As the Journal was being born, in 1989, the news of the day was the release of Nelson Mandela from a prison in his country, South Africa. He was later elected to President of that country, bringing in hope of equality and opportunity for all. In America, we watched as we grew from a country with a few African American Congressmen to a country with an elected Black President who has ushered in Universal Health Care and Immigration Reform for America.
“Find a Need and fill it” is a life theme I picked up somewhere. The story of the Journal was born out of that theme. The initial theme for the Journal which initiated at a time when Pasadena and the San Gabriel Valley had no Black newspaper was to lift up all the voices. Today, twenty five years later, we are still lifting the voices.
The funds to start the Journal were from earnings from the Law Practice I started in 1982, approximately seven years before the birth of the Journal. We call it giving something back to the community – a sort of tithing. Hopefully, we have been a blessing to the community that has blessed us. Our three sons have attended school here, as have five of our grand children. One of our sons was born while we lived here. They got married here, and some of their children were born here. They have all started their careers here and moved on.
The Journal has had a hand in influencing Pasadena in many ways, from changing the composition of the Rose Bowl committees, to the City Council, Pasadena Police Department practices, and city leadership. We have also been an influential voice on Pasadena Unified School District leadership and, through it all; we have printed the good news of Black Pasadena.
We watched, and sometimes prodded, and were part of the cheering section for our city’s progress as we gained a voice as leader for city departments such as the Police Department, Fire Department, and the Department of Water and Power. In these leadership opportunities, we proved what President Barack Obama campaigned on, in his 2008 campaign for President, “Yes we can”, and yes we did.
For our part we held the first Black Expo, beginning at the Masonic Hall and later moving to the Pasadena Convention Center. We hosted Ron Brown, Doc Powell, and Kirk Whalum at a Gospel Jazz Concert at the Pasadena Civic Center. We celebrated our 20th Anniversary at the Wrigley Mansion, home of the Tournament of Roses. We also hosted pioneering Black women who were honored at our Annual Women of Achievement Awards Breakfast at a brunch at the Mansion. These celebrated women were the first Black teachers, educators, and Realtors, among others, who have made Pasadena a complete and diverse city.
We celebrated the lives and mourned the deaths of pioneers like first Black mayor, Loretta Glickman, first Black PUSD board member, president, Elbie Hickambottom , Versie Mae Richardson, founder of AlkebuLan Boys Choir, and more recently and Dr. Allie Louise Almore-Randall, a woman of immense accomplishment to numerous to mention here. She recently passed away and her services will be held on the 29th which is the same day of the Journal Anniversary Celebration. However we, along with our friends, will celebrate both, her homegoing as well as the Journal’s Anniversary, Over the years, we’ve told the stories that needed to be told and the ones no one else would tell to the glory of the truth.
We embrace our diversity in the San Gabriel Valley. I note that we have a diverse electorate that is represented by Judy Chu, America’s first Asian Congresswoman, also a Latino Pasadena Police Chief, Philip Sanchez, a Black City Attorney, Michele Bagneris, and others representing the town of Altadena.
Now we move into another chapter in the life of this great area with African Americans serving in Pasadena as Fire Chief, manager of the Department of Water and Power Finance, PUSD Leader, Vice Mayor, Pasadena City Councilmember, Pasadena Police Department Deputy Chief, and a Black Assemblyman representing us, and the beat goes on.
We at the Journal have been proud of our years and the impact we have made. We hope to continue to do so with your help through your advertisement and your support.