2005 will probably be remembered most for Hurricane Katrina and the devastation of the Gulf States?”Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. As most of America prepares for the holiday season, WVON took a moment to remember the many people still in need and not in permanent homes. They also honored those who helped.
The only black-owned radio station in the city (WVON) has been front and center helping to get the message out on Katrina, as they are with many other topics that involve the black community. In keeping with their tradition, the station recognized those women who worked around the clock on the Katrina relief effort. Organized and led by former Chicago Public Schools counselor Doris Lewis, these women came together and demonstrated the meaning of “Ujima”?”collective work and responsibility. The women were Eunice Wigfall, Rochelle Haywood, Vivian Stewart Tyler, Barbara Minor, Sandra Williams Bey, and Pauline Whyte. Although Lewis was on her way to South Africa, her daughter, Yoluanda Brown, accepted the awards on behalf of her mother and the women who worked with her during this monumental crisis.
In accepting, Yoluanda said, “Everyone was affected by the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, but these women quickly dried their eyes and let their hearts take action that was felt throughout Chicago. They wanted to make sure our people received the benefits of our efforts.
“When I nervously asked my mother what I should say, she told me to make sure that I simply thanked everyone who assisted her. So thank you to the foot soldiers and those who helped spread the word, including WVON; all contributors and donators who answered the call, especially all the men who came out; Mary Denson of Windy City Word Newspaper; Hyde Park Storage; all the people who helped to sort and pack in a hot warehouse; the Nation of Islam; Big “O” Movers who trucked the goods; and those on the received end who ultimately distributed the thousands of pounds of goods to those who needed it most. I often marvel at how great my mother and these women are, and I wonder how can I possibly walk in their incredible shoes.”
Recipients of this year’s Seven Principles of Kwanzaa Awards were as follows:
? Umoja/unity: Dr. Felicia Blasingame, president/CEO of South Central Community Services, Inc.
? Kujichagulia/self-determination: Lynn Richardson, The Richardson Group
? Ujima/collective work & responsibility: Doris Lewis and the Women of Hurricane Katrina Relief
? Ujamaa/cooperative economics: The BMOA (Black McDonalds’ Owners/Operators Association)
? Nia/purpose: Dr. Terry Mason, commissioner for the City of Chicago Department of Health (as of Jan. 2006)
? Kuumba/creativity: Dr. Abena Joan Brown, founder & president, ETA Creative Arts Foundation, Inc.
? Imani/faith: State Sen. Rev. James T. Meeks, pastor of Salem Missionary Baptist Church