“Indivisible means incapable of being divided and Watu means “People” in Swahili”
Honored ‘Women of Distinction’ at Inaugural Women of Color ROAR Breakfast
The inaugural Women of Color ROAR Breakfast, celebrated the voices and contributions of Black women in leadership, on Saturday, Feb. 3 from 8-11 a.m., at the Jacobs Center for Neighborhood Engagement in Southeast San Diego. The purpose of the Black History Month event, presented by Indivisible WATU, a grassroots political advocacy organization, was to honor trailblazing leaders and encourage young women of color to run for office. The magnificent event was the brainchild of Angela de Joseph, the founder of Indivisible WATU. De Joseph opened the sold-out breakfast by explaining her organization’s title, “Indivisible means incapable of being divided and Watu means “People” in Swahili” De Joseph credits the success of the Women of Color Roar Breakfast to the tireless work of the Indivisible Events team and commitment as well as the unwavering support of fellow WATU members and sponsorship from the Democratic Woman’s Club of San Diego County.
“Our original vision was to hold an event for 100 women and identify perhaps 20, young women of color who were interested in running for office and provide them with complimentary tickets to the breakfast,” said de Joseph. In the end, the breakfast expanded to an over-capacity attendance of 300. “We reached out to the Democratic leadership in San Diego and together with incumbents and