During the week of Juneteenth, the African American Leadership Society with United Way of Anderson County held the Dream Awards gala on Friday, June 21. The gala celebrated local communitarians and raised money to support the Jane Edna Hunter Empowerment Center.

Keynote speaker Dr. James Noble, vice president for Diversity, Community, and Inclusion at Anderson University, spoke about accomplishing things by working together.

“My friends, we need each other. It’s time that Blacks stop hating whites, and whites to stop hating Blacks,” said Dr. Noble. “When we come together, the world will stop and look and say there’s a united force that can’t be stopped.”

Dr. James Noble, Vice President for Diversity Community, and Inclusion at Anderson University speaks during the 2024 African American Leadership Society awards at the Westside Community Center in Anderson, S.C. Friday, June 21, 2024.

“We’re here to celebrate each other with love and fellowship. Live your life so the Lord can use it,” said the Rev. Joe Moss, honored with a United Way of Anderson County award.

Carol Burdette, President & Chief Executive Officer of United Way of Anderson County hugs Sandra Gantt near Dr. Jerome Hudson, Don Peppers and Juana Slade, during the 2024 African American Leadership Society awards at the Westside Community Center in Anderson, S.C. Friday, June 21, 2024.

Carol Burdette, retiring this year after 35 years of leading United Way of Anderson County, honored Sandra Gantt, Don Peppers, Dr. Jerome Hudson, and Juana Slade for their community service.

Carol Burdette, middle, President and CEO of United Way of Anderson County, is honored by AALS for her 35 years of serving the community from Dr. Chaka Smith and Caleb Allen, left, during the 2024 African American Leadership Society awards at the Westside Community Center in Anderson, S.C. Friday, June 21, 2024.

“Tonight we have honored Juneteenth and recognized the exceptional individuals in our community who have made significant contributions to the betterment of society,” Dr. Chaka Smith, AALS member, said in her closing speech. “The stories we’ve heard tonight are a testament to the power and perseverance, resilience, and unwavering belief in the pursuit of justice. As we leave this gathering tonight, let us carry the spirit of Juneteeth in our heart and minds. Let us be inspired by the achievements of those we have honored and strived to create a future where every individual is seen, heard and valued. Together, we can continue the work of those before us,”

Chunta Miller, middle, and Vaughn Newman dance with others at the end of the 2024 African American Leadership Society awards at the Westside Community Center in Anderson, S.C. Friday, June 21, 2024. The fundraiser helping the Jane Edna Hunter Empowerment Center with the Urban League of the Upstate, recognized area leaders.
Marcus Brown, left, Cameron Owens Hunter, Crystal Noble, Margaret Reese Rucker and Jason Rucker Jr., Rev. Joe Moss, and Bobby McGowens pose for photographers as African American Leadership Society of United Way of Anderson County award recipients, during the 2024 African American Leadership Society awards at the Westside Community Center in Anderson, S.C. Friday, June 21, 2024.