Ten years ago Judy Altman, who was Executive Director of the YWCA, shared the idea of having a breakfast for Racial Justice. She felt that highlighting and embracing our differences would help us more easily embrace each other’s cultures. To that end she asked me to work with her to develop a program that would help share this idea. Current Executive Director Tamika Farr and the Y board have continued this tradition.
Over the last decade the keynote speakers and the honorees have varied but the intent of embracing our diversity has remained at the core of the work being done the volunteer committee. This despite the fact the committee begins its formal part of the day at 6:30 a.m.
This year was no exception, although those being honored were of a group that hadn’t been honored before. The Natinonal Media Coalition was recognized for its fine work to advance American Latino employment and programming equity throughout the entertainment industry and to advocate for telecommunication policies that benefit Latinos and other people of color.
And this year there was a long line of those who wanted to meet and take a picture with our Keynote Speaker. The fact that she was Co-founder of the United Farmworkers Union, is a recipient of the National Medal of Freedom , and is the founder of the Dolores Huerta Foundation made for a good deal of deep excitement in the room.
The sort of excitement that displays itself in very quiet ways. It meant there were long lines after the formal program as those attending waiting for a photo and maybe a word or two with her.
Truth be told, although we’ve had some phenomenal women who have spoken, but I don’t know as I’ve ever seen folks in such a long line to meet the Keynote speaker after the formal breakfast. Even stellar jounalist, and that morning’s emcee, Beverly White took the time to take a picture of a woman who hold a special place in our history.
I was in that line, too. Oh, Happy Day.
Let me add one of her quotes on this Election Day.
“We are inspired by what is happening here. It has inspired us to take these lessons to our country and to inspire our people too”.