The Women’s March 2020 of Collier Freedom was pleased to recognize an bestow recognition on Cherryle Patricia Thomas at the March on January 18. Cherryle’s work on the Christmas parade and various projects too numerous to name on behalf of the Immokalee and Ave Maria community is worthy of lots of shout outs!
Originally from North Carolina, Cherryle Patricia Thomas is the Founder of Immokalee’s “Christmas Around the World Parade & Snow Gala”, a 3-hour event that has been held annually on the second Saturday of December for the past 26 years.
Cherryle is a retired Registered Dietician, she also devotes her volunteer hours to teaching pre-K kids about nutrition and similar projects for the children of Immokalee.
A Soror of Alpha Kappa Alpha (AKA), Ms. Thomas also serves on the MSTU Board and is the volunteer “Girl Friday” for the Immokalee Chamber of Commerce. She’s the biggest fan of the man from “NYC” for 47 years(Fred N. Thomas Jr.)
This year’s rally was unlike anything Collier has ever seen. They will be commemorating the 100 years since women began voting but also be acknowledging that many women, because of discrimination, have become enfranchised only recently. Furthermore, their aim is to celebrate the diversity of voices, the many faces of genius, and the brave perseverance of Collier women. There were three Masters’ of Ceremonies, speaking three languages, and a speaker lineup that is reflective of the activism we look to today for liberation. The keynote speaker was Lupe Gonzalo of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, a leader in the #Me Too movement and worker’s rights movement. Betty Osceola of the Miccosukee Tribe, addressed our relationship to the environment. There were speakers on education, reproductive justice, students demanding gun sense legislation, and an address on mental health.
The awards went to the many innovative and bold thinkers in Collier County – around 15 recipients are being recognized. The presenters asked for a 1-3 sentence description in your own words of your organization or personal work so that they could announce it in English, Spanish, and Creole. The committee was gracious enough to put all the presentations on a power point slide for all attendees of the event. All persons being recognized had to send a picture or a logo to put on the slides. It was their hope to have the slides visible on screens at the march during the award ceremony and at other times, highlighting their work. All recipients lined up on stage for the award and simply stepped forward as they were acknowledged. The Freedom Committee wanted all the candidates from all the organizations to be represented and march with a banner or to have a vendor table for information in the events.
The Master of Ceremony started the Award Recipients with the following : Dara Albert / Food Angels (1) Phyllis Andrews (2) - Haitian Community Outreach (2) Maria Luisa (Lulu) Carter (3) - House of Gaia Angela Cisneros (4) - Collier National Org for Women 287g Activism , Susan Cone (5) - Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, Cori Craciun (6) LGBTQ / Naples Pride, Ellen Hemrick (7) - Diann Keeys (8) NAACP / MLK Parade ,Sister Maureen Kelleher (9) - Legal Aid Immokalee , Laurah Jean (10) NAACP Youth Council, Harriet Lancaster (11) Golden Gate Senior Center, Lisette Morales (12) Art of activism (award rcvd by Ivette Gomez ,Cynthia Odierna & Suzanne Cherney (13) - SWFL Justice 4 All Coalition, Beth Povlow (14) - C4QPE - (award rec’d by Kathleen Reynolds),The Immokalee Chamber of commerce, Cherryle Patricia Thomas (15) Collier Freedom (16) .