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February 17 - 23, 2010

McLaughlin Honors Black Leaders for Dedication to Social Change

From the Globe News Desk

During the City Council meeting Tuesday night, Richmond Mayor Gayle McLaughlin delivered her 2010 State of the City address.At the Richmond City Council meeting on Tuesday night, Mayor Gayle McLaughlin presented proclamations to four local leaders, acknowledging their past and ongoing commitment to positive social change in Richmond.

The four recipients — Eula Averhart, Courtland “Corky” Booze, Lillie Mae Jones and Rev. Phil Lawson — have worked in the community over many years to activate, unite, organize, educate and mobilize for a better future for all the residents.

Averhart has been active locally for over 50 years and has served as president of the Coronado Neighborhood Council. She was instrumental in launching Richmond’s Community Development Commission over 25 years ago to ensure community input on the allocation of HUD-funded Community Development Block Grants. She served on the commission until 2009.

Booze for decades has been on the front lines as a grassroots activist, advocating for African-Americans in Richmond who have been disproportionately affected by violence. Booze has advocated on the behalf of seniors and youth and worked to build bridges between African-American, Latino, Asian and white residents.

Jones, a leader in community renewal efforts for decades, was at the forefront of the successful effort to set aside former railroad property running through central Richmond and transform it into the Richmond Greenway. She also helped with the creation of the community garden and art display at Harbor Way and Macdonald Ave. Jones founded the organization CYCLE, which provides training and mentorship to youth in community gardening and building sustainable neighborhoods.

Lawson, a member of the Fellowship of Reconciliation for over 50 years, has demonstrated a lifelong commitment to building peace. He has advocated and organized for uniting and empowering the poor and disenfranchised in Richmond through his past ministry at Easter Hill United Methodist Church, his leadership in the Greater Richmond Interfaith Program, Richmond’s Just Cause Coalition, East Bay Housing Organizations and the Black Alliance for Just Immigration, an immigrant rights organization he co-founded.


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