Rev. Butts to address 30th NAACP banquet

Staff Writer

Rev. Butts to address
30th NAACP banquet
Staff Writer

LAKEWOOD — The Rev. Calvin O. Butts III is an educator, civil rights activist and man of God. On Friday, he will be the guest speaker at the NAACP’s 30th annual Freedom Fund banquet at the Eagle Ridge Golf Club in Lakewood.

"If you look at people that are deprived of an equal education, you will see how that impacts significantly other areas of their lives," said James Waters, president of the Lakewood/Ocean County branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). "Many of the issues for which Butts has received acclaim are just as relevant for people in Lakewood [as those in New York]. He believes that all people deserve the same respect and access to the better things in life."

Butts, the pastor of the Abyssinian Baptist Church as well as president of the State University of New York at Old Westbury, will speak on the topic "Get Involved, Make a Difference." Throughout his life, he has embodied that maxim.

New York City born and bred, Butts graduated from Morehouse College in Atlanta with a bachelor of arts degree in philosophy. He went on to earn a master’s of divinity degree in church history from the Union Theological Seminary; a doctor of ministry in church and public policy from Drew University; and has received hon­orary degrees from the City College of New York, Tuskegee University, Claflin College, Dillard University, Muhlenberg College and Trinity College.

His professional positions have included president of the Council of Churches of the City of New York; vice chair of the board of directors of United Way of New York City; and a member of the ex­ecutive board of the Boy Scouts of America, Theodore Roosevelt Council, board of trustees of the American Baptist College, and board of directors of the Community Development Corp. of Long Island.

Butts is one of the founders of the Abyssinian Development Corp., a comprehensive community-based organization responsible for more than $300 million in housing and commercial development in Harlem, New York City. He was also instrumental in building the new Thurgood Marshall Academy for Learning and Social Change, a public inter­mediate and high school, which opened on 135th Street and Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Boulevard in February.

A community leader as well as a religious leader, Butts has spear­headed movements for social change. He led a boycott against several New York institutions to protest racial policies and alleged employment discrimination. In the 1990s, Butts took aim at rap lyrics that he maintained denigrated women and promoted violence.

More recently, he has focused his attention on eliminating billboard advertisements in central Harlem that promote the use of alcohol and tobacco products among the pre­dominantly black residents living there. Charging the practice dis­criminatory, Butts said such prod­ucts greatly reduce the life ex­pectancy of those who use them.

Butts has carried his message of social and moral conscience abroad as well as throughout the greater New York metropolitan area. He has traveled to Africa, Cuba, Europe, the Middle East, South America and the Caribbean.

A married father of three, Butts has broadened educational oppor­tunities for both young and adult students. For the past five years, he has strived to prepare the diverse student population at Old Westbury for business careers in a global economy.

On Friday, Butts will invoke his message of commitment and social involvement for the benefit of hu­manity. Tickets are $55 for adults and $25 for children.

For further information, contact Pam Coefield, (732) 367-1453; Anita Lockerman, (732) 364-6389; or Sandy Waters, (732) 364-3622.