The Black Elected Officials & Faith Based Leaders of the East Bay (BEO&FBL) honored dedicated leaders in the community on Tuesday, Dec. 16 at its annual Community Leaders Recognition Awards celebration held at Impact Hub in Oakland.
This year’s honorees were: retired Alameda County Board Supervisor Mary King; Alameda County Treasurer Donald White; Pastor Michael McBride of The Way Christian Center and director of the PICO National Network Live Free Campaign; and Bernida Reagan, director of Merriwether & Williams.
Councilmember Lynette McElhaney and Ken Maxey, Comcast Government Affairs Director, emceed the event. Spoken word artist Jazz Hudson delivered a poignant poem that spoke to the #BlackLivesMatter movement.
As the honorees accepted their awards, they reflected on the need to continue empowering the community and to also mentor young people.
“I believe we will win,” said Pastor McBride, quoting the words that he heard young activists in Ferguson chant. The minister also thanked his wife for her support and spoke on his mission to fight for the oppressed.
Donald White, the first African American elected tax collector, said the work of “preparing the next generation of elected officials” is so important and something he is committed to.
“This is an important time in our history. The truth is being revealed…of what it means to be a young Black man,” said Bernida Reagan. “I take this challenge to continue doing the work that the community needs me to do.”
While Mary King was not able to accept her award at Tuesday’s event, her impact both as an Alameda County Board Supervisor and as General Manager of AC Transit preceded her. In 1988, she became the first African American woman elected to be an Alameda County Supervisor.