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Freedom’s Sisters of Southern California
By Yussuf J. Simmonds (Managing Editor)
Published March 11, 2010

Standing (L to R) Pat Harvey, Loretta Devine, Miriam Scott Long, Artis Lane, Miss Della Reese, Sheryl Lee Ralph, Mother Lillian Mobley, “Sweet” Alice Harris, d’Lisa Davies, Natalie Cole.

Sitting (L to R) Holly Robinson Peete, Denise Pines, Angela B. Winston, Karen Bass, Glenda A. Gill, Charisse Bremond-Weaver, Holly J. Mitchell, Cynthia Davis.

Not Pictured are Yvonne Braithwaite Burke and LaWanda Hawkins.

L TO R) Taraji P. Henson, Academy award nominee; and Charisse Bremond-Weaver, President & CEO, Brotherhood Crusade; standing in between a life-size bust of Rosa Parks, one of the original Freedom’s Sisters Exhibition Honorees, that was done by Southern California Freedom’s Sister, Artis Lane.

Freedom’s Sisters of Southern California

Twenty Black women were honored for their roles as leaders in the struggle to improve the quality of life for all Americans.

By Yussuf J. Simmonds

Sentinel Managing Editor

The Freedom’s Sisters is a national traveling exhibition that is making its way across the United States showcasing some of the contributions that Black women have made throughout the struggle for freedom and equality, while honoring some of the Freedom’s Sisters who are still in “our” midst. According to the exhibition, the theme, “Honoring the Legacy of African American Women,” highlights women in the struggle, because “much of our national memory of the civil rights movement is embodied by male figureheads whose visibility in boycotts, legal proceedings and mass demonstrations dominated newspaper and television coverage in the 1950s and 1960s.

Recently, Freedom’s Sisters held a luncheon where it honored 20 Black women of Southern California who, over the years, have played a major role, not only in California, but also throughout the country and indeed throughout the world.

Myrlie Evers-Williams, the dean of the Freedom’s Sisters and one of the original members of the Exhibition Honorees of the Freedom’s Sisters, was there to serenade and inspire her Sisters as the keynote speaker. Taraji P. Henson, the Academy-award, best-supporting actress nominee, was the host and mistress of ceremonies of the event that was sponsored by the Ford Motor Company Fund.

The 20 Southern California Freedom’s Sisters honorees were: Karen Bass, Yvonne Braithwaite Burke, Charisse Bremond-Weaver, Natalie Cole, d’Lisa Davies, Cynthia Davis, Loretta Devine, Pat Harvey, Glenda Gill, “Sweet” Alice Harris, LaWanda Hawkins, Artis Lane, Sheryl Lee Ralph, Holly Mitchell, Lillian Mobley, Denise Pines, Holly Robinson-Peete, Della Reese, Miriam Scott Long and Angela Winston.

In addition, honorably mentioned in her absence, was Congresswoman Maxine Waters who was unable to attend due to her pressing legislative responsibilities in Washington, D.C. Also present were Attillah Shabazz and Karlyn M. Webb.

The exhibition attracts people from all walks of life, those who experienced and participated in the Civil Rights Movement and those who want to learn about that historic time. Its purpose is to challenge and inspire the next generation of leaders to continue the civil rights struggle.

Pamela Alexander, director of the Ford Motor Company Fund and Community Services said, “We were amazed by the inspirational stories of the phenomenal women who touched the lives of people in the Southern California community.” The Fund’s primary focus is education and it also supports organizations and innovative programs that promote automotive safety education and assists communities with a variety of needs. James G. Vella is its president.


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