Submitted by Debra Chappelle-Polk,
Zion Spotlight Editor, The Star of Zion
New York, NY - On Friday, April 14, 2023, Bishop Dennis V. Proctor, Presiding Prelate, North Eastern Episcopal District received the National Action Network’s (NAN) Legacy Award at the Reverend Dr. William A. Jones Ministers’ Luncheon. The Luncheon was hosted by Rev. W. Franklyn Richardson, Chairman, NAN National Board of Directors. In accepting the award, Bishop Proctor said, “I wish that my late father Rev. Emory C. Proctor had received this award. He was a fearless freedom fighter! He was a Freedom Rider and a tireless activist! So my liberationist theology is his influence.” Over the years, Bishop Proctor has been a keynote speaker at several NAN Conventions. This year’s honorees were Jacqueline L Burton, President, Conference of Black Churches; Rev. Dr. R.B. Holmes, Jr., Pastor, Bethel Missionary Baptist Church; and Bishop J. Drew Sheard, Presiding Bishop, COGIC.
The Reverend Al Sharpton, founder and president hosted NAN’s 32nd convention at the Sheraton Times Square Hotel in New York City. The theme this year was “Dealing With The Dream Under Threat” and was attended by thousands of people from across the country. In his President’s Welcome, Rev. Sharpton said “We must renew our commitment towards equality, progress and justice for all.” Tyler Perry received the President’s Award at Keepers of the Dream, the Convention’s premier event honoring those who keep Dr. King’s vision for America alive. Kerry Washington and other stage and screen actors, entertainment and media personalities were in attendance. Earvin “Magic” Johnson, NY School Chancellor, David Banks, business leaders and members of Congress were among the speakers. Vice President Kamala Harris brought the keynote address to a standing-room-only crowd on Friday, April 15th and spoke on the issue of gun violence in the United States, voting rights, and women’s reproductive rights.
Religious leaders and civil rights activists led panel discussions that addressed issues confronting Black Americans today. Dr. W. Franklyn Richardson, Chairman of NAN and the Conference of National Black Churches (CNBC) moderated the panel on Protecting Black History in Schools and in America. Rev. Dr. Malcolm J. Byrd, Pastor, Mother A.M.E. Zion Church, was one of the panelists.