Kathy J. Trotter (President's Award)
Trotter doesn't stand still.
This longtime educator has been a teacher, a principal and now works as a coordinator of the single-parent program at Metropolitan Community College. She helps single parents stay in school and connects them to community resources.
She gave 29 years to the Omaha Public Schools and opened Jesuit Middle School, serving as principal for six years. But her service has long extended beyond the classroom. She has volunteered for years for a host of groups, including Salem Baptist Church, the NAACP and the Urban League of Nebraska Inc. She holds a national position with the Urban League as central regional coordinator of the organization's guilds.
She currently serves as a mentor to young expectant mothers through a unique project started by the University of Nebraska Medical Center. For many years, she has taken high school students on tours of historically black colleges and universities.
Wileather Lewis (Freedom Fighter Award)
Lewis never accepts the status quo.
When she moved to Omaha from Arkansas in the 1950s, she saw a segregated city and decided to sign up with the NAACP.
But when she saw the Omaha NAACP, it was all male. Didn't matter. Lewis became one of the first women members. Over the years, she's signed up hundreds of new NAACP members, women and men.
Lewis owned and rented property in Omaha. She once served on the board of the now-defunct Franklin Credit Union.
Now 88, she remains active in her church, Salem Baptist, and in the NAACP — to which she has belonged for some 60 years.
E'lazhia Gray (NAACP Youth Excellence Award)
E'lazhia is a senior at Omaha Central High School. She is being recognized for her academic excellence and contributions to the community. She is the first to receive this new award, which includes a youth membership.