Black Women’s Political Organization Hosts Holiday Gala – Los Angeles Sentinel | Los Angeles Sentry


(left to right) Tiffany Mayberry; Ingrid Archie (award acceptance for Laureate Susan Burton)
Areva Martin, Esq .; Melina Abdullah, Ph.D.; Pamela Bakewell; Patricia “Patt” Sanders;

Helping black women get elected in California is no easy task. But for nearly 30 years, the African American Women’s Political Action Committee in Los Angeles has been doing just that with calm, diligence, and boldness.

On Thursday, December 12, the 28-year-old organization known for its support of black women in politics hosted its prestigious inaugural gala honoring “Black Excellence” at the Grand in Long Beach in front of a standing audience only. A formal black-tie affair, the event also saw eight black women recognized for their outstanding work over the past year and their careers.

LAAAWPAC Board Chair Ingrid Palmer took the opportunity to remind people to put their money where their passion, heart and commitment are.

“After Senator Kamala Harris drops out of the presidential race of the United States, let there be no other black woman who has to step down from an election due to lack of money.” Palmer told the crowd. “We have to support black women. “

During the evening, US Congresswoman Karen Bass, a longtime supporter of LAAAWPAC, received the Sojourner Truth Award and A New Way of Life Reentry Project Founder, Susan Burton, received the Harriet Tubman Award.

Neither Rep. Neither Bass nor Burton were able to attend, but Bass did send a video message that was released to the public in which she said how high she held LAAAWPAC and LAAAWPI, the educational arm of the organization.

“I think the work you have done to develop African American women leaders who have continued to lead in so many different ways is essential. To lead in organizations, to run for a position, to win a position and it makes a huge difference in our community.

Burton asked one of the many women whose lives she transformed to accept her award for her.

(Left to Right) Pamela Bakewell, COO of Bakewell Media and Madam CJ Walker Business Award recipient with Ingrid Palmer, President of LAAAWPAC PHOTO BY IAN FOXX

The Madam CJ Walker Business Award went to Pamela Bakewell of Los Angeles Sentinel. Bakewell is executive vice president and chief operating officer of Bakewell Corporation, one of the largest African-American commercial real estate development companies in the western United States. The Bakewell Company is also the parent company of Bakewell Media, owner of the Los Angeles Sentinel and LA Watts Times newspapers and the WBOK radio station in New Orleans, LA. As Chief Operating Officer, Ms. Bakewell oversees the day-to-day operations of the real estate development and redevelopment projects, the printing and distribution divisions of The Bakewell Company and the Company’s premier food and family festival, Taste of Soul. . Ms. Bakewell’s central leadership role in growing her family’s businesses, along with her family’s civil rights legacy, has allowed her to build strong relationships with businesses, advertisers, retailers. , small and medium-sized businesses, community groups, non-profit and political leadership in the communities of Los Angeles and Los Angeles County.

“I am honored and touched to have been chosen to receive the Madame CJ Walker Business Award from LAAAWPAC,” said Bakewell.

“Women are often taken for granted for our many gifts and are often expected to do it all, without much recognition. Your selection of winners was exceptional. I am particularly honored to have been among such highly esteemed women who make a significant contribution in their respective fields. Thank you LAAAWPAC for recognizing my work in business and in our community.

The director of employee engagement at Warner Bros. Entertainment received the Shirley Chisolm Trailblazer Award while the organizer of Black Lives Matter Los Angeles and Cal State University, Los Angeles, Professor and Chair of Pan-African Studies, Dr. Melina Abdullah received the Ella Baker Community Organizing Award.

The Mary McLeod Bethune Education Award went to lawyer and autism advocate Areva Martin for her advocacy work around autism, underserved people and children. Areva is the author of a bestselling book on Amazon, “The Everyday Advocate: Stand Up For Your Child With Autism and Other Special Needs” (Penguin 2010). After her son’s autism diagnosis, she created Special Needs Network, Inc., California’s premier autism advocacy organization. Areva has raised millions of dollars for causes related to autism and disability. She has played a leadership role in defending state and federal laws aimed at eliminating disparities in state funding for people with disabilities.

