Among the glitz and glamour of the Millennium Baltimore Hotel, the Los Angeles Chapter of the National Congress of Black Women (NCBW-LAC) honored two vivacious women who are â€œReaching Out, Embracing our Communitiesâ€ at the Annual Awards Luncheon on Saturday, Aug. 3.
Lifetime Pasadena resident Lena L. Kennedy received this prestigious award for her outstanding tireless efforts that have lead to the implementation of successful, unique and groundbreaking community outreach programs.
The NCBW-LAC is not the first to recognize good deeds done by Kennedy; she has also received the NAACP Ruby McKnight award and NAACP Community Volunteer award among others. Kennedy is founder, CEO, and president of a strategic political consulting firm, L.L. Kennedy & Associates, specializing in providing consulting for political candidates, business, nonprofits, and individuals. Kennedy currently serves on the boards of Pasadena Arts Council, Community Health Alliance of Pasadena, First AME Church Trustee Board, and the Pasadena Playhouse Diversity Board.
Kennedy brought her son Jonathon Kennedy to the stage to wish him a happy 21st birthday and symbolically share the honor with him as well as the rest of her family and 50 plus friends supporting her that day who â€œcollectively achievedâ€ the award with her.
â€œLenaâ€™s the type of person that doesnâ€™t seek accolade or acclaim, sheâ€™s just someone who is really in the trenches helping the community whether its helping the young community organizer by the name of Barrack Obama become a President of the United States or helping our local congress woman or helping children obtain scholarships to go to college thatâ€™s what she does and she does it without asking for anything in return so she really is a servant leader,â€ Lenaâ€™s brother Councilmember John Kennedy said.
Although he said she is normally in the background, she is a powerful force in the community for good.
â€œShe makes sure that no plans get left behind. Thatâ€™s a personal goal of mine, is that no oneâ€™s left behind and I always admire Lena for that because she reaches out and encourage anyone to meet their goals in life. Sheâ€™s a very, very, very exceptionally good at that,â€ Los Angeles Chapter chair Judy Matthews said.
â€œIâ€™m humbled and Iâ€™m grateful. Thereâ€™s so many people that do incredible work and Iâ€™m just one of many that are trying to make the difference in our communities and our society and our country. So I feel blessed and honored that the organization found me worthy enough to receive this honor,â€ Kennedy said.
The congress also honored Dr. Carla Thomas who returned to her roots to keep the Inglewood community smiling with her top quality dentistry practices. She also reaches into the community to teach them about basic hygiene and the importance of caring for teeth among many more efforts.
â€œThe National Congress of Black Women is well known for their contributions in the community and communities around the country. So to be recognized by them, by such a phenomenal organization, itâ€™s just absolutely wonderful for me; especially for something that I do because I love to do. Sometimes when youâ€™re recognized with something you do day in and day out, it makes it even better,â€ Thomas said.
The NCBW is recognized nationally for serving the needs of communities across the nation, including recognition by President Barrack Obama who sent a letter of praise with keynote speaker Reverend Brenda Girton-Mitchell for the NCBW as well as the honorees. He was proud of the efforts to work together to build communities and reminded the National Congress that education is the great equalizer.
“Los Angeles is one of our number one chapters in the nation. They truly represent what we call women making difference,â€ Dr. E Faye Williams said who is the national chair of Congress of Black Women for the 100 chapters nationwide.
â€œWe thank you Lord for the sweet, sweet spirit in this room.â€ This statement said in the prayer of Rev. Dr. who came from Washington D.C. to give the keynote speech encapsulated the Luncheon.
Everyone in the room cared about making a difference to impact their community. The audience cheered wildly for a good word said or for the people brought to the stage who embodied the theme of â€œReaching Out Embracing our Communities.â€
Other guests of honor who took part in the Luncheon included MC Juanita Palacios Sims, Recording Artist Abraham McDonald, Comedian Kathy Westfield, and Justine Mutale of Zambia who recently won African Woman of the Year. She brought greetings from the motherland to empower the black women of the U.S.
For the first time in their four year history, the National Congress of Black Women gave away scholarships at the gala to nine men and women who have chosen to further their education while overcoming hardship, one of whom will be attending Harvard in the fall.
â€œWe are truly an organization of service. It doesnâ€™t matter what your status is in life, the type of family that you come from; it doesnâ€™t matter. When a person becomes a member of this organization, they come to serve. To come to lift up that person that cannot step up by themselves,â€ Chair of the Los Angles Chapter Judy Matthews said.
The NCBW-LAC commenced in 2009 to provide services to impact African American women and their families in the Los Angles areas to live successful lives, empower fellow women leaders and bring education even to the dark corners.
â€œAnd weâ€™re leaving our print, footprints and our handprints making small incremental contributionsâ€¦ no matter how small. Theyâ€™re incremental but collectively they make a big difference, and I just believe in the power of numbers; pulling people together. We all make a little difference, but when we come together it has a greater impact,â€ Lena Kennedy said.
For more information about the NCBW call (800) 895-3180, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.ncbwinclac.org