On the first day of Black History Month, Dr. Frederick D. Haynes, III was formally installed as the President and CEO of Rainbow PUSH Coalition on Thursday, February 1, 2024, at 7 PM at the Black Academy of Arts and Letters. The sold-out installation event featured VIP program participants and attendees from all over the country, including Roland Martin, Rev. Al Sharpton (NAN), Shavonne Arline-Bradley (NCNW), Dr. Michael Sorrell, Dr. Amos Brown, and Dr. Ron Daniels, among others. Tashara Parker, 4X Emmy award-winning journalist, served as the mistress of ceremonies. A livestream is available to watch on YouTube, courtesy of Roland Martin Unfiltered, a Black-owned media network. Both the installation ceremony and the President’s Inaugural Social Justice Conference were presented by Sound Design Studios, a Dallas-based Black-owned production company.
While Rev Al Sharpton delivered the keynote speech, nearly every speaker echoed his sentiments in favor of Dr. Haynes’ selection, his previous work in the community, the role of the Black church in the fight for social justice and the need for community support. Sharpton, however, explicitly called out the issues at hand, connecting the Civil Rights Movement to Dr. Haynes’ existing work as a social justice pastor.
“Look at the time we are in: everything that was gained in the ’60s is now under threat,” said Sharpton. “They talk about affirmative action, women’s rights, diversity, inclusion, voting rights, like somebody woke up and gave us that. Nobody donated anything to us. We fought for everything we got and we need to get back to fighting right now. And that’s why I’ve come to celebrate Freddy, because we need fighters in the pulpit… We need a fighter like Freddy Haynes.”
Many speakers also shared their gratitude for the work that Dr. Haynes has already done, as well as their high hopes in his ability to lead Rainbow PUSH Coalition and serve as an example for the next generation. In doing so, each speaker ultimately connected the work from the Civil Rights Movement to the work being done today. Several speakers also expressed the importance of community support, when speaking in favor of Dr. Haynes’ elevation and the formal work ahead of him in this new role.