“It was great naming the awards at the LAAAWPAC gala after African American female icons,” Martin said. “Not only did it make me and my fellow award winners feel incredibly special, but it also provided a much needed history lesson for those who might not realize what giant shoulders they are standing on. hold. “

Vice Chairman of the Los Angeles County Democratic Party and longtime advocate for voter education, Patt Sanders won the Fannie Lou Hamer Political Engagement Award.

Heather Hutt, Director of State for U.S. Senator Kamala Harris, received the evening’s Black Excellence Award and received a standing ovation for her work in government as the first Black Director of State in the history of the California United States Congress.

“I am deeply honored to be included as the laureate of LAAAWPAC’s Inaugural Black Awards,” Hutt told The Sentinel.

“The magic of black girls was in full force with so many women continually working to advance the legacy that black women have maintained as the backbone of civic engagement in the country.”

Celestine Palmer, founder of LAAWPAC; Jacqueline Hamilton, Esq (acceptance of the award for honored congressman Karen Bass), Melina Abdullah PhD, Patricia Patt Sanders, Heather Hutt, Tiffany Mayberry, Ingrid Palmer, Jasmyne Cannick, master of ceremonies PHOTO BY IAN FOXX

Jasmyne Cannick, political lawyer, longtime Los Angeles Sentinel columnist and one of the nation’s leading media voices on race, politics and social issues served as the host for the gala.

Cannick used the microphone throughout the evening to highlight the many black women in the room, including herself, who would be on the ballot for the March 2019 presidential primary in Los Angeles County and stand would run for seats ranging from county central committee to judge, district attorney, state assembly and more.

LAAAWPAC is the first African American Women’s Political Action Committee formed in the state of California. It was founded in 1991 to bring African American women directly into the political arena to support individuals and issues that address the social, economic and educational concerns of the African American community.

“Excellence is not determined by how high you rise, but by your elevation and your love of others,” added LAAAWPAC Founder Celestine Palmer. “The spirit and tenacity of black sheroes of the past lives on through our 2019 Black Excellence winners.”

Gala President Shannon Thomas Allen added, “The inaugural LAAAWPAC Awards Gala aims to illustrate the legacy of the historic women whose names we call upon as ancestors, to further their legacy and to remind all of us. the shoulders of which we lean.

LAAAWPAC’s 2019 Board of Directors includes Founder Celestine Palmer, President Ingrid Palmer, Vice President of Political Action Nichelle Henderson, Session Secretary Traci Bivens-Davis, Treasurer Velma Carr Marshall, Parliamentarian Gwen Cooley , Communications Officer Thela Thatch, Membership Manager Danette McBride, Resources Director Shannon Thomas-Allen, Hospital President Lena Brown, Interim Financial Secretary Cine Ivery, Extraordinary Member Joy Atkinson, Jacquelynn Hawthorne, Hon. Gwen Moore (ret.t.), Gail Willis and Jimmie Woods-Gray.

Actor of “Women Thou Art Loosed: On the 7th Day” and son of winner Patt Sanders, Shang Abrams delivered his interpretation of the black national anthem while being the founding pastor of the Word of Encouragement church and the program director. from the Cecil Murray Center for Community Engagement at USC Dr. Najuma Smith-Pollard made the invocation. Music was provided by Bits And Pieces.

Attendees included retired congressman Diane E. Watson, Long Beach board member Al Austin and his wife Daysha, Emma Sharif and Michelle Chambers from Compton board member, Los Angeles District Attorney candidate Rachel Rossi, as well as union leaders Yvonne Wheeler, Michelle Reed and Kristian Huling.

The gala was sponsored by Tom Steyer 2020, Supervisor Mark Ridley Thomas, Mayor Eric Garcetti, The African Channel and Demand Africa.

For more information on LAAAWPAC, please visit

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