By Lee Hubbard
Shirley Sherrod was an unassuming government official, as the Georgia Director of Rural Development when she was thrust into the national spotlight. Her comments addressing a NAACP branch event, edited and distorted, were posted on the Internet by conservative blogger Andrew Breitbart, unleashing a media storm that resulted in her losing her job.
Sherrod will describe her life as a Black activist at this year’s San Francisco NAACP Freedom Fund dinner, “One Nation-One Dream.” The event will be held Saturday Nov. 6, 6 p.m., at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in San Francisco. The evening will be hosted by former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown..
The distorted video caused Sherrod to be vilified as a Black racist in the press. She was denounced by some civil rights leaders, and she resigned from her job at the USDA. Soon after, however, the full unedited version came out in the news, vindicating Sherrod.
“The San Francisco branch of the NAACP chose Sherrod because of her consistent dedication to the agricultural industry in America and making sure that Black farmers are an integral part of that industry,” said Jacquie Taliaferro, the communications chair for the San Francisco NAACP.
“We took a keen interest in the way the media treated Mrs. Sherrod and basically convicted her without a proper investigation. Her words were taking out of context, and it was orchestrated to make her, the NAACP and the Obama administration look bad.”
“The dinner is important for the San Francisco NAACP as it is a tradition,” said Rev. Arnold Townsend, chair of the Freedom Fund gala and vice president of the San Francisco NAACP. “It is a major fundraising event for the San Francisco NAACP. It is also a time to get together and reaffirm the NAACP’s call to social justice.”
Last year, over 500 people attended the sold-out dinner.
“This year, the national NAACP office made looking at the criminal justice system its intent, and it is absolutely important that we focus on this at the dinner,” said Townsend. “We will also be celebrating our NAACP president Amos Brown’s return, as he has been fighting health issues. But he is back, and he is feeling and doing better.”
The dinner will also honor Oakland Attorney John Burris, community activist London Breed and educator Louis Jones. Tickets cost $150, and tables are also available.
For information call (415) 922-0650 or (415) 407-6359 or go to the website, www.sanfrancisco-naacp.org.