Feb 26, 2022

The hundreds of thousands of African American veterans and their military families were paid tribute at Feb. 20’s 10th annual Martin Luther King Jr. Sunday Supper, hosted online by sorority Alpha Kappa Alpha, Inc. and fraternity Omega Psi Phi, Inc. with the theme, “Where do we go from here?”

African American veterans from conflicts dating back to the Revolutionary War were recognized for their contributions to American history and the roles they played in defending the country from offshore threats.

One of the three Salute to Veterans award recipients, Kaufman Fund Food 4 Vets, was nominated by The Salvation Army’s LaKeysha Fields, assistant divisional director of social services, who was acknowledged during the show.

“It’s through these partnerships that the Kaufman Fund is able to help veterans and their children throughout the St. Louis area,” the Kaufman Fund’s Sheila Schneider said. “These partnerships have allowed for the Kaufman Fund to become a hub for veterans to go to with resources to help them with their everyday lives. We greatly appreciate the nomination and this award.”

Kaufman Fund Food 4 Vets will partner with The Salvation Army Midland Division for several upcoming food distribution events in 2022, handing out food to veterans in need.

Other Salute to Veterans awards went to the NAACP St. Louis County’s John Bowman and St. Louis Community College’s Tracy Carpenter Bond.

“Veterans put their souls, families and even lives into serving and fighting for what they believe in and doing what they can to make this country the best place to live in, but also the world a better place,” Bond said. “After serving 33 years in the U.S. Navy and returning home from several deployments, it became so apparent to me the work that needed to be done for veterans and our families, following our service. St. Louis Community College not only embraced that vision in the importance of educating, reintegrating, and supporting veterans and their families, in response to that need and under my purview, St. Louis Community College Department of Veterans Affairs was born.”

Musical tributes with pictures and names of soldiers, a U.S. color guard presentation, a list of “missing in action” soldiers, and a performance of the “Star Spangled Banner” gave the event perspective.

The rousing 15-minute keynote speech, from Dr. Paul Prosper, was about the night’s theme of “Where do we go from here?”

Dr. Prosper, the owner of several businesses, including ones for HR management and investment, a former U.S. Air Force Academy assistant professor of management, and native of Kingston, Jamaica, discussed the history of African Americans in American wars.

Dr. Prosper examined the place of African Americans in American history, questioning whether 20th century African American leader Marcus Garvey may have been most correct of African American historic leaders in that his view that American racism would never end.

The statement helped shape a repatriation effort by declaring that African Americans, Dr. Prosper said, would be best served by leaving the U.S., instead of pursuing integration or financial independence in America.

Dr. Prosper said, “Was Marcus Garvey most right? If Black people and all their talent and resiliency would have left en masse in 1922, how many Wakandas would exist right now in Africa? There is a Black movement going on in full swing where many thousands of Black Americans are moving abroad to countries where they feel valued, included, happy, and they blend in.”

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