BLOOMINGTON-NORMAL, Ill. (WMBD) –Black, beautiful and thriving together is the theme for the Bloomington-Normal NAACP Freedom Fund Banquet.

The banquet will be held in conjunction with the 86th Annual Illinois NAACP State Convention which begins on Friday.

“I’m looking for this weekend to take us where we’ve never been before. But we’re happy to be going,” said President Linda Foster. “I’m so ecstatic about what this weekend is going to bring. But more importantly, it gives the community to see the workings of the NAACP.”

At the convention, the adults and youth council will strategize to better serve their communities. Some topics include mental and fiscal health as well as voter empowerment.

Nationally renowned Civil Rights Attorney Benjamin Crump is the keynote speaker for Saturday’s banquet.

“Without a doubt, we know that there have been some local issues that Attorney Crump is involved in. So, he continues to advocate for righteousness and that’s what matters,” said First Vice-President Dr. Carla Campbell-Jackson. “He’s a very firm believer that racism and discrimination are both unacceptable and we’re going to remain on that battlefield. I think his message will resonate with many.”

The convention will be from Friday through Sunday. The Peoria NAACP Branch will have its Freedom Fund Banquet on Sept. 30 with journalist Roland Martin as the keynote speaker.