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Seven to be honored at NAACP’s 100th anniversary banquet

Seven awards will be presented to community leaders during the Buffalo Branch NAACP’s 100th Anniversary Dinner at 6 p.m. June 14 in the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center.

Carmen Berkley, director of civil, human and women’s rights for the AFL-CIO, will be the keynote speaker. A former president of the United States Student Association, she previously was executive director of Generational Alliance, a collaboration of 20 national youth organizations.

This year’s award recipients are:

• Rufus Frasier Human Relations Award – Lesley Haynes, a life member and executive board member of the Buffalo Branch NAACP and a member of We Are Women Warriors. A licensed social worker and an ordained elder in the Presbyterian Church, she is a graduate of the Niagara University Urban Ministry Program and is a mentor in the Inner City Outreach Program.

• Rufus Frasier Human Relations Award – Karl Singletary, founder and executive director of the Buffalo Inner City Ballet Company. The first African-American dancer to receive a scholarship to the American Ballet Theater in New York City, he started the company in 1971 using students from workshops he taught at the former Clinton Junior High School. Currently he is a long-term artist in residence in the Florence County School District in South Carolina.

• Daniel Acker Community Service Award – The UB Smile Team, seven groups from the University at Buffalo School of Dental Medicine who promote dental education and provide free care in neighborhoods that lack adequate access to dental treatment. One of their events, the annual Smile Education Day, visits more than 100 schools in the area.

• Daniel Acker Community Service Award – Chaplain Henry W. Curtis III, a retired director of outreach and education for National Fuel and a retired command sergeant major in the Army Reserves. A tireless volunteer, he is a former chairman of the United Outreach Ministry; refurbishes used computers for Computers for Children; teaches history and computer skills at Dayspring Christian Academy, where he is principal administrator; is a member of the Juneteenth Festival executive committee and founded the Buffalo Chapter of the Christian Motorcyclists Association.

• Medgar Evers Civil Rights Award – Richard Lipsitz Jr., president of the Western New York Area Labor Federation, AFL-CIO. A longtime advocate for labor, social, civil and human rights, he has been in the forefront in the fight for economic justice and has strengthened the political power of working people.

• Youth Award – Alana Leveritte, a sophomore at Buffalo Academy of the Sacred Heart who has volunteered in soup kitchens, hospitals, nursing homes and the summer camp program at Journey’s End Refugee Home. A runner-up in the Young Miss Buffalo Pageant, she is a co-founder of Coloring Books for Kids and has been honored with the state attorney general’s Triple C Award for “courage, commitment and character” and the 2013 President’s Education Award.

• Youth Award – Brandon Barksdale, a freshman at Frederick Law Olmsted School, where he is on the baseball and basketball teams. He plays the saxophone for community groups and at special services at St. Martin DePorres Church, where he also assists in ushering. He received the church’s Youth of the Year Award in 2012. A senior patrol leader in Boy Scout Troop 139, he received the Greater Niagara Frontier Council’s Youth of the Year Award in Scouting in 2014.

Dinner chairman is the Rev. Terrence L. Melvin. Advance reservations are required and can be obtained by sending $65 by Friday to the NAACP office at 395 E. Ferry St., Buffalo, NY 14208.