On Friday evening, November 20, 2009, some of Pasadena's leading business, political and community leaders came together and celebrated the 20 Anniversary of the Pasadena Journal.
As co-publisher of the Pasadena Journal Newspaper, Joe, a Civil Rights Attorney, is known for his poignant, unapologetic editorials. Ruthie, his wife, is Managing Editor and Co-Publisher of the newspaper and active in the community as well.
Ironically, many who attended the event have been the subjects of Joe Hopkins' editorials. Nevertheless, an over capacity crowd filled the historic Pasadena Tournament of Roses House to honor the Hopkins' and their newspaper's contributions to the Pasadena area. "We had no plans to celebrate the paper's 20th anniversary," said Ruthie. It was a friend who suggested they commemorate the occasion.
Once a decision was made, Joe and Ruthie approached the Tournament of Roses, and were pleased that the Tournament would accommodate their event.
Among those in attendance was State Assembly Member, 44th District, Anthony Portantino, who along with other local politicians presented proclamations. "These two are newspaper people keeping us honest and making us all do better," said Portantino.
The Journal gave special recognition to Woods-Valentine Mortuary and Metropolitan Baptist Church for their loyal support throughout the years.
In 1989, Hoppies Journal was published as a newsletter which later became The Pasadena Journal. According to the Hopkins', the paper was established to advertise Joe's law office, one son's barber shop and another son's t-shirt business, as well as to fill a void of news coverage in underserved and the greater community at large. "We did not realize the impact of that first Journal," said Ruthie.
In one of many lighted moments of the banquet celebration was keynote speaker, Dr. Rosie Milligan, who pointed out Joe and Ruthie's devotion to the African American and greater Pasadena community.
"20 years or being lied to and talked about," she said jokingly, but nevertheless, and most importantly, changing people lives by spotlighting African Americans who would otherwise have gone unnoticed."
Both Joe and Ruthie want to continue to share with the community because they believe in in serving the African American community. "We see this paper as a labor of love," Ruthie concluded.