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The Group Honors Five Community Citizens

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By Cheryl Brown

The Group honored five high achieving individuals at the community based organization’s Second Annual Community Awards Breakfast held at the Canyon Crest Country Club last week.

Honorees included: Delores Armour, founder of Riverside’s Juneteenth Celebration; Captain James Cannon, the highest ranking African American in the Riverside Police Department; Joseph Higgins, retired owner of the Starlight Barber Shop; Mary Shelton, a Black Voice News Reporter; and Gladys Walker, Assistant Superintendent Riverside Unified School District.

After a welcome from Chair, Jennifer Vaughn-Blakely and an inspirational piece rendered by Robert Byrd, the Riverside Auditor-Controller, the emcee was introduced by Katie Greene.

Councilman Ameal Moore masterfully executed the program. He told stories about each of the honorees, some serious some not so serious. All receiving the approval of the early morning crowd.

Byrd's words echoed as the introductions continued, "to be a good leader one must learn to be a great follower."

In accepting his award Jim Cannon said he always remembers the words of his late 101-year-old grandfather, "It doesn’t matter what you do in life but at the end you should know you’ve got to do something with it.

Moore said people can say a lot of things but it is his actions that count. "Watch his actions," said Moore. Action was the key word. Delores Armour’s introduction described the action she took when she found out about Juneteenth, the typical Texas celebration of Emancipation of enslaved Africans. Being a history major in college, she began a local celebration and said she was disappointed when only 200 people showed up with her best efforts. She has organized the event for the past several years with growing participation and support.

Joe Higgins was unable to attend due to illness. However, Moore still nearly roasted him. Joe had the local barbershop and as his wife said in accepting the award, "there is a lot of gossip in the barber shop." Moore said Joe could lie, “he would tell big tall ones.” But Joe was an encourager, especially for the youth. He cut some of Riverside’s most famous men as they were growing up and when they were grown he has been known to ask them for their mother’s note describing how she wanted their hair cut.

Ameal Moore said that Mary Shelton is sometimes annoying to the powers that be, but that she has helped through her writing in the Black Voice News to bring about positive things. Shelton said that she was honored by the group selecting her. She also said her opportunity came through the death of another person, " I must never forget I am where I am because a young woman, Tyshia Miller died. She thanked the Black Voice News for giving her the opportunity.

Gladys Walker, assistant Superintendent of Riverside Unified Schools was awarded due to her commitment to the youth of the district. In accepting the award she thanked the parents for entrusting their children to her. "Education is an equal opportunity. It is the very best job one could have," said Walker.

The Group provides a forum for leaders to meet, discuss and take action on critical issues of concern to the African American community. They meet every 1st and 3rd Thursday for more information call Jennifer Vaughn-Blakely (909) 780-7730.

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