Last Saturday – a beautiful, sunny day in West Oakland – the banquet room at the West Oakland Senior Center (WOSC) was filled with over 200 people celebrating Mother’s Day and enjoying breakfast served by the men of McClymond’s High School Alumni Association.
Over four generations were represented in the room and greetings, short speeches, dance, song, and music by DJ Sam Robinson made the event one of the best parties of the season.
Masters of Ceremonies Sylvester Hodges and Marlin Eagles, whose granddaughter sang, were dressed in tuxedos and kept the crowd laughing and applauding. Hodges sang a wonderful impromptu piece and the crowd sang along.
Jazz singer Carolyn Jones, who performs at Geoffrey’s Inner Circle and other local venues, made an impromptu appearance with a spirited rendition of “Trouble the Waters.” Keynote speaker Dr. Doris Peeler-Brown of the now closed East Bay Law Center gave remarks, and New York Times bestselling author Mary Monroe read from her books.
Gilda Baker, one of the honorees and a member of the WOSC Advisory Board Events Committee, filmed the event. She spoke to the assembled crowd, “You are important and valued, and are always welcome here.” She said her goal is to increase use of the center by the Oakland community.
New WOSC Director Jendayi Santana was not in attendance, but her administrative assistant Sharia Lewis, granddaughter of Special Honoree Queen Ester Woodrow, fondly known as “Mama Queen,” was a hardworking and efficient stand-in.
Ms. Lewis handed family members T-shirts honoring her grandmother, who just turned 99 years old. Additional honorees were 94-year-old Maggie Lewis, whose daughter attended for her, Katina Tate, Advisory Board Member Gilda Tate, Alice Woods, and Mattie Williams In Memoriam. Certificates were presented to all honorees.
The Senior Center motto is, “Ability is Ageless,” and the attendees proved that with their enthusiasm, arts presentations, and goodwill. For more information on programs and hours, call 510-238-7016, or visit at 1724 Adeline, Oakland, CA.