The 2019 Convention
A CONVENTION TO REMEMBER
It is easy to consider this year's convention as the convention of all conventions. There are several valid reasons to rightly do so. We experienced a record attendance at the annual fundraising banquet and ball where the hall was full to capacity. There was also a pre-convention workshop/retreat for officers and ranking members of the association. Convention Chair Calvin Johnson, Co-Chair Lucinda Nagbe, and the Georgia team executed a well-planned weekend of activities that had everyone sad to leave.
The convention weekend started off with a good number of persons arriving on Thursday, August 8th to attend the workshop on the morning of Friday the 9th. Mr. Calvin Johnson, the closest member to the airport was gracious enough to open up his home for early arrivals to stop over for a drink and some delicious foods made from scratch. He also availed himself to pick up people from the airport who didn't have rides. Prior to arriving in the Atlanta area, the Nagbes posted on our WhatsApp group page that food was going to be available at their home throughout the day on Thursday the 8th as well. I had planned on playing spider by stopping at both places to take advantage of the generous offer, but time did not permit me. The food was extremely delicious at the Johnsons with plenty to go around. Ms. Leyeama Johnson entertain the guests with some of the best tunes she could lay her hands on. The variety of drinks offered complemented the evening well. Learning from what took place at the Nagbes, I did get the impression that the environment was just as festive. There were a variety of authentic Liberian dishes prepared to perfection. Drinks were also in abundance. Both locations were entertaining to the point that one either went to the Johnsons or the Nagbes and had an equally good time. There was absolutely no need to play spider and try both locations as the distance between them was far. Adding the crazy Atlanta traffic made it not worth the try.
On Friday morning at the Harmons, the workshop/retreat kicked off with more well-prepared food for both breakfast and lunch. Anyone on a diet or watching their weight had to put it on hold for the weekend of the convention as it appeared that the Atlanta folks had connived to have people put on some extra pounds. The workshop was successful to the point that there was much talk about incorporating it into the annual convention activities moving forward. After the workshop, everyone went their separate ways and prepared themselves for the meet and greet social later on that evening.
At the meet and greet social which took place at Calvin Johnson's Ellenwood residence, there was a cover charge of $10 per person. It included entrance to the facility plus all of the food and water. Other drinks (including alcoholic beverages were sold at very reasonable prices. The food was very delicious and the DJ did an excellent job of playing the right mix of music to suit the occasion. The Thorpe sisters displayed their handiwork of various fragrances of soap as well as African wear and accessories, sold at reasonable prices. At one point during the evening, the host, Mr. Johnson and his better half, Ms. Thorpe, became the center of attraction when they stole the dance floor with their original dance moves. It appeared as if they had well rehearsed the moves because they were flawless.
The business meeting was held at the main venue of the convention, the Independence Hall of the Sonesta Gwinnett Place Hotel in Duluth.m Details of the meeting are contained in the minutes prepared by the secretary, Mrs. Anna Konah-Jackson. It is important to note that this was an election year for officers and all positions were up for election. At the end of voting held by secret ballot and conducted by Mr. E. Nuku Reeves with assistance provided by Mr. Beatrice Gildersleeves and Mrs. Comfort Warner. All officers were re-elected to retain their positions. Delaware was selected to host the 2020 convention. It has already been decided that the convention will convene at Dover Downs in the State Capital of Dover.
Saturday evening was the highlight of convention activities where members and guests assembled in the Independence Hall of of Sonesta Hotel. Everyone was elegantly dressed for the occasion. There were all sorts of beautiful evening gowns worn to enhance the beauty of the ladies as well as customs tailored suits and African attires worn by the gentlemen to complement the ladies. The occasion was emceed by our own beautiful Diana Harmon. Convention Chair Calvin Johnson gave the welcome remarks. He seized the opportunity to recognize members of the convention committee as well as sponsors of ads placed in the program. In attendance for the first time since capturing the crown in 2014 was Mrs. Dekontee Alice Taylor. She was again victorious in the queen contest and is taking the crown back to Florida. Hopefully this will not be a long absence like before. The program started within reasonable time and proceeded as scheduled, throwing the keynote speaker off-guard as she deliberately arrived late (assuming that Liberian functions are never on time). After a beautiful introduction by her daughter, Dr. Somo Hubbard Barsir spoke briefly, encouraging the association to continue to do its best to make a difference in the lives of the students of the Bassa High School. She later went on to installed the newly re-elected officers. Mr. Immanuel Karpeh rallied the audience to a successful fundraising campaign to support the solar panel project at the school (a necessity for providing a constant supply of electricity as a cost effecient alternative to the high cost of fuel and generator maintenence). Several persons received the Presidential awards for outstanding services to the organization and Grand Bassa County. Among them were Mrs. Martha Massoud, Mr. Wallace M. Dixon, Mr. Charles G. Nagbe, Mrs. Lucinda Y. Nagbe, Mr. Oscar Barnard, Ms. Berma Findley, Ms. Pearl Knowlden, Mrs. Alfreda M. Davis and Ms. Ida E. Lloyd. Both the annual Queen Contest and Fundraising Rally generated considerable amounts of revenue for the organization. The food was average with a choice of chicken or fish as meat, along with a variety of vegetables, dinner rolls and salad. The evening was climaxed with the dancing kick-off by our signature Grand March led by Board Chair Victor D. King and escorted by the lovely Ms. Berma Findley. Following this, the house was rocked until 2AM with an Atlanta based DJ playing a variety of tunes to the delight of the audience.
With the exception of the early bird travelers, the Sunday brunch at the Nagbes was a blast. Plenty of foods and drinks were provided by the hosts. It was a fun time of joke shared from the activities of the previous days and expectations for the 2020 convention in Dover, DE. One excited news that was spread at the brunch was the preliminary figures for the revenue generated from convention related activities. It was disclosed that a total of $17,000 plus was raised and that figure was expected to increase as funds came in. Two days later, it was revealed that the amount reported erroneously did not consider payments online through our website. This bumped the preliminary figures up to $22,000 plus. This is one of the conditions for considering the 2019 convention as the among conventions. If we had a wall or hall of fame, the 2019 convention would be a prime consideration for the recognition.