MADE IN DENA
MERGE BLACK PASADENA: Bridging the Generational Gaps of Pasadena's African-American Population
On the evening of Saturday, April 2nd, 2023, Pasadena's Alkebu-Lan Cultural Center played host to a historic event, "Merge Black Pasadena," which aimed to bridge the generational gaps among Pasadena's African-American population. The event, organized by Brandon Lamar, a recent city council candidate and the City of Pasadena Human Relations Commissioner, was the first of its kind in the city, and brought together a diverse group of attendees and speakers.
The event featured a wide range of speakers, representing different generations, backgrounds, and experiences. Among them were Pastor Kerwin Manning, Generation Z's Enija Lopez and Noah Decuir, Joe Hanks of Brick City Boxing, Diane Lewis, Nicole Bernard, Joslynn Griffen and the Women of NAACP, Tunisia Offray of Shepherd's Door, Baby Boomers Juanita Edwards and Gerald Freeny, Retired Pasadena Police officer Dr. Phlunte Riddle, and the Silent Generation's Dr. Juanita West Tilman. Each speaker shared their personal stories, experiences, and perspectives on the challenges that the city's Black population has faced over the years, including systemic racism, historical displacement of Black homeowners due to rising property value and the 210 freeway, policing, and politics. They also spoke about their generation's contributions to Pasadena.
Notable attendees included author K'Rahn Valentine, Creator of MADE IN DENA and 2-time mayoral candidate Jason Hardin, Lena Kennedy, Martin Gordon, Councilman Justin Jones, Betty Ford, former mayoral candidate Allen Shay, Jasmine Richards of BLM Pasadena, Allen Edson of NAACP, Heavenly Hughes and Victor Hodgson of MY TRIBE RISE, and Jason Fletcher. The youth paid respect and honor to the elders by presenting each of them with roses.
The evening's refreshments consisted of delicious pastries, an elegant charcuterie, fresh tamales, tacos, and wine, which added to the convivial atmosphere. Attendees mingled, networked, and shared their ideas and visions for the future of Pasadena's African-American population.
The event was a resounding success, as it brought together the many different generations of Black Pasadena, highlighting the need to bridge the generational gap and to create more opportunities for unity and solidarity within the community. The spirit of the event was nothing but positive, as attendees were inspired and motivated by the stories and experiences shared by the speakers.
However, the impact of the event on the growth and progress of Pasadena's African-American population is yet to be determined. Despite the event's success, there were also known individuals in attendance who would quickly sell out the interest of everyone in the room to lace their own pockets and further their own agenda. Lamar and his team will need to carefully monitor the outcome of the event to ensure that the momentum generated by "Merge Black Pasadena" is sustained and leads to real change in the community.
All-in-all, "Merge Black Pasadena" was a groundbreaking event that highlighted the need for unity and solidarity within Pasadena's African-American population. By bringing together individuals from different generations, backgrounds, and experiences, the event was able to create an open and honest dialogue about the challenges that the community faces. It was a remarkable achievement for Brandon Lamar, and it is hoped that "Merge Black Pasadena" will serve as a model for other cities across the country looking to bridge the generational gap and create more opportunities for unity and progress within their communities.