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African American news from Pasadena - YWCA honorees

On October 19, more than 500 Pasadena community leaders gathered at the Hilton Pasadena Monday morning for the seventh YWCA Women for Racial Justice Breakfast.

African American news from Pasadena - YWCA honoreesMarge Wyatt, a leader in Pasadena's efforts to desegregate its schools, received the YWCA Pasadena-Foothill Valley's 2009 Racial Justice Award "for her decades of planning and organizing to achieve integrated quality public education and quality child care for people of ethnic and racial diversity."  

Dr. Joy DeGruy, the internationally renowned author of "Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome; America's Enduring Legacy of Injury and Healing", was the keynote speaker.  KNBC reporter Beverly White was emcee. 

African American news from Pasadena - YWCA honoreesThe event, produced by the volunteers of the YWCA's Women for Racial Justice Breakfast Committee, was chaired by Ellen Portantino and co-chaired by Angela Myers-Rackleff and Abby Lloyd Sabin.  The event also kicked off the YWCA Week without Violence.  YWCA Executive Director, Tamika Farr shares, "This event exemplifies the heart of the YWCA. 

We are so lucky to have the service of such phenomenal women like Marge Wyatt.  It is because of women like her that we are encouraged to keep working towards the elimination of racism and the empowerment of women."

First held in 2002, the event calls on all in the community to reinvigorate their efforts to recognize and take action against the many forms of racism that still exist in our day to day lives.

Chairwoman Portantino told the audience, "Our focus is to embrace our diversity, to enjoy each other's similarities and differences. . . .and to live the words in the YWCA Pasadena-Foothill Valley Racial Justice Pledge." 

The Pledge, which Breakfast guests read together, calls on each individual to discourage prejudice at every opportunity and to treat all people with dignity and respect.

Corporate sponsors for the event were Kaiser Permanente, Avery Dennison, Glendale Memorial Hospital and Health Center, Wells Fargo and LA County Supervisor Michael Antonovich.  Photos provided by Suthi Picotte.

The YWCA Pasadena-Foothill Valley began 100 years ago as a response to the needs of young women in Pasadena. Its programs address the mission of the national organization, "eliminating racism, empowering women and promoting peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all."   More information about the YWCA is available at www.ywca-pasadena.org.

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