Saturday the Sections of National Council of Negro Women of the Inland Valley met collectively in Victorville for the thirty-first annual Bethune recognition luncheon. The annual event places the focus on the founder, Mrs. Mary McLeod Bethune, honors women in the communities who have gone the extra mile for
their communities and raises funds to enable the sections to continue the outreach into the community.
The Inland Valley Sections consist of the following: Inland Empire, San Bernardino; Willie Mae Taylor, Perris; Orange County; Pomona Valley; San Gabriel Valley; and the High Desert, the host Section. The location was The Green Tree Golf Course Clubhouse in Victorville.
Opening the event and officially welcoming all the attendees was High Desert Section president, Terri Taylor; mistress of ceremonies was First Lady of Adelanto, Mrs. Evelyn Glasper.
Dignitaries present included: Charley Glasper, Mayor of Adelanto; Garner Morris, representing First District Supervisor Brad Mitzenfelt; Dr. Duneen DeBruhl, former Assistant Superintendent, Victor Valley Union High School District; Joanne Gilbert, Rialto School Board; Nancy Jackson, Southern California Edison, and Beverly Powell from Southern California Edison; Lois Carson, keynote speaker; Othella Glover, State Convener, NCNW; Assembly Member Wilmer Amina Carter; president, NAACP High Desert Chapter, Harold Gilbert, and Carolyn Martin, Los Angeles View Point Section.
High Desert past presidents attending were Lillian Walker, Bettye Davis, Dianna Prioleau, Ada McClain, and Sarah ShaBazz.
Section presidents at the head table were: Brenda Frazier, Pomona Valley Section; Bernice Jackson, Perris, Willie Mae Taylor Section; Shirley Banks, San Gabriel Valley Section; Cathy Woodard, Orange County Section; Lois Carson, Inland Empire Section; and Terri Taylor, High Desert Section.
Proclamations were presented from the cities of Victorville and Adelanto from First District Supervisor, Brad Mitzenfelt, and Assembly Member Wilmer Amina Carter.
The high desert community honoree for 2010 was Eloise Gibson, a resident of the area for thirty-eight years. She taught school for thirty years in the Hesperia School District. She is a charter member of the Black Heritage Committee, a member of the National Council of Negro Women, High Desert Section; Delta Kappa Gamma Society International (an honor society for women educators); High Desert Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority; a charter member; Victor Valley NAACP, and Victorville Friends of the Library. Gibson was honored in 2000 with an award in her name by the High Desert Black Heritage committee; each year, except 2007 it has been presented to an individual who has spent an inordinate amount of time making their community a better place to live.
Keynote speaker Lois Carson’s topic was, “Seek a New Height,” a play on Dr. Dorothy Irene Height's name. The late Dr. Height was leader of the organization for fifty years; she was hand-picked by founder Bethune. Under the tutelage of Dr. Height she continued to build on the foundation of Mrs. Bethune of harnessing women power to fuel projects within their communities, bringing Black educated women together as a group dedicated to unity, progress and empowerment. To honor Dr. Height, who died earlier this year, the women wore hats, her trademark.
Carson began by asking the women and men to close their eyes and imagine they are present in December 1935 in New York. There a woman is speaking; the speaker is Mrs. Mary McLeod Bethune, the young woman making sure everything is running smoothly is the young Dorothy Height. She gave an overview of the accomplishments of the organization over the seventy-five years it has harnessed women power. The National Council of Negro Women holds NGO status at the United Nations (Mrs. Bethune was a founding member). The organization has been represented at the White House more than any other organization, even during the Reagan years, when he had stated that “They will not come to my White House.” Mrs Carson ended by reminding the women that we are the foundation of the home, we have shouldered responsibility equally with the men; we are the force behind the Black family and now we as a generation must pass the baton to the thirty-somethings.
Newest life member for the high desert section was Stella Ann Bankston; and for Orange County there were two life members, Teresa Weissman, and Janice Benea Macon.