*There’s probably some of you who haven’t heard of the Brotherhood Crusade, and if that is so let me begin to give you a brief history of what this community based non-profit organization is all about.
Some 45 years ago in1968 this group was founded by a gentleman named Walter Bremond Jr. who joined forces with Danny Bakewell Sr. in an effort to achieve social, political, economic, and moral justice in the Black community.
When Walter Bremond passed away, the torch was given to Danny Bakewell Sr. who took the organization to higher heights, and deeper depths by developing various programs that catered to the needs of those that were neglected, and underserved in the community.
He has stood up, and fought for the rights of Black people in this country so much so, that under his guidance the Brotherhood Crusade has now become a nationally recognized institution.
For many years now the organization has taken the opportunity to honor and salute various individuals who have stood out in the community at it’s annual dinner held at the Beverly Hilton.
This years’ honoree was none other than Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas.
And what can you say about Mark?
Well folks, let me tell you something. If there was ever somebody who you could count on to stand up and fiercely fight against injustice, economic deprivement, and work for social change, it is Mark Ridley-Thomas.
From the time he began working as executive director of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference of Greater Los Angeles, to being elected to the Los Angeles City Council, and then going on to serving two terms in the California State Senate, and now becoming the President of the L.A. County Board of Supervisors, he has continued his relentless fight for truth, justice, and social change.
About 1500 people showed up to pay tribute to this man. And among them was such notables as Congresswoman Maxine Waters, Compton’s newly elected Mayor Aja Brown, Compton City Council members Dr. Willie Jones, and Janna Zurita, Motown Records founder Berry Gordy, L.A. City Council President Herb Wesson, L.A. County Sheriff Lee Baca, attorney Robert McNeill, L.A. County District Attorney Jackie Lacy, State Assemblymen, Reginal Jones Sawyer and Steve Bradford, and James Butts Mayor of Inglewood, Calif. These were just some of the many leaders of the community that came out to pay tribute to this man.
One of the highlights of the program was the introduction of the newly established radio station KBHC 98.5 F.M.
During a special segment of the festivities Kevin Nash of KJLH F.M. did a live radio broadcast that featured various interviews with students from the Youth Source Center which is located at 5414 so. Crenshaw Blvd. The Accelerated Radio School of Broadcasting was created by Kevin Nash and is the school’s director.
On hand to provide entertainment for the night, was none other than Morris Day And The Time who literally had folks out of their seats with his old school brand of Funk and R N B.
When I interviewed Mark Ridley-Thomas afterwards, I asked him how significant was this night and his reply was ” It was most significant because the Brotherhood Crusade is nearing a half century mark. And as student of history I know the significance of that. It’s managed to stay on its feet and it has done good works in the community. And it continues to do good work in the community and in the final analysis that’s what matters.
And to be acknowledged as a pioneer is simply stated that I’m a servant leader, seeking to provide as much energy to civic engagement and to expand the perimeters of democracy, that’s what I do. And I’m pleased to have the opportunity to serve the people of the second district in the best way I know how, and so this is a high honor for me. I must say that the Lord has smiled on my life, there’s no debate about that.”
Charisse Bremond who’s now running this organization that her father founded put it best when interviewed afterwards, ” This was a night of love and a night of commitment. It’s just amazing how the community has wrapped their arms around our work. You know that if the community supports you, you know you can do it all.”
And with that said, we too would like to salute Danny Bakewell Sr., Charisse Bremond and Brenda Marsh Mitchell of the Mothers In Action, and encourage them to keep on fighting for the people.
Southern California based Mohammed Mubarak, a portrait artist as well, can be contacted at [email protected] for your comments.