This weekend we have lost a fighter. Longtime president of the Beverly Hills/Hollywood branch of the NAACP, Willis Edwards died this weekend. Willis was one of the few openly gay presidents of the organization. He was a true fighter for civil rights and the recognition of people of color. One of things he is highly known for is getting the NAACP Image Awards televised.
Karen Ocamb from LBGT/POV has more of this amazing leader:
Edwards, who was born in Texas and raised in Palm Springs, was instrumental in launching the NAACP Image Awards on national television. He contributed that expertise to panels such as “Knocking Down the Door: Black LGBT Images in Media” – a standing room only panel at the Screen Actors Guild in March 2009, sponsored by GLAAD and the National Black Justice Coalition with the panel co-sponsored by SAG’s LGBT Actors Committee and the Beverly Hills/Hollywood Branch of the NAACP.He will be missed to us in LA and across the country.
Willis was honored by the Black AIDS Institute and the Magic Johnson Foundation on World AIDS Day in 2010, along with former President Bill Clinton, actor and HIV/AIDS activist Blair Underwood, among others.
Last year, Willis was a respected and ubiquitous presence during the NAACP’s national convention in Los Angeles July 22-24. During the Saturday, July 23, lunch that featured a very strong keynote by Dr. Gail Wyatt, UCLA AIDS Institute, Willis took the podium and was received warmly with much familiarity and appreciative applause. During the NAACP’s first-ever Town Hall on LGBT issues, Willis was acknowledged by NAACP panelists and civil rights icon Julian Bond – which prompted Willis to speak his mind with the authority of years from his perch in the audience.
More info on Willis is here