Rev. Dr. Karla Cooper ’18DE to give keynote address at NAACP Freedom Fund Banquet
Rev. Dr. Karla Cooper ’18DE, an adjunct professor and special assistant in education at Doane, will be the keynote speaker at the 2019 NAACP Lincoln Branch Freedom Fund Banquet. The banquet will be held Saturday, October 12 at the Cornhusker Marriott in downtown Lincoln, beginning with a social hour at 5:30pm.
Cooper, who is also a pastor at Allen-St. John African Methodist Episcopal Church in Kansas City, has dedicated her life to fighting for social justice. As a former Lincoln resident, she was a pastor at Quinn Chapel AME Church and was front and center of efforts to organize against injustices occurring at the local, state, and national levels.
Cooper now splits her time between Kansas City and Lincoln/Crete, teaching undergraduate and graduate courses as an adjunct professor in the College of Education Monday-Wednesday and working at Allen-St. John AME Church Thursday-Sunday.
Cooper’s keynote address, titled, “Kryptonite or Vibranium?,” will highlight the upcoming 100th anniversary of the end of the women’s suffrage movement. On August 18, 1920, the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was ratified, allowing all American women the right to vote, declaring they deserve all the rights and responsibilities of citizenship. Cooper’s address will focus on the dedication of black women during the movement, despite not receiving voting rights until the 1960s.
“It is an honor and a privilege to be selected to give a keynote address during such a time as this to honor the legacy of women of color, in particular black women’s work and the 19th Amendment’s 100 year anniversary,” Cooper says. “We will discuss the 400th year of slavery juxtaposed with the 21st Century in America and the insidious nature of history repeating itself.”
The theme of the 2019 NAACP Lincoln Branch Freedom Fund Banquet is “When we fight, we win!” As Cooper says, “You shouldn’t be a spectator in life. It’s about creating a better future for our society.” The banquet will also be a celebration of the NAACP Lincoln branch’s 101st anniversary.
“The audience can expect on Saturday evening to learn about how women of color were overlooked, omitted, and not accepted in the voting rights movement,” says Jeraldine Mays, NAACP Lincoln chapter membership chair. “Rev. Dr. Cooper was a participant in several events in Lincoln that fought to eliminate discrimination and prejudice for the rights of women regardless of race, class, sexual orientation, and faith. We felt she would be able to share that women of color were omitted during women's suffrage 100 years ago and what can be done in 2019 to ensure women of color are included and recognized for the role they are playing.”
Proceeds from the annual Freedom Fund Banquet support the mission of the Lincoln Branch NAACP, including the organization’s scholarship program. Scholarships are awarded to a diverse group of local high school seniors with academic promise and financial need.