The NAACP, Berkshire County Branch will host its annual Freedom Fund Awards, virtually, on Saturday, Jan. 22, with keynote speaker Dr. Kendra Taira Field. Photo courtesy Dr. Field
NAACP to host 2022 Freedom Fund Awards January 22
PITTSFIELD — The NAACP, Berkshire County Branch will host its annual Freedom Fund Awards, virtually, on Saturday, Jan. 22 at 6 p.m. As part of the ceremony, the Branch recognizes community leaders whose work embodies the vision of the NAACP to ensure a society in which all individuals have equal rights and there is no racial hatred or racial discrimination. Dr. Kendra Taira Field will receive the W. E. B. Du Bois Freedom Fund Award; Nipmuc writer, musician, dancer, and educator Larry Spotted Crow Mann will receive the Indigenous Peoples Freedom Fund Award, and transgender activist Jahaira DeAlto will posthumously receive the Jahaira DeAlto Balenciaga Freedom Fund Award.
“This year’s awards are going to three extraordinary educators and activists who contributed their deep knowledge and lived experience to benefit others,” said Berkshire NAACP President Dennis Powell. “It’s appropriate that, by honoring them, we also lift up the next generation of community leaders.”
The yearly event raises funds to provide stipends to African American high school graduates in Berkshire County who are planning to attend college or vocational school. This year, for the first time since the start of the Freedom Fund Awards, funds are also being raised to support immigrant students. Immigrants are the only growing population in Berkshire County and the NAACP is acknowledging the growing need for financial support for students who do not qualify for Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The stipends are designed to help them with the many expenses of college not covered by scholarships, from books and technology to travel and housing expenses. Last year, 27 students were gifted $38,400 dollars in stipends. Donations may be made by individuals and organizations at any time, online by choosing “Freedom Fund” from the drop-down menu, or by check made out to NAACP Berkshire County Branch, and mailed to P.O. Box 605, Pittsfield, MA 01202.
This year’s keynote speaker, Dr. Kendra Taira Field is an associate professor of history and director of the Center for the Study of Race and Democracy at Tufts University. Field is the author of “Growing Up with the Country: Family, Race, and Nation after the Civil War,” and served as assistant editor to David Levering Lewis’ “W.E.B. Du Bois: A Biography.” Her current book project is about the African American genealogical quest, from the Middle Passage through the present.
Field has been awarded fellowships from the Ford Foundation, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Huntington Library, and Harvard University’s Charles Warren Center in American History. She is the recipient of the Western Writers of America’s 2017 Spur Award for Best Western Short Nonfiction, the 2016 Boahen-Wilks Prize, and the OAH’s Huggins-Quarles Award. She has advised and appeared in historical documentaries including Henry Louis Gates Jr.’s “The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross” (2013) and “Roots: A History Revealed” (2016).
Locally, Field is project historian for the Clinton Church Restoration Project, which works to restore the historic Clinton A.M.E. Zion Church in downtown Great Barrington for adaptive reuse as an African American heritage site and cultural center dedicated to educating the public about the life and legacy of civil rights pioneer W.E.B. Du Bois and the Berkshires’ rich African American history.
Field received her Ph.D. in American history from New York University, a master’s degree in public policy from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government, and a bachelor’s degree from Williams College.
The event is free and open to the public via Zoom and will also be livestreamed on Pittsfield Community Television (PCTV), PCTV Select, and the Facebook pages of NAACP Berkshires and PCTV. Registration is required to attend.
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BCC to host three virtual nursing info sessions January 11 and 25
PITTSFIELD — Berkshire Community College (BCC) will offer three virtual information sessions for students interested or enrolled in the Fall 2022 Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) program. One-hour sessions, held via Zoom, will be offered Tuesday, Jan. 11 at 12 p.m. and 5 p.m., and Tuesday, Jan. 25 at 12 p.m. To register for an info session, click here and scroll down to ADN Info Sessions Details & Signup for a list of Zoom registration links.
Completing an information session is mandatory for all ADN students. The sessions provide an opportunity for prospective nursing students to learn more about BCC’s programs, the admissions process, prerequisites, immunization information, and more.
The deadline for application to the fall 2022 ADN program is Tuesday, February 1.
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BCC to hold virtual Martin Luther King Jr. National Day of Service
PITTSFIELD — Berkshire Community College (BCC) will hold a virtual Martin Luther King Jr. National Day of Service, Monday, Jan. 17 from 9 a.m.–3 p.m. The session, held via Zoom, will begin with a keynote speech by Olivia Nda. A graduate of Pittsfield High School and a senior at Howard University, Nda is active in social justice issues in both Washington, D.C. and the Berkshires. The event is co-sponsored by the NAACP Berkshire County Branch.
This year’s salute to Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., in accordance with the wishes of the King family, is focused on voting rights. After the keynote speech, virtual sessions will be held in Zoom breakout rooms, allowing participants to connect and share ideas with fellow community members. To register for the event, visit the BCC website.
Schedule of events
- 9 a.m.: Welcome addresses by BCC President Ellen Kennedy and NAACP Berkshire County Vice President Sabrina Allard
- 9:15 a.m.: Introduction of keynote speaker by BCC Director of Alumni Relations Toni Buckley
- 9:20 a.m.: Keynote speaker Olivia Nda
- 10 a.m.: Brief informational session about volunteer activities
- 10:05–10:30 a.m.: Breakout rooms to share, connect, and reflect on keynote speech
- 1–3 p.m.: Donation drop-off at Paterson Field House
Suggested volunteer activities
- Write postcards to your elected officials to advocate against voter suppression and discriminatory legislation:
Senator Elizabeth Warren: 2400 JFK Federal Building, 15 New Sudbury St., Boston, MA 02203
Senator Ed Markey: 975 JFK Federal Building, 15 New Sudbury St., Boston, MA 02203
- Craft Valentine’s Day cards and notes of appreciation for Berkshire Health Systems nursing home residents and staff members (please mark ‘resident’ or ‘staff’ before drop-off)
- Donate new face masks, new underwear for men and women, small hand sanitizers, disposable menstrual products, individual snacks, and coffee K-cups for the homeless shelter in Pittsfield
Please drop off donations from 1-3 p.m. at Paterson Field House, located at 1350 West St. in Pittsfield. Please wear a mask and follow social distancing guidelines.
Alternatively, participants can make a monetary donation to the Pittsfield homeless shelter by clicking here and following the donation instructions.
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Lenox Cultural Council awards 22 grants
LENOX — The Lenox Cultural Council has announced the award of 22 grants, totaling $10,174, for cultural programs in Berkshire County.
Grants have been awarded to the following programs:
- Arts in Recovery for Youth
- Berkshire Music School’s 2022 Lenox Loves Music Series
- Berkshire Wildlife Sanctuaries’ Nature in Your Neighborhood program
- Cantilena Chamber Choir Corporation’s All County Choir Sing
- Greenagers, Inc.
- Hip Hop Dance Chair Exercise for Seniors
- Lenox Chamber of Commerce Winterland Tree Walk
- Lenox Library’s Something’s Fishy! program
- Mary Jo D. Maichack’s The Lake of the Croaking Frogs
- Michelle Marroquin’s Live Music & Dance at The Mount
- Music in Common’s The Black Legacy Project
- Nutshell Playhouse at Ventfort Hall
- OLLI’s Indigenous Peoples: We Are Still Here program
- Pittsfield Shakespeare in the Park
- SculptureNow at The Mount 2022
- Shakespeare & Company’s 2022 Fall Festival of Shakespeare
- Tamarack Hollow Nature and Cultural Center’s Kennedy Park Hike
- Trio Candela with the Berkshire Rhythm Keepers at the Lenox Artwalk
- The CatnipJunkies: Live! from the Lenox Dining Terrace
- The Stockbridge Sinfonia, Inc.
- WAM Theatre
- Robert Zammarchi’s Elijah T Grasshopper & Friends
Decisions about which activities to support are made at the community level by a board of municipally appointed volunteers. If you are a Lenox resident and would like to help shape the arts programs in Lenox and the surrounding area, please contact Arlene D. Schiff at email@example.com.
The Lenox Cultural Council will seek applications again in the fall. Applications and more information about the Local Cultural Council Program are available online.
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