In the News

Annual fundraiser held at Urbana's Holiday Inn News-Gazette, The (Champaign-Urbana, IL) - Friday, January 29, 2010 Page: B-6

The Champaign County Section of the National Council of Negro Women Inc. held its annual fundraiser last weekend at the Holiday Inn in Urbana.

Themed "The Black & White Ball," the evening featured a social hour, dancing and dinner. Sponsors included Franchise Management, Parkland College and Provena Covenant Medical Center.

There are approximately 50 members of the Champaign section, which began in 1981. The group provides support for several local organizations, including Crisis Nursery and A Woman's Fund, and it also contributes to several scholarships.

NCNW was founded in 1935 by Mary McLeod Bethune, and now has 39 national affiliates and more than 240 sections. The mission is to lead, develop and advocate for women of African descent as they support their families and communities.

Membership is open to all women, regardless of race, creed or national origin. To learn more or join NCNW, contact: membership chair Earlene Terry, 355-2523; president Carol Lewis, 351-6175; or executive officer Ruthie Hillsman, 356-0396.

'Unsung heroes' will be honored on May 2 News-Gazette, The (Champaign-Urbana, IL) - Sunday, April 19, 2009 Author/Byline: The News-Gazette Page: F-2

URBANA – Five elders of the baby boom generation will be honored at a luncheon May 2.

The Champaign County Section of the National Council of Negro Women has organized the event – called Living Legends. It will be held from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. May 2 at the Hanford Inn and Suites (the former Park Inn), 2408 N. Cunningham Ave., U.

Honorees are: Pearlie Hill, Leola Jackson, Dora Jamerson, Alice McNeal and Theo Oliver.

"They are the unsung heroes who have supported families and their community," said Mary Hawood-Benson, one of the organizers.

Tickets at $30 each may be purchased from Ruthie Hillsman at 356-0396. The program replaces the organization's usual February gala.

The local council is a nonprofit organization known for supporting the following groups with financial contributions and volunteer help: the Women's Fund, Women's SAFE House, Urbana High School Choir, Parkland College scholarship fund and the Sister Mary Gabriel Kirby fund at Provena Covenant Medical Center. It promotes positive community differences for all races with the motto of "Leave no one behind."

Carol Lewis is the current president and Cynthia Biggers is general chairwoman of the May 2 event.

Individuals, group honored for serving News-Gazette, The (Champaign-Urbana, IL) - Friday, December 19, 2008 Author/Byline: LYNDA ZIMMER ; Page: B-11

CHAMPAIGN – Thirty-five individuals and one organization have been honored by the Ministerial Alliance of Champaign-Urbana & Vicinity.

The alliance last gave awards in 2002 and resumed the practice this year at a program held last week at St. Luke Christian Methodist Episcopal Church, Champaign.

The awards recognize people who have served the community in different ways, explained the Rev. Evelyn Underwood, alliance president.

Layperson of the year awards, for "tireless devotion to education of all children and uplifting the community," went to 13 people. Those recognized and some of their accomplishments, listed by Underwood, are:

– Aaron Ammons, one of the founders of C-U Citizens for Peace and Justice, a radio broadcaster and worker with ex-offenders.

– Tamra Gingold, Urbana teacher specializing in music education.

– E. Martel Miller, a community activist.

– Christopher Evans, community activist, who has worked with C-U citizens for Peace and Justice and written for the Independent Media Center.

– Seon Williams, a barber, radio personality and youth mentor.

– Robert E. Lewis, a member of the Urbana City Council and co-founder of a youth music program.

– Brian Dolinar, a Parkland College professor and writer for the IMC.

– Linda Abernathy, Champaign Township supervisor who has worked to educate the poor and move them through government systems.

– Patrick Dwayne Thompson, co-founder of Visionaries Educating Youths and Adults and a mentor who has dealt with truancy in Champaign schools.

– Imani Bazzell, co-founder of Center for Civic Engagement and work with middle school youths.

– Barbara Gillespie-Washington, retired Urbana teacher and head of the NAACP's youth competition called Afro-Academic, Cultural, Technological and Scientific Olympics.

– Barbara Grady, for more than 30 years of work with Head Start and reaching out to parents.

– Mary Hayward Benson, president of Church Women United, who has worked with the National Council of Negro Women .

Villager awards for reaching out in the community came from nominations made by area pastors. They went to: Neppie Caldwell, Macedonia Baptist; Nichole Jackson, Liberty Temple Church of God in Christ; Betty Brown, New Free Will Baptist; Evelyn Hickman, Salem Baptist; Carrie Carter, New Birth Baptist; Mary Brooks Woods, Morning Star Free Will Baptist; and Douglas West, First Mennonite.

Underwood gave president's awards for outstanding contributions by alliance members to: the Rev. Troy Burks, New Birth Missionary Baptist Church; Hattie Paulk, Church of the Living God; and Bishop King James Underwood (her husband), Melinda Carr and Vanessa Buchanan, all of New Free Will Baptist Church.

Her awards for outstanding contributions to the alliance by nonmembers went to: Rosalind Lewis, Vera Carter Mitchell, Durl Kruse, Maggie Rodriguez-Nieto, Deloris Henry, James Clayborn and Barbara Scott. Also, Devin Chambers, Stephanie McCoy and Angela James, all of the Family Awareness in Redeveloping Education group.

Special event honors charter members News-Gazette, The (Champaign-Urbana, IL) - Wednesday, October 1, 2008 Page: C-2

The Champaign County National Council of Negro Women honored its charter members at a special event to pay tribute to the women who organized the local chapter. The Rev. Terri Hord-Owens of Calumet City was the featured speaker.

The original charter members of the Champaign County Chapter were Mary Haywood Benson, Erma Scott Bridgewater, Octavia Cole, Nettie Leona Cook, Rosie L. Dyer, Lucy Jess Gray, Doris Ruth Hendricks, Davie Hill, Wilda Herndon, Ruth Woodruff Hines, Kathryn B. Humphrey, Arnetta Collins Rodgers, Miriam B. Taylor Scantlebury, Halestine J. Session, Anna Wall Scott, Sarah Wilson Scott, Dorothy Vickers-Shelley and Rebecca J. Williams.

The local council was founded in October 1981 and is one of more than 240 sections across the nation.

The National Council of Negro Women was founded in 1935 by Mary McLeod Bethune, who envisioned NCNW functioning as a clearinghouse, facilitating networking and coalition-building, and advocating the use of collective power on issues affecting women, their families and communities.

Call Gwen White at 722-4480 or Barbara Gillespie at 384-7413 for more informationabout t he local council.

On The Town showcases community events, such as benefits, awards or recognition gatherings.

Although we won't be able to cover every event because of time and space restrictions, we'll be glad to consider your event for coverage if you e-mail us at or call Amy George at 373-7453. Please give us as much notice as possible.

To purchase pictures, go to Caption: Photos by Deborah Frank Feinen for The News-GazetteAmong those attending the Champaign County National Council of Negro Women event were, from left, Renee Renfro, Lucy Jess Gray, Rosie Dyer, Erma Bridgewater, Mary Haywood Benson and Hattie Marion.Photos by Deborah Frank Feinen for The News-GazetteBeverly Lacey, left, past president of the Champaign County NCNW, and current president Carol Lewis.Photos by Deborah Frank Feinen for The News-GazetteThe Rev. Terri Hord-Owens, left, was the featured speaker. At right is the Rev. Jerome C. Chambers, president of the Champaign County branch of the NAACP.Photos by Deborah Frank Feinen for The News-GazetteCelebration Committee members historian Cheryl Kennedy, left, and Gwendolyn White read the names of the honored members.