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Sarasota NAACP Announces 2021 Freedom Award Honorees

| Suncoast Post Staff |

The Sarasota County Branch of the NAACP, is excited to announce the 2021 Freedom Award Honorees and share with the community the first ever, virtual Freedom Awards Banquet presentation.

In its 36th year, the Freedom Awards banquet serves as the primary fundraising event for the local chapter and a public forum for recognizing the outstanding individuals and organizations that serve as key partners in fulfilling the mission of the NAACP.

“This year’s Freedom Awards Banquet theme is Fighting Forward, and our honorees serve as shining community examples of this theme in their commitment to making lives better for all living in our community everyday” said President Trevor Harvey.

2021 Freedom Award Honorees

Dr. Washington Hill received the Lifetime Achievement Award, senior physician at Centerplace Health in practice for nearly 30 years at Sarasota Memorial Hospital, for his history of community service and civic activism focused on the protection and preservation of civil and human rights.

The President’s Award(s) were presented to Children First CEO Philip Tavill, Attorney Dan Danheisser, and Dr. Lisa Merritt, Founder of the Multicultural Health Institute for their individual and agency efforts in consistently demonstrating a commitment to improving the quality of life for others in the community without regard to race, creed, or color.

The Education Award was presented to Dr. Tracy Goodman, a teacher at Booker High School and founder of College! Yes! Inc., a program that provides support to parents and students interested in attending college or vocational school.

The Public Service Award was presented to the Honorable Rochelle Taylor Curley, a circuit court judge and the first African American woman elected to the Twelfth Judicial Circuit of Florida for her public role and work enhancing and improving the social, economic, and political stature of those marginalized within the community.

The Community Service Award was presented to the Howard Club of Southwest Florida and their current President, Dr. Lawrence Miller for their focus on helping students achieve their educational dreams through mentorship and scholarships.

The Rising Star(s) Award was presented to twin sisters Jovanna Patino-Murillo and Johanna Patino-Murillo, 2021 graduates of Sarasota High school for their extensive volunteer service within the community.

The Go Forth and Prosper Award was presented to former Rising Star Award recipient Olivia Baylou for excelling academically in college and actively pursuing her career goals.

The Business and Industry Award was presented to Sarasota Memorial Internal Medical Practice at Newtown and physicians Dr. Wilhelmine Wiese-Rometsch and Dr. Vida Farhangi for their tireless work in remaining open during the pandemic and providing uninterrupted care to patients while also providing one of the first large scale Covid-19 vaccination clinics to the Newtown Community.

Special Thanks to this year’s major sponsors: Signature Sponsor, Charles & Margery Barancik Foundation, Sabal Palm Bank, ABC7, Children First, Goodwill, New College of Florida, Community Foundation of Sarasota County and FCCI.

To view the virtual Freedom Awards Banquet, community members may visit this link:

About the NAACP

The vision of the NAACP is to ensure a society in which all individuals

have equal rights without discrimination based on race.

Photo from Sarasota NAACP

From L to R: Cynthia Howard, FAB Chair, Dr. Wilhelmine Wiese-Rometsch, Jovanna Patino-Murillo and Johanna Patino-Murillo, Dr. Tracy Goodman, Dr. Washington Hill, Dr. Lawrence Miller, Olivia Baylou, Honorable Rochelle Taylor Curley, Philip Tavill, and NAACP President Trevor Harvey

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