By now I am sure everyone has pulled out their shorts, sandals, flip-flops and bikinis. So what is left to say except don’t forget your sunscreen and bug spray? It is also important to remember to stay hydrated, and don’t forget the elderly who may need you to pick up an item or two from the store or run an errand for them so they don’t have to.
Staying cool, calm and collective were members of the Fellas, who hosted their annual gala at the Surf Club. Everyone you know and love was there, as the season’s fundraisers are about to come to an end for the summer. Having awarded scholarships to aspiring young students who are on their way to college, the Fellas continue to rack up the numbers as everyone is eager to give, give, give. This year’s awardees consisted of five young ladies and one young man, who have displayed tenacity in overcoming challenges, relentlessness in pursuing their studies and determination in following their dreams. Hosts Mel Jackson, who is also club president, and his lovely wife Debbie welcomed guests who included Richard Greene Jr., Christine and Wendell Bristol, Nola Whitman, Dr. Marcella Maxwell, Marlene “Bunny” Ledford, Dr. Reginald and Theresa Manning, Carlton Holmes and Thelma Dye, Stephen Johnson and Toni Faye and others too giving to mention.
There is only one party that can come on the heels of the Fellas, and that is the Reveille Club, who celebrated their 85th annual June Gala at the V.I.P. Country Club (right up the road from the Surf Club along Davenport strip in New Rochelle). It was black tie required for this event, and rightly so, as this club was founded in 1932 by African-American war veterans who wanted to give each other the respect and recognition they didn’t get while serving their country in a segregated army. Over the years Reveille honorees have included Adam Clayton Powell, Joe Lewis, Dr. Kenneth Clark, Dr. Ralph Bunche, William Hastie, Thurgood Marshall, A. Phillip Randolph, Marion Anderson, Whitney Young, Clifford Alexander Jr., Dr. Ralph Ellison, William Hudgins, Dr. Samuel DeWitt Proctor, Earl Graves, J. Bruce Llewellyn, Esq., Dean Fritz Alexander, Billy E. Taylor, the Hon. Benjamin Ward (New York City’s first Black police chief), William Bill McCreary, Gil Noble, Dr. Benny Primm, Debra Fraser Howze, Dr. Muriel Petioni, the Hon. C. Virginia fields and others too honorable to mention.
The 2017 Reveille Club of New York honoree was David R. Jones, Esq., president and CEO of the Community Service Society of New York, a nonpartisan not-for-profit organization that promotes economic advancement and full civic participation for low-income New Yorkers. Among many other achievements and accolades, he was confirmed by the State Senate to fill a city seat on the Metropolitan Transportation Authority after being nominated by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, and he was appointed to a blue-ribbon commission advising the mayor’s office on structural changes to the NYC Health+Hospitals. He currently is a member of the Advisory Council of the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.
Born in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn, Jones is the son of the late assemblyman and judge, Thomas R. Jones. He is a graduate of Wesleyan University, where he interned for the late Senator Robert F. Kennedy. He received a Juris doctorate from Yale Law School and clerked for Judge Constance Baker Motley. He is married to Dr. Valerie King, a clinical psychologist and has two children. You can look for Jones’ opinions, points of view and commentaries in his weekly column for the
New York Amsterdam News. Seen among those enjoying the festivities were many of those who had attended the Fellas the week prior. Adding to the list were Al Fawny Hunter and his lovely wife, Godfrey and Peggy Murrain, Melvin Douglas, Spencer Gibbs, Ken Knuckles, president and CEO of the Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone, Charles Williams III, Lance Ogiste, Dr. Sam Daniels and his wife with the fancy shoes, and others too patriotic to mention.
Entering through the revolving doors of the Plaza Hotel is always such a transforming treat and was never more so as it provided the perfect venue for the Amsterdam News Educational Foundation luncheon. Beginning with cocktails on the balcony, guests ranging in age from 6 to 90 proceeded to the dining room with tables tastefully adorned with a variety of sandwiches, desserts and condiments. Waiters stood attentively nearby to pour tea and Champagne, leaving guests wanting for nothing. The program was as inspiring as it was informational and entertaining with publisher Elinor Tatum lighting up the podium and promoting the luncheon theme, “Honor the past, celebrate the present and promote the future in the fields of science and technology.” Sharing the stage was master of ceremonies, NY1 political anchor Errol Lewis, who shared with the audience that it was 35 years ago when his first story that was ever published appeared in the New York Amsterdam News.
The goal of the ANEF is to sustain an internship program, “to prepare the next generation of media professionals.” Applying their classroom knowledge along with the help and expertise they receive from AmNews staff writers and editors, the interns are able to sharpen their tools and widen their perspective on world events to achieve their career goals. Now more than ever, a focus on science and technology is mandatory if the next generation of journalists are to be competitive contenders and media professionals.
Honored at the luncheon were those chosen for their commitment to inspiring the next generation in the fields of science and technology. Receiving the ANEF 2017 award was Lucy Hawking, science educator and author, and daughter of renowned theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking. Through her use of storytelling, most notably her children’s book, “George’s Secret Key to the Universe,” Hawking has been able to continue her father’s legacy and dedication to science.
Becoming an overnight sensation was honoree Margot Lee Shetterly, author of “Hidden Figures,” the book that introduced people of all ages to the fascinating true story of the African-American women who, in the era of legal segregation, worked as NASA mathematicians. Their solutions to complex equations allowed NASA astronauts to travel into space and eventually land on the moon and return safely to Earth. According to Tatum, “This was a piece of history that was so hidden, and Margot made it accessible, especially to the Black community but also to the world. We have hidden gems all over our country especially in the field of science and math.”
Honoree Valeisha Butterfield Jones, head of Black Community engagement at Google, was cited for her visionary leadership and being relentless in truthfully telling our stories. Gracefully accepting her award, Jones recalled growing up in Wilson, N.C., where the town was separated by the railroad tracks. She thanked the village that she said, “Believed in me when I didn’t believe in myself.”
Until next week…kisses.