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2023 Peekskill NAACP 
Freedom Fund Event 

This year, we celebrate 50 years of Hip Hop.  But not just hip hop, we celebrate our voice through music.  Jazz, Gospel, Rhthym and Blues and Rap genres have been our voice for more than 50 years.  Our expression of struggle, pain, joy and victory has been the one way that has been universal.  We can cry, laugh, dance and sing the lyrics that effect us to our core and scream out loud without consequence.  Why? because the song and lyrics may be just that for an "average" listener but to others, it allows the pain and anquish of life to know they are not alone.  It allows US to say what they have been feeling without words we cannot formulate.

From slavery to now, we use song to ease the pain of work, to worship, to commuicate and for entertainment.  Hip hop is often used interchangeably to refer to rap or just the culture of Black music.  Lyricism, dj'ing, break-dancing, graffiti and the overall culture of the hard-hitting rap scene comprise hip hop.  Wikipedia says "The hip hop genre is so popular because it is more than just a genre, it is a culture that has influenced America since the 1970's. The culture of hip hop has four elements involved in it. The elements are mcing, djing, break dancing, and the art of graffiti. These four elements together make up what we call hip hop.

But, we cannot have hip hop without Gospel, R&B, Jazz or any other expression through the lives of Black people.  That is what we are celebrating on November 12, 2023 at the Paramount theater!

Fun Fact:  In 1919, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) dubbed "Lift Every Voice and Sing" the "Negro national anthem", for its power in voicing a cry for liberation and affirmation for African American people.



Join us every Wednesday before our event!  Meet the President, officers, honorees and your neighbors.

Taste Ofori's cuisine and see why he was a top chef on a major food competition!

Play music trivia and win prizes!


2023 Freedom Fund Honorees

Melvin Moore - Unsung Hero Award

Mr. Moore is the Peekskill NAACP Treasurer and beyond his call of duty, shows up no matter what time an event starts or ends to ensure that the needed supplies are available. Mel’s work is quiet behind the scenes dedication, support, and encouragement.  He is also a strong confidant and mentor to his neighbors, friends and brothers of the Islamic Center of Peekskill.  His support is constant and never goes unnoticed by his Peekskill NAACP fellow Board Members.

Regina Clarkin – Unsung Heroine Award

The publisher of the Peekskill Herald, Peekskill’s only independent, non-profit news outlet that reports on matters relevant to its residents for the civic health of the community. Ms. Clarkin has been a champion throughout her career for justice and equality. Regina is a leader in her community and workplace. She is a phenomenal trailblazer who leads by example and advocates for others.

Reverend Jeannette J. Phillips - Posthumous Community Service Award

We want to express our heartfelt appreciation for her exceptional contributions and the enormous impact she has had on this organization. She has shown us what great self-sacrifice looks like in the community we serve. Reverend Phillips was one of the founding "Mothers" of the Peekskill Health Center providing services to an underserved population.  She additionally is the founder of the Preservation Company that has provided affordable housing to those in need.  Her legacy continues on with her children, her Park Street AME church, Sun River Health co-workers and partners and so many more.

Tuesday McDonald – Distinguished Service Award

Mrs. McDonald has been an integral part of the Peekskill community for over three decades. She continues to play roles that have impacted both our religious and secular communities. Tuesday is a sought-after leader and works hard to bring many resources to the community. During the pandemic, she and her team worked hard to keep the community safe and moving forward.

Adrienne Harper – Ambassador of Education Award

As the owner of Jump for Joy Day Care she is an advocate for our students and parents. Mrs. Harper makes sure children have school supplies, contributes to local fundraisers, Veteran’s projects as well as senior and community events. When Adrienne speaks to people you always know that she loves Peekskill, and believes in Peekskill.

Ariana Okoth - Youth Ambassador Award

Ms. Okoth is an outstanding representation of the students of Peekskill High School. She has maintained high honors and continues to be involved in several social justice activities in this community (including her work with New Era Creative Space and her recent podcast, "My Activist Life." Ariana represents, unashamedly, "BLACK GIRL MAGIC" and as a young woman gives us all a glimpse at a great future of positve change.

Valerie Eaton – Drum Major for Justice Award

Through various speaking engagements and other work Ms. Eaton pushed for equality whether it regards race, gender, and age in many organizations around Westchester County. Valerie’s service is never limited and she has a "can do" attitude that lets our community know that she cares. As the former Peekskill NAACP President she have been active in protests, community engagement programs and other projects demanding justice and peace for everyone. This includes her voice on the community advisory board for the NY Hudson Valley Presbyterian Hospital during her tenure as Peekskill NAACP President.  She is now the founder, Owner and CEO of Matters Entertainment dedicated to supporting independent music artists locally and with equity.

NY Presbyterian Hudson Valley Hospital - Community Empowerment Award

A great resource and a strong supporter of the Peekskill Area Community. The Hudson Valley New York Presbyterian Hospital has supported the work of the Peekskill NAACP as a Corporate Member with Director of Community Affairs, Ellen Bloom who serves on the Peekskill NAACP Health Committee.

Marisol Jimenez – Mel Tapley Award

Mrs. Jimenez is an active member of the Rotary Club, Mount Olivet Baptist Church and the Peekskill Parks Advisory Board. Marisol has also collaborated with The Fern Tree, The Bean Runner Café, The Mayor’s Office, The City of Peekskill, The Alvin Ailey Dance Company and many other international and multicultural events. She also assists those in the community who need help navigating where English is not their first language.

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