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We must ask ourselves, is it really the end of Black History Month? Or is it the start of us recognizing, understanding, and believing that without Black History there is no American History.
I Love Black History Month and I believe in everything that it represents. America needs to take time out of its busy schedule to acknowledge the contributions of African Americans. But, I want to encourage all African Americans to keep on honoring OUR history 365 days a year (and this year 366...... it is leap year).
In March, we will enter into Women’s History Month, so lets make sure we acknowledge teach and pay tribute to the great African American Women who have been a part of America’s History women like Dr. Betty Shabazz, Dr. Dorothy Height, Rosa Parks, as well as many of our own local sheros, like Yvonne Burke who was the first and paved the way for so many other political women to follow. Let us not forget great women like Arnaz B. Tackett, Lillian Mobley, Mary Henry, Johnnie Tillman Blackston, Ruth Washington, Ophelia McFadden, Jennifer Thomas and so many other local leaders who mean so much to our community.
Let’s also remember our own living legends who are making history in our community everyday, women like Assemblywoman and Majority Leader Karen Bass (who will probably be the next speaker of the assembly). Our union leadership like Yvonne Wheeler, Faith Culbert, Bobbie Anderson and Arlene Holt. Let people know how they have paved the way for not only woman but all people of every color and/or gender to insure that everyone has the ability to earn a decent wage, take care of there family and have health benefits. We are also blessed to have 4 dynamic women representing us in congress (even if we don’t agree with how some of them are voting there super delegates). Women like Congresswoman Barbara Lee, who was the only voice in the crowd to denounce the War in Iraq, and Congresswoman Maxine Waters who leads our community everyday in the fight for equality and justice. Now I would be remised, if I did not also pay tribute to my friend Congresswoman Diane Watson, who has so eloquently represented us, not only on Capital Hill, but in the California Legislature and on the Los Angeles Board of Education; and then there is the Freshman Congresswoman just back from Iraq, the Honorable Laura Richardson. I don’t know if anyone has ever been elected Councilwoman (Long Beach), Assemblywoman and Elected to Congress all in the same year (WOW Laura you are truly a history maker).
And then there are the local community heroines who fight for our people each day, woman like Charisse Bremond - Brotherhood Crusade, Geraldine Washington - NAACP, Karen Earle - Jennessee Center for Battered Woman, Marva Smith Battle-Bey - National 100 Black Women, and lets not forget the voices of our community like Karen Slade of KJLH or our own Nielle Anderson of V100.
Now, I know I am going to get a bunch of calls and letters about women who I have missed and certainly did not mean to offend or omit anyone. So for any of the great women of our community who I have not mentioned please blame it on my head not on my heart. There are just so many great and wonderful women who mean and have meant so much to our community I just could not mention them all. But, please know your are APPRECIATED, you are RESPECTED and you are LOVED!
So, whether you agree or disagree, now more than ever I really need your input.
I need to hear from you. I need to know what is going on in our community. I also need to know what other stories we need to tell, and what is on your mind. I really do want to hear from you, I want you to “Talk to Danny.”
Sincerely, Danny J. Bakewell, Jr. President & Executive Editor