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YWCA’s Racial Justice Breakfast Goes Virtual and Honors Five Women with 2020 Racial Justice Award

Published on Thursday, October 15, 2020 | 5:07 pm
Dr. Melina Abdullah, co-founder of Black Lives Matter L.A. from Facebook

Dr. Melina Abdullah, co-founder of Black Lives Matter L.A. and a recognized expert on race, gender, class, and social movements, will be the keynote speaker Monday, Oct. 19, as the YWCA Pasadena-Foothill Valley’s Women for Racial Justice Breakfast returns in a virtual platform.

YWCA Pasadena-Foothill Valley has been holding the Women for Racial Justice Breakfast for the past 17 years to highlight the work of women and organizations who do the day-to-day work of advancing racial justice.

This year, the 18th annual breakfast will be a live-streamed event which begins at 9 a.m., to ensure the safety of guests and speakers.

“We are excited to reach a wider audience and highlight the amazing work of our honorees,” the YWCA Pasadena-Foothill Valley said in a statement. “Our theme, ‘Strong Foundation, Stronger Future,’ honors women who have and continue to advocate for racial justice and highlights the work of women who are on the front lines in the fight for racial justice today. Stand with us and support racial justice.”

Angeline Chen, president of YWCA Pasadena-Foothill Valley, said Kaiser Permanente will be recognized as a corporate honoree during the event.

Individual honorees are: Margaret Leong Checca, former YWCA Pasadena board member and co-founder of the Women for Racial Justice Breakfast; former YWCA Pasadena Board President Judy Brown; former PR Director Johari DeWitt-Rogers; and former Board members Denise Houlemard Jones, Edith Grady, and Rebecca Medina.

Abdullah was among the original group of organizers that convened to form Black Lives Matter and continues to serve as a Los Angeles chapter leader. She is also a professor and former chair of Pan-African Studies at Cal State L.A. Abdullah earned her Ph.D. in political science from USC and her bachelor’s degree in African-American Studies from Howard University.

Abdullah is a womanist scholar-activist who believes the role that she plays in the academe is intrinsically linked to broader struggles for the liberation of oppressed people. She is a leader in the fight for ethnic studies in the K-12 and university systems and was a part of the historic victory that made ethnic studies a requirement in the Los Angeles Unified School District. Abdullah also serves on the Task Force for the Advancement of Ethnic Studies for the California State University system.

Tickets for the virtual event are $60 and $35 for young professionals under age 35. Proceeds go to the organization’s programs that promote girls empowerment, such as the Girls Circle, TechGYRLS, and Camp Rosie programs. These programs help girls dream big as they pursue education and career pathways in Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics.

To register for the Women’ for Racial Justice Breakfast, visit

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