Impressed by Fran

Posted: Friday, October 25, 2002

Several weeks ago, I attended the NAACP Annual Dinner. There were three impressive components about that evening.

First, Rep. John Lewis was a powerful keynote speaker He shared his life story in the context of African American history. He focused on the past to remind to all of us of the struggle for equality for people of color including Alaska Natives and American Indians.

The second impressive part of the evening was the appropriateness of Lt. Gov. Fran Ulmer's speech, which honored the journey of African Americans and their contributions to this country. In her eloquent presentation, she chose a quote from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s book, "Letters from a Birmingham Alabama City Jail" that reminds us of his legacy.

Third, Lt. Gov. Ulmer did not use the opportunity of the evening to campaign for governor nor did she use this as an opportunity to highlight her own accomplishments. As an attendee of past events, I know that Lt. Gov. Ulmer has attended the NAACP dinners over the years whether she was running for office or not.

I have been a resident of Alaska for 23 years. Over the years, I have rarely engaged in the public area of politics. However, as I listened to the lieutenant governor it made me proud that a woman of this stature and humbleness could represent us so well.

I would also like to thank the NAACP for their diligence each year in bringing the community together in solidarity, not only to acknowledge where we have been but also to focus on where we are going.

Shirley Mae Springer Staten


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