On the Sunday afternoon of March 2, 2008, the Riverside African American Historical Society, Inc. (RAAHS) held its 10th Annual Pacesetters/Unsung Hero's reception. The well-attended event acknowledges and recognizes those who have made significant contributions and had positive impacts on the lives of those in their communities. Honorees are nominated by the community and selected by a panel of jurors from RAAHS. This year's honorees are: Zelma Jane Ballard, Leon Carrigan, Clarence C. Mackey, Ralph Rivers and Belinda Taylor. Each unsung hero received the prestigious "LOVE YOU" trophy, which symbolizes the sentiments of RAAHS as it continues to pursue the acknowledgement and documentation of African American contributions in the Inland Empire.
Leon Carrigan is a pioneer in the insurance industry in San Bernardino, Redlands and Riverside. He trained many of the early agents in this area and was the first African American to start his own insurance agency in the Inland Empire. His volunteering activities included Redlands Boys Club and the American Cancer Society.
Ralph Rivers, a self-motivated community advocate and kind humanitarian has a passion for talking to people. He is very active in his church and as an ordained minister, is Pastor of Christian Education. Among the many positions he holds and has held are: President, Eleanor Jean Grier Leadership Academy Alumni Association founding member; and 2nd president of the Inland Empire African American Chamber of Commerce.
In his brief remarks, Mayor Ron Loveridge stated that this event was about stories...stories about the significance of the presence of African Americans in the Inland Empire. Dr. Alan Pauw, as he reflected on others who have received this award referenced "The Black Church in Riverside" (Black Voice News, Feb. 21, 2008) and further stated that these are the types of things RAAHS aims to record, document and perpetuate.
Videotaped DVD's of this historic event are available by calling (951) 784-7125 or (951) 682 5062.
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