Ashley McLeod, Zory Torres and Jeanice Freeman of the business In Our Words Apparel speak at the Makers Mart event at the New York State Equal Rights Heritage Center in Auburn in March 2019.

Kelly Rocheleau

The Auburn/Cayuga chapter of the NAACP will partner with the Rome and Syracuse/Onondaga chapters to present the NAACP Central New York Virtual Freedom Fund Dinner at 5 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 24, via Zoom.

Check-in begins at 4 p.m. The event will be emceed by consultant, journalist and performer Karin Franklin-King and former Gov. David Paterson, and the keynote speakers will be Karen Boykin-Towns, vice chair of the national board of directors of the NAACP, and the Hon. Frank D. Scott Jr., the first Black mayor of Little Rock, Arkansas. Performers will include Jackiem Joyner and “Doctuh” Mike Woods.

The 2020 Freedom Fund honorees are seven Black women business owners who have emerged in Auburn and Cayuga County despite a drop of more than 40% in working Black business owners since the COVID-19 pandemic. They are Shakina Bowman (Heartwork and Resources Inc., KamStone Management and Consulting), Jeanice Freeman (Grow and Glow Virtual Sisterhood Platform), Ashley McLeod and Jeanice Freeman (In Our Words Apparel, a division of Gwen, Inc.), Rowena McCoy and Kizzy Mitchel (Precious Stones 1 Stop Shop) and Kizzy Mitchel and Jasmine Freeman (K&J Let’s Get Fit).

Tickets to the dinner are are $55 and up, and include membership and a four-course dinner for pickup from Cafe 108 in Auburn.

For more information, or tickets, visit or call (315) 370-9991.

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