The community came out in great numbers to celebrate The Tournament of Roses ﬁrst African American to serve as President of the Rose Bowl Parade. Gerald Freeny will serve as President effective January 1, 2019, and will ofﬁciate over the parade and game on January 1 , 2019. Freeny was unable to attend a large event at the E-Central Credit Union in Pasadena . Freeny ‘s wife Trina represented the Freeny family at the event.
Also present were Danny Bakewell and Joe Hopkins who were inﬂuential in protesting the history and demanding that the Tournament integrate its nine member board. Hopkins and Bakewell were acknowledged by speakers Congresswoman Maxine Waters and Congresswoman Judy Chu. Their actions included a blockade of a part of Orange Grove Boulevard and a T-shirt that said Tournament of Racism.
The T shirt was worn by the then Pasadena mayor in the Parade and caused an uproar. The shirt featured a picture of a broken rose with a note referencing Alabama Governor George Wallace’s statement in 1962, “Segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever!“ and a statement by then Tournament of Roses Director, in 1992.
“Affirmative Action will not happen.”. Freeny’s rise was based on hard work for thirty years, not Afﬁrmative Action.
The event was hosted by Lena Kennedy and Community Women Vital Voices, in association with Michael Theodore, president/CEO and Mark Garmus of E-Central. Among special guests at the reception were members of the California Legislative Black Caucus, Assemblymember Chris Holden, Pasadena Mayor Terry Tornek and Pasadena Councilmembers John Kennedy and Tyron Hampton. Many active and engaged community members were involved.