Due to the ongoing COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic, this year’s event followed all public health and safety protocols, and had a limited gathering and adhered to all social distancing guidelines. Focus Springfield streamed the ceremony on the City’s Office of Communications Facebook page.
The program included greetings from State Senator Adam Gomez, State Representative Carlos Gonzalez, City Council President and Ward 5 Councilor Marcus Williams, and Ward 4 City Councilor Malo Brown. Vanessa Ford performed the musical selection and Rev. J.P. Morgan from Holy Trinity G.O.G.I.C. delivered the keynote address. Dr. Gloria B. Williams served as the Mistress of Ceremony.
The 35th Annual Black American Heritage ceremony honored the memory and legacy of the late Ruth B. Loving. This year’s Ruth B. Loving Civil Rights Award recipient is Ida R. Flynn for her unyielding and tireless efforts in our community advocating and fighting for social justice and for her dedication to her faith and church. Bishop Talbert Swan, II received the award on her behalf.
Mayor Sarno states, “Even though we cannot have our usual annual event, we still want to hold a small ceremony and flag raising to acknowledge and honor our City’s proud Black American Heritage. I want to acknowledge the legacy of the late Ruth B. Loving. There was no stronger advocate for this event than her. Congratulations to Ida Flynn on receiving this prestigious and well-deserved award.”
State Representative Bud Williams states, “Ruth B. Loving was the mother of the civil rights movement here in the City of Springfield. She started this annual flag-raising event. Congratulations to our beloved Ida R. Flynn for receiving the Ruth B. Loving Civil Rights Award for her years of dedication to our community. Ida is a tireless advocate and fighter for social justice in our community of color and for our church community. She joined the NAACP in 1976 and has worked there ever since, serving as a past president. The raising of the Black American Heritage flag is done to highlight the great accomplishments of Black and African-Americans in our City, our Commonwealth and across our Nation.”
City Council President and Ward 5 Councilor Marcus Williams stated, “I want to thank State Representative Bud Williams and Mayor Sarno for continuing to hold the 35th Annual Black American Heritage ceremony. No rain, snow, cold or COVID-19 can hold us back. It is so important to hold this event to acknowledge, honor, and recognize our proud heritage. Congratulations to our beloved Ida Flynn, I can think of no one more deserving to receive the Ruth B. Loving Civil Rights Award.”
Ward 4 City Councilor Malo Brown said, “It is important to continue to hold these annual events that honor our families and our proud heritage. I want to acknowledge all of our community’s faith leaders for their continued message of hope, love, and God’s blessing. Congratulations to Ida Flynn for receiving this prestigious and well-deserved award, which honors the memory of Ruth B. Loving.”