Mayor to honor local leaders for Black History Month

Mayor Gayle McLaughlin during a ceremony last month to honor local youths.

Mayor Gayle McLaughlin during a ceremony last month to honor local youths.

In recognition of Black History Month, four people will be honored during Tuesday night’s City Council meeting for their community service work in Richmond.

Mayor Gayle McLaughlin will present proclamations to the four for their commitment to “positive social change” in the city, according to a release from McLaughlin’s office.

The four honorees are:

Eula Averhart, who has been involved in community service work in Richmond for more than 50 years. She was part of the founding team for the city’s Community Development Commission in the early 1980s to elicit community feedback for the allocation of federal block grant funds.

Courtland “Corky” Booze, a longtime activist and leader among local black communities.

Lillie Mae Jones, who has led community renewal efforts and works on behalf of at-risk youth. She helped lead the establishment of Richmond’s community garden and public art display at Harbor Way and McDonald Avenue, according to the mayor’s office.

Rev. Phil Lawson, a longtime leader of the Greater Richmond Interfaith Program, an alliance of local churches. He has also advocated for immigrants’ rights, according to the mayor’s office.

All of the four honorees are widely-recognized, longtime members of the community.

Black History Month was first established in 1926 by historian Carter Woodson, with February selected because Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln were both born during the month.

Richmond’s population is about 36 percent black, according to the U.S. Census, giving it one of the highest proportion black populations in California. Richmond has also been beset by high levels of crime and poverty during the post-WWII period, following the decline of local shipping and other industries.

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