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NAACP speaker issues call to action

A call to action, spiritually, morally — and politically — was delivered Saturday to members of the Rochester branch of the NAACP at the group's annual Freedom Fund Banquet.

"We can still make a difference," said keynote speaker Rev. Wendell Anthony, who urged listeners to "take your souls to the polls" on Election Day onTuesday.

Who to vote for? The person who takes seriously the cause of equal rights and equal opportunity and who has an attentive ear to organizations such as the NAACP, said Anthony, who heads the NAACP's largest branch, in Detroit.

If representatives "don't respond to your phone calls… if they don't come to your meetings when you call, … you've got the wrong people in office," Anthony said.

"So many people are taking advantage of us,… playing us," said Anthony, who lamented a situation he described as black Americans' tendency, in popular culture and everyday treatment, to allow themselves to be characterized and pigeon-holed as second-class citizens.


"If you continue to tell people they are nothing, … they will become that which you treat, and they absorb," he said.

"Don't cut the wings off your children," Anthony said. "Don't cut the wings off your dreams. Don't cut the wings off your hope."

Mayo Clinic will take steps to diversify its work force, including making opportunities for minority employees to "ascend to leadership positions," said Dr. Sharonne Hayes, the clinic's new director for diversity and inclusion.

Also, Hayes said, the clinic intends to shore up its approach to patient-centered care — "that means all patients," she said.

"We want to continue providing high-quality and culturally appropriate care," Hayes said. Mayo seeks to "identify and eliminate health disparities and eliminate obstacles to health care for all," she said.

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