of which NBDA is a member). Mr. Merritt shared encouraging words on the importance of advocacy, self-help, uniting with other organizations to increase fund development, and personal stories of his own hearing loss and appreciation of Deaf Culture. Following Mr. Merritt, the legendary Sandi LaRue shared information the origins behind NBDA, specifically on the Black Deaf Caucus’ dissatisfaction with the lack of representation within DeafPride and other Deaf organizations. Her words were inspiring, and a great reminder of how far we have come as Black Deaf people. Afterwards the three living founders of NBDA took the stage sharing words of wisdom, words about the past of NBDA, words or encouragement about NBDA’s present, and words of exhortation for NBDA’s future. Founder Ann Wilson presented an award to her son, Mr. James Wilson, who was her motivation behind seeking out a better future for Black Deaf Americans. The NBDA Founders were followed by the NBDA Establishers: the first executive leaders of NBDA. They were gracious leaders, recognizing not only the accomplishments of the Black Deaf community for the past 30 years in having its first lawyer, doctorate-earners, and leaders, but putting a spotlight on the local chapters who were instrumental in the continuation of the organization. The words of these founders, establishers, and leaders were inspiring and motivating. Many new members as well as long-time members of NBDA were proud to share in the recognition of how far this organization has come, and how much has been achieved over the years.

The recognitions continued throughout the night, with Pamela Lloyd-Ogoke, former NBDA President (1993-97) presenting Dr. Glenn B. Anderson his Lifetime Achievement Award and introducing a surprise announcement. The NBDA general scholarship will be renamed after the first Black Deaf person to earn a doctorate degree, now to be known as the Dr. Glenn B. Anderson Scholarship.  This honor is bequeathed to Dr. Anderson in recognition for his years of extraordinary leadership, years of advocacy, commitment to educational excellence, and unfailing dedication to the Black Community, the Deaf Community, and National Black Deaf Advocates. Dr. Anderson was truly surprised, and mentioned his gratitude for the recognition, as well as his happiness that his family was there to support him. As the night wrapped-up there were special toasts and remarks from the special guests and event sponsors: National Association of the Deaf’s CEO Howard Rosenbaum, Purple Communications’ Mark Bella, and Gallaudet Interpreter Service’s Yoshiko Chino. The night closed with a word on the upcoming National Conference to take place in New Orleans, LA, and a dancing celebration.

Martina Moore was the Event Coordinator and Funds Development Planner who organized an incredible team of people including:

  • Dr. Joseph Hill, Hospitality - Attractions & Activities
  • Gwen Thorpe and Joyce Powell, Decoration/Props Co-coordinators
  • Betty Henderson, Registration Coordinator
  • Benro Ogunyipe, Sponsorship/Liaison to Coordinator
  • Sonny Ingram, Usher

Congratulations and Thank You to NBDA for hosting an amazing celebration event! We look forward to seeing the accomplishments within the Black Deaf Community in the next 30 years.

Listing of 30th Anniversary Awards Recipients & New Initiative

  • Founder Inspiration Award
    James Wilson
  • Lifetime Achievement Award
    Dr. Glenn B. Anderson
  • New Education Initiative
    Dr. Glenn B. Anderson Scholarship

30th Anniversary Celebration Gala Photos

Posted in: NBDA Staff, NBDA Members

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