2009 was viewed by the world as a year of change, both nationally and locally. Locally, The Journal celebrated twenty years of publishing in a gala at the Tournament of Roses. The Journal, for the second year, named the Women of Achievement and the Men of Influence as well as publishing our State of Black Pasadena. The city hired a new City Manager, and a longtime Police Chief retired from Pasadena with mixed reviews. Pasadenans elected new members of the Board of Trustees for Pasadena City College, creating a new age of Black representation for Black Pasadena. With the election of Berlinda Brown to the PCC Board of Trustees, African Americans are represented on each of the governmental boards in the area which includes Jackie Robinson and Chris Holden sitting on the City Council, Renatta Cooper remains the sole African
American on the Pasadena Unified School District Board, and Berlinda Brown is the lone member of the PCC Board.
Nationally, the election of Barack Obama has had a messianic or superman like effect on the nation. Everybody held out hope and sat back to watch him change the money and greed driven world economy. The world watched and put their hands out to receive the jobs, equality and justice open up, and roll down like a mighty stream. There was an unreal belief that change would come as if he had a magical wand to waive and the oceans of change would open up as they did for Moses at the Red Sea. Then as reality sat in, he was critically attacked by his opponents at every turn and blamed for problems that existed when he came in. And though it took years to put the world in the bad shape it is in, they demanded to know why he couldn’t change it in months.
We watched as the state budgets got so bad that teachers were faced with job losses and cuts as we talked about the need to compete in the world economy that has seen the United States go from lender to borrower. Made in China used to be a laughing matter indicating that it was cheap. Now that slogan is posted on America’s economy and there is nothing cheap about it.
The death of Michael Jackson, like the downfall of Tiger Woods, were just events that served to remind us that life goes on.
In politics and through adversity, Roland W. Burris held on to become the only Black person in the United States Senate.
Along with Michael Jackson, other notables who passed away in 2009 included, civil rights activist, Percy Sutton; former wife of Sammy Davis, Jr., and dancer/entertainer, Altovise Davis; Naomi Sims, one of the world's Black supermodels; NBA player and Jazz musician, Wayman Tisdale; author E. Lynn Harris; Black historian, John Hope Franklin; former pro football player and artist, Earnie Barnes; Zakes Mokae, South African actor who lived in the San Bernardino area, and Rev. Ike.
Locally we lost community activist, Roy Hayes, Julia Scotton, Gay Iris Parker, newspaper publisher John Holomon, Andrew Spears, and Dr. William A. Brown, to name a few.
The economy was exposed for the fraud that had been played on the American people. We saw that the jobs had gone overseas where the labor is cheaper. The Banks began to make money from charging the customers large fees rather than making new loans to businesses to keep moving forward.
Many of these existing businesses died for lack of operating capital and for would-be entrepeneures in hopes of starting new businesses.
All had their dreams aborted.