Congratulations to The Philadelphia Chapter of the Links Inc. for hosting a hugely successful fundraising event. It took place at the Pennsylvania Convention Center on Sept. 25. Chapter president Sherilynn Johnson Kimble said in her message, “As the founding chapter of the Links Inc., the Philadelphia Chapter is very proud of our ongoing commitment to community service which centers on promoting and engaging in educational, civic and inter-cultural activities in order to enrich the lives of members of our community.” Funds raised by the event will support a broad range of programs which enhance the quality of life in our community.
Special acknowledgement was given to corporate sponsors, The Lomax Family Foundation and Pennsylvania’s only African American-owned radio station, WURD 900-AM and PECO Exelon Company.
The selection of the 2011 honorees was focused on the arts. The honorees were Jeri Lynne Johnson, founder and musical director of The Black Pearl Music Chamber Orchestra; Faith Ringgold, internationally renowned artist and author and Jill Scott, Grammy Award-winning singer, composer and actress.
All of the accomplished awardees, who were presented with beautiful sculptures, expressed their gratitude for being recognized by the organization. Jill Scott, who is on tour in Europe, was represented by her mother, Joyce Scott. In accepting her daughter’s award she shared that she exposed Jill to arts and culture at a very young age. Scott also noted her daughter’s tireless work on the Blues Babe Foundation, which Jill established in Philadelphia to assist financially struggling, but motivated students. Joyce Scott’s parting words, “Black can grow out of concrete,” left a lasting impression from a proud and loving mother.
The audience was treated to a wonderful performance on the viola by Christine Taylor, a student from The Philadelphia High School for Creative and Performing Arts. Six-year-old Alphonso “A.J.” Evans Jr. read a passage from Faith Ringgold’s upcoming book about renowned artist Henry O. Tanner, “His Boyhood Dream Come True.” Alphonso, who dreams of being the world’s greatest singer, attends Gesu School. The Urban Guerilla Band rocked the crowd with an amazing rendition of Jill Scott’s chart topping “Golden.”
Links who presented awards were Renetta Ethridge Holloway, Carol Clark Lawrence, Brenda Johnson Best, Margaret A. Wright, Zakiya T. Black and Rosalyn J. McPherson.
“I am thrilled that our chapter chose to honor three incredible women who are celebrated internationally and identified in Philadelphia as cultural pioneers and legends and continue to contribute to our vibrant art and music landscape,” chapter immediate past president Carol Clark Lawrence said.
Other officers of the Philadelphia Chapter are: Stephanie Watkins, Brenda Johnson Best, Mahlene Duckett Lee, Catherine F. Broach, Deidre L. Patterson and Margaret A. Wright. Mahlene Duckett Lee and Margaret A. Wright also did an incredible job as this year’s event as chairwoman and co-chairwoman respectively. The meticulous planning and hard work that went into this signature event was apparent.
More than 800 guests and Links from as far south as Georgia and all along the East Coast gathered for dinner and dancing to the fantastic music of the Urban Guerrilla Orchestra. The support of other Links Inc. chapters was phenomenal!
Founded in 1946 by two prominent Philadelphians, Margaret R. Hawkins and Sarah S. Scott, The Links Inc. is an international non-profit corporation which currently has a membership of 12,000 professional women of color in 274 chapters located in 42 states, The District of Columbia and the Commonwealth of the Bahamas. The vision of these two women to recognize and exercise community service and outreach has grown and flourished throughout the years.
Links Inc. founder Margaret R. Hawkins was well represented by her family at the event. Family members in attendance included her son, Dr. Frederick C. Hawkins Jr., and his wife, Sharon Hawkins, son Bruce R. Hawkins, and Philadelphia chapter member Lisa Hawkins, granddaughter Melanie Hawkins Tudos and husband Redmond Tudos.
Congratulations to “Smooth Sounds in the Afternoon” committee members: Catherine Manning Adams, Zakiya T. Black, Mariska K. Bogle, Stephanie Mays Boyd, Julie Cocker, Kelly D. Davis, Renetta Ethridge Holloway, Mellanie Kai Lassiter, Gina Golson Nunnery, Donna Roderick and Betty Jane Shelton and Frances Jones. I extend special thanks to Frances Jones for her public relations assistance in addition to Betty Shelton and Mariska Bogle. Sheinelle Ojeh also did a great job as the evening’s auctioneer. Best wishes to all members of the Philadelphia Links, Inc. for hosting this stellar event and contributing so much to our community!