When my granddaughter, Ifetayo Sangode Oliatan, came to me a few weeks ago and asked what I knew about organizing marches and rallies, I didn't think much about it. Later, when she came and asked about different leaders in the Pasadena community and whether I knew how to reach them, I figured that something serious was up. My constant advice was, you are a senior in college and you need to concentrate on getting through school.
Later, when she informed me of the date, I realized it was on the same weekend as my continuing legal education courses in Las Vegas, which I annually take. On the night of the rally, I was proud of the reports I received, via phone, at my hotel in Vegas.
There were raves about the assistance the Pasadena Chief of Police who made a few officers available to help keep the peace, and about the Local businessman and Drummer, Onochie, who made his Drums of the Village Drummers available for the march, just as they do in the Motherland, Africa.
Altadena NAACP ACT-SO Gold Medal winner, Chelsea Johnson (who also happens to be doing her Internship at The Journal), pleased the crowd in song, and a number of churches including All Saints participated. All in all, our first-born grandchild made me proud.
I especially appreciate Andre Coleman at the Pasadena Weekly who gave some space to covering the event, and my friend, Dr. Gerda Govine Ituarte, for covering the event for The Journal, also to my son and Ife's father, Brother Yusef, for taking photos which will appear in this week's Journal. Yusef is the same Joseph Hopkins who served as the official photographer for Pasadena High School in the 70's. He now is available for private photo shoots and can be reached through The Journal.
Clarke McRae was Ifetayo' s partner in organizing the rally. She is the daughter of Dona McRae who owns and operates a Beauty Salon and clothing boutique in Altadena, CA, on north Lake Avenue. Ife (pronounced E-Fay) and Clarke did the community a great service by bringing them all together to let the world know that Pasadena is engaged in the struggle as we go into the future. The fact that this event was organized and led by young people gives us hope that the future is in good hands.
I also received calls from older Pasadenans who were inspired by Ife and Clarke's activism and the manner with which they carried out the event with class. For those of us who have been fighting the battle for the past 40 plus years need to prepare for our roles as supporters and advisors of these young people who have so much hope for the future. We do not need to be their leaders. They are doing that very well.
To Pasadena councilmember John Kennedy and Vice Mayor Jacque Robinson, I say thank you for your support.
To Ifetayo and Clarke, I say job well done!