After discussing an article I had written about her (“Maxine Waters’ Twist of Fate”), she thanked me then encouragingly said, “Now go get some strikes!” That was recently at the 8th annual Friends of Fuller (FOF) “Strikefest” in Universal City at Jillian’s Bowling Lanes.
Congresswoman Maxine Waters (43rd District, CA) – a special invited guest – said she just had to be there on hand as the Challengers Boys & Girls Club of South Los Angeles was this year’s honoree. She recalled when founder (the late) Lou Dantzler started the club with a dozen boys back in 1968. His mission was to intervene in father-absent homes. Since then close to 40,000 young boys and girls have walked through the doors of what’s called the “Oasis of South Central Los Angeles” for educational activities and guidance from positive role models.
FOF is a charitable organization dedicated to honoring the life and legacy of Fuller B. Gordy – the late brother of Motown Records founder Berry Gordy. Fuller was the first Black professional PBA bowler from the State of Michigan. His daughter Iris Gordy and granddaughter Karla Gordy Bristol started FOF in 2008 as a way of continuing his legacy. Each year they recognize outstanding, yet unsung individuals and organizations striving to make the world a better place.
Past honorees include The Menformation Project, Inc. In association with Challenger’s Boys & Girls Club, this non-profit mentors and helps direct the lives of boys 8 to 17 years of age, by teaching the 21 principles of manhood. They have made outstanding achievements in the South Los Angeles community.
The 2015 “Strikefest” attendees also included: Former Congresswoman Diane Watson; Freda Payne; Scherrie Payne; Judy Pace; Eloise Laws; Alonzo ‘Lonzo’ Williams; actor Jim Pickens, Jr.; actor Patrick Faucette; Michael Colyar (who served as emcee); actress Bianca Lawson; Billy Davis (of Fifth Dimension fame); actress Roz Ryan; Sara Soulati, founder and CEO of Global Cardio Care; Dr. Daryl Houston; Dr. Donald Henderson; Lee Bailey; Ian Foxx; actor Obba Babatunde and Corey L. Dantzler, President and CEO of Challengers B&GC who received the honorary award.
The exuberant crowd was entertained by the sounds of the soulful Evelyn ’Champagne’ King; Victor Orlando (Conga player/Richard Pryor impersonator); and Soulful Tributes – some Los Angeles youngsters dressed to the ‘nines’ who did some amazing renditions of songs made famous by The Temptations.
In between bowling, Berry Gordy said, “I am extremely proud of what Iris and Karla have done and continue to do in honor of my brother; their dad and granddad. It’s amazing how this event continues to grow and grow.”
The aforementioned article ‘Twist of Fate’ (READ) is about the timeline of Waters speaking at the annual “Walk for Life” rally in Los Angeles at the same time and date (August 9, 2014) the Michael Brown incident was unfolding in Ferguson just outside of Waters’ hometown of St. Louis, MO. Her presence at the “Strikefest” underscores her commitment to improving the lives of our youth.
Iris and Karla expressed heartfelt gratitude to all the sponsors and supporters who helped make this year’s “Strikefest” yet another success. It was a record turnout and Bowling Coordinator Brenda Boyce is to be commended for creating opportunities for everyone to bowl.