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  • Writer's pictureOhio Black Media Collective

Dayton NAACP President Earns 54th NAACP Image Award

Updated: Aug 8, 2023

An amazing celebration, highlighting the major accomplishments of political leaders, entertainers, activists, and other changemakers

Dr. Derrick Foward, Dayton NAACP president, accepts the NAACP Image Award as “ Activist of the Year” surrounded by his family members.

(Pasadena, CA) – Standing on the NAACP Image Award Dinner stage, Dr. Derrick L. Foward couldn’t believe that he was one of the awardees at the week-long 54th Annual NAACP Image Awards.

He received a surprise call from Robin Harrison- Hollywood NAACP Vice Chair notifying that he had been nominated by Dayton Branch Treasurer Tiwona Branham. “All I could say was Yes and Thank You,” Dr. Foward said humbly.

A contingent of family and friends accompanied him to California to see the award acceptance during the Friday banquet hosted by Actress Bersha Wade, Actor Wendall Pierce and Hollywood NAACP Vice Chair Karen Boykins presented the award at the Friday night Awards Banquet at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium.

Ohioans attending the 54th Annual NAACP Image Awards were Tiffany Edwards, Ohio NAACP President Tom Roberts, Dr. Derrick Foward- NAACP “Activist of the Year” and Dayton NAACP President

Ohio guests included: mother- Dr. Gloria J. Foward; sisters- Dr. Sharon R. Johnson-Foward, Debroah L. Foward, and Valyrie R. Foward; Ohio State NAACP President Tom Roberts; Dr. Dora Brunston- State secretary and Tiffaney Edwards- State Freedom Fund chair; and branch members- Rev. Dr. David I. FoxRev. Aurthur Williams, Harvey C. Bolden, Charisie M. Edmonson-Prison chapter, and Stacey D. Benson.

Dr. Foward joined a class of Blacks to be honored by the National NAACP and its Hollywood Branch. This year's NAACP Image Awards was an amazing celebration, highlighting the major accomplishments of political leaders, entertainers, activists, and other changemakers. “It will also be a night that shows how our community can come together and impact each other and the world in a positive way," said Derrick Johnson, NAACP President and CEO.

A native of Dayton, Foward has served for two decades as president of Ohio's second largest branch where he raised over $2.9 million for scholarships and local programs. Derrick comes from a family of work ethics, educational excellence and religious beliefs: his father the late Elder Dr. Alphonsa Foward, Sr.- retired Senior Computer Programmer (DESC) and Dr. Gloria J. Foward- retired Senior Management Analyst (WPAFB).

Foward graduated from Christ Temple Christian School as class valedictorian and a leader on the Christ Temple Warriors basketball team. He graduated from Central State University with a dual Bachelor of Science Degree in Management and Marketing on 1990. He is a Life Member of the CSU GAA, CSU Dayton Alumni Chapter, and Central State University Alumni Achievement Hall of Fame on March 1, 2016. He received his Master Degree in Administration and Organization from International Apostolic University of Grace and Truth in 2002 and a Doctorate of Humane Letters from IAUGT on September 30, 2018.

Foward retired from Speedway, LLC – now 7-11 Corp after 28 years of service working his way up the leadership ladder from store manager to corporate Account Management Rep. and retired as a Program Manager. Out of 17,000 employees at Speedway, Foward received the coveted Living Our Values ``Volunteer of the Year” Award in 2012.

This father of 4 and grandfather of 3, has never forgot to give back to Wilberforce University and Central State University students with career opportunities and scholarships. He also implemented a Proactive Civil Rights Agenda through monthly Educational Community-Based Workshops and Seminars to educate citizens on the front-end of Civil Rights issues.

After giving his ”Activist of the Year” acceptance speech, Dr. Derrick Foward dropped to one knee to propose to a surprised Tiwona Branham. The couple received thunderous applause from Pasadena Civic Auditorium banquet guests. This was the first time an awardee proposed at the Image Awards.

Derrick serves as Vice President of the Ohio State NAACP and is the second top NAACP membership seller in Ohio with over $292,000. Foward serves as a member of the NAACP National Life Membership Committee and Chairs the NAACP National Credentials Committee. As the first Dayton Branch Diamond Life Member, he has lead the Dayton Youth Council to win Bronze, Silver and Gold National ACT-SO Awards.

Bradley Ross Jackson received the NAACP’s “Youth Activist of the Year” award at the Friday night Banquet. A member of the Bloomington-Norman, Indiana NAACP, Bradley is its Youth NAACP Council president. Bradley organized a 1,000 person peaceful protest demanding justice for the late George Floyd in Bloomington, Indiana.

Dr. Foward with Atty Benjamin Crump, noted national Civil Rights attorney and recipient of the NAACP “Social Justice Impact Award.”

Among the honorees during the nationally televised Award program will be:

  • US Congressman Bennie Thompson (D-Miss) who led the House select committee on the January 6th inserrection investigation.

  • Atty Benjamin Crump, noted national Civil Rights attorney, received the NAACP’s “Social Justice Impact Award.”

  • America’s Black power couple- actress Gabrielle Union-Wade and NBA all-star Dwayne Wade of the Miami Heat – accepted the “2023 President's Award.”

Queen Latifah, CBS star of “The Equalizer,” hosted the CBS/BET nationally televised broadcast on Saturday, February 25th. She is the first HipHop artist enshrined into Hollywood Hall of Fame. "Queen Latifah is one of our generation's most influential and iconic voices. We are excited to collaborate with the groundbreaking megastar as she hosts the 54th NAACP Image Awards," said Connie Orlando, EVP Specials, Music Programming & Music Strategy at BET. "As always, we look forward to partnering with NAACP to celebrate Black creativity and ingenuity for an unforgettable night of Black excellence that will inspire, entertain, and empower viewers worldwide."

NAACP Image Award sponsors were: by Wells Fargo and sponsored by Bank of America, Gushers, Google, Airbnb, Amazon, FedEx, Lowe's, Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Audible, Bacardi, and Mielle.


By Bill Ellis, Jr., Publisher - The Reporter

This was a special report for the Ohio Black Media Collective.


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