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  • Writer's pictureAlicia Payne

Empowering the Community: Derrick L. Foward, Local NAACP President & Dedicated Servant

Updated: Aug 14, 2023

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) was founded on February 12, 1909, by a diverse group of individuals united by their aspirations and determination to instigate change. The organization emerged in response to the race riots in Springfield, Illinois, in 1908, where African Americans were injured and killed.

Mary White Ovington, a Caucasian woman, joined the NAACP alongside its original members, including W.E.B DuBois, Ida B. Wells, and William English Walling. Ovington was inspired by an article written by Walling titled "Race War in the North," which she encountered while investigating the conditions faced by people of color. After corresponding with Walling and meeting him, they realized their shared goals and established the NAACP.

Guided by his deeply rooted Christian values, President Derrick L. Foward embodies the essence of true leadership. From challenging discrimination head-on, to fearlessly confronting police brutality and advocating for reform, the NAACP chapter in Dayton, Ohio, has found an exceptional leader in President Foward.

The Dayton Unit NAACP, formed in 1915, is one of the largest civil and human rights organizations. Under President Foward's leadership, the chapter has been a powerful platform for education, justice, and equality for all. The President emphasizes, "We were founded by blacks and whites who believed racism was wrong. You have to be very careful about saying all white people are bad, and all black people are good. You have to be very careful about that." President Foward underscores that the organization was founded by a diverse, multi-ethnic group of people committed to protecting individuals of all races by combating civil and human rights issues.

Dr. Derrick L. Foward has voluntarily served for over 17 years and has been recognized with numerous awards for his dedicated service including ten consecutive Thalheimer Awards, presented by the NAACP for the top "Activist of the Year." His impactful leadership has brought significant positive changes to Dayton. The President is guided by three strategic goals—Inform, Educate, and Empower—which are relevant to issues that affect all Americans.

President Foward has transformed the dynamics of the organization by establishing specific committees, such as the Youth Committee, where leadership is fostered from five years old to adulthood. These initiatives, along with awarding scholarships for training in STEM and the arts, have proven the effectiveness of his presidency.

It's important to recognize that the NAACP is not solely an advocacy organization, but much more. Anyone can file a complaint within the agency and be assured of receiving advocacy in any area of civil rights. President Foward has successfully tackled significant cases with the support of his team. The President credits his team by saying, "My team makes me shine." Dr. Foward believes that without his team, he would not have been able to resolve numerous complaints. Examples of President Foward's activism can be found in his most recent cases, which are listed on the local NAACP website.

One of the most notable cases involves police brutality against a paraplegic, Clifford Owensby. Through Owensby's case, Dr. Foward fearlessly confronted the challenges, working closely with Owensby's lawyer. As a result of Owensby's case, Dr. Foward designed a strategy to foster police reform, known as the 10-point system. This system has brought about real accountability and positive changes within the Dayton Police Department.

Dr. Foward continues to hold the City of Dayton accountable for the closure of Good Samaritan Hospital in 2018. Since the closure of Good Samaritan Hospital, Dr. Foward has stated, "We still need a hospital, or perhaps an urgent care, but there is still a need." The President understands the heart of Dayton, where the citizens have become discouraged over the closing of the hospital. With steadfast determination, Dr. Foward will not give up in his mission to hold the city accountable until a new community hospital is established.

The evidence of his successful leadership is apparent. Dr. Foward has demonstrated his steadfastness, discipline, and dedication to service, which are essential for advancing African American issues in the present day. The journey towards equality continues, and with the Dayton Unit NAACP President leading the charge, there is no limit to what he can achieve.

Dare to dream, dare to fight, and join hands as we work towards shaping a brighter, more inclusive tomorrow for all!

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