By Carla Thomas
The San Francisco Black Chamber of Commerce recently held an event to honor the city’s top African American civic leaders, department heads, commissioners and elected officials.
Held on Jan. 25 at Yoshi’s Jazz Club, the celebration was led by Dr. Toye Moses and Chamber President Fred Jordan.
“We want to honor our leaders for their commitment to the community and to encourage them to continue to pursue excellence and unselfish commitment to our proud city,” said Jordan.
“We are really looking to our current leaders to commit to the awareness of the collective needs, interest and civic affairs of the African American community,” said Moses, member of the Immigrant Rights Commission and the South East Facility Commission.
“I am proud to be mayor of a city which continues to benefit from the tireless commitment of our African American community leaders who have broken racial barriers and made contributions to our city,” said Mayor Ed Lee.
Naomi Kelly, the city’s first African American female city administrator, also addressed the more than 200 guests.
“The San Francisco African American Chamber of Commerce is one of our key partners in creating economic empowerment, sustenance and vitality of our African American community through education, advocacy and mentoring,” she said.
Others who joined the celebration were Supervisors London Breed and Malia Cohen, Senator Mark Leno, Public Utilities Commission (PUC) General Manager Harlan Kelly and PUC Commissioner Emeritus Tim Simon.
Supervisor Emeritus Doris Ward was acknowledged for her years of commitment to the city.
“Were it not for veteran advocates like Doris Ward, Willie B. Kennedy, Amos Brown, Sophie Maxwell and Espanola Jackson among others, African Americans in San Francisco would have an even longer road to haul,” said Jordan.
“We are pleased to be a part of this event. and we recognize the importance of African Americans doing business with those of us living on the continent of Africa as well,” said Nigerian business leader Sesan Haastrup.
“To have all of these people in the same room, we should be able to achieve a lot in 2013,” said Lance Burton of Planet Fillmore Communications.