I grew up in a society that does not fully appreciate the contributions people of influence make. It might be because these contributions are marred by accusations of corruption, nepotism or by the mere fact that, we just never see their contributions for what they really are, a way to make our society a better one.
It was such a humbling experience sitting with Living Legends and the mood in the room was generally festive as people acknowledged contributions and the change in the nation, the most notable one being President Obama’s election, which most of the honoree’s had contributed to in some way, rallying support right from the beginning to the end.
Gov. Deval and Ogeltree also jokingly (I assume) inferred that they were influential many years ago in getting Obama to run. Ogeltree remembers one conversation in which Barak asked him a question and his reply was “Yes you can”. He says he has never been given credit for that.
As I sat there, I could not help but think how far American’s have come and how far African American’s have come as a people. I could not help but think what Ugandan’s are doing to celebrate our heroes, our history and inevitably our future.
Side note: it was primarily a fundraiser for the Museum of African American History and tickets sold for $250 and no, I didn’t pay for one (in case you are wondering). Imagine raising that much for the Uganda Museum. Does any one ever go?
My brother went to the Museum with a friend recently in the name of sharing our heritage. He mistakenly (or optimistically) assumed that the Museum would be a great resource. You can therefore imagine his immense mortification when they get to the Museum at 3:00pm to find some lady sweeping away all the dust from, it seemed the last dry season.
After giving them a typical “why are you disturbing me glare” for about 5 minutes, she eventually put away her broom and asked them what they wanted (err, they were in the Museum, that should have been enough), when they were told the price and paid, she typically acted like they had just messed up her life because she didn’t have smaller denominations on her.
I should probably point out that this was just the beginning of he’s shame. The exhibits were covered with dust from season’s past, information lacking and it generally felt neglected. He took it very personally that he did not have a clean, informative source of history to share with his guest.
The Tuskegee Airmen, New England Chapter, represents and honors the nation’s first military black airmen who forged an exemplary record during World War II that eventually led this nation to integrate the armed services. Begun in 1941, as a result of congressional legislation, the original Tuskegee airmen numbered 16,000 men. There are approximately 330 original Tuskegee airmen still living, most in their 80’s and 90’s. On January 20 of this year, 200 of them were proud to attend the inauguration of the first African American President Barack Obama.
The Honarable Deval L. Patrick
In November 2006, Gov. Deval became the second African American elected governer in the United States and the first African American Governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
Having experience his own ground breaking campaign, he went on to serve as Campaign Co-chair for Barack’s Obama’s historic Presidential bid, stumping for the President in almost every battleground state from New Hampshire to Florida.
Is Vice president of Community Relations, Sponsorship and Event Marketing at John Hancock Financial and leads John Hancock’s $12 million philanthropic initiatives to establish state of the art programming for those most in need.
Fulp, recipient of the distinguished Eleanor Roosevelt Award and a vice president at John Hancock Financial, raised $300,000 for the Obama campaign. She went on to lead the Massachusetts Women for Obama and raised an additional $200,000.
Ogletree, Harvard Law School Jesse Climenko Professor of Law, author and founding and executive director of the Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race and Justice, has served as a mentor for first lady Michelle Obama. He traveled the country during much of 2008 participating in voter protection training, and promoting Obama to be the first black president.
Solomont, a philanthropist, political activist and health-care entrepreneur, helped build a broad and innovative network of post-acute elder care services as founder and CEO of the ADS Group. Chairing the Obama for America New England Steering Committee, Solomont helped Massachusetts raise more money per capita for Obama than any other state.