GILBERT, Ariz. - Several people were honored for their positive impact in the community Saturday during the East Valley NAACP’s 42nd Annual Freedom Fund Awards Banquet.
The theme for this year’s banquet was “Our Lives Matter, Our Votes Count.”
Awards were given to those who make difference in the community through service, religion, law enforcement, education, business leadership and humanitarian efforts.
Among the honorees was Mesa Police Chief John Meza, honored for his work in community policing.
Carole Henry, chair of the Arizona State University College of Public Service and Community Solutions School of Social Work Community Advisory Board, was honored for her service in advocating for civil rights, business and economic development programs.
Valerie Churchwell received the banquet’s humanitarian award for founding the Arizona Dream Builder Foundation, a non-profit designed to recognize future leaders in Arizona.
The education award went to Shereka Jackson, who founded a non-profit, Future Stars, to provide inner city youth with opportunities to achieve their goals in higher education.
Anthony Gathers, co-owner of Ageez Hair Center in Chandler and Phoenix, was honored for his business leadership in demonstrating the value of hard work, honesty and integrity to the community.
Reverends Jonathan and Sakena Young-Scaggs received an award for their leadership roles in their local church. Jonathan is a science, technology, engineering and math teacher, and Sakena is an ordained itinerant elder in the African Methodist Episcopal Church who provides an unyielding voice on race, gender and social justice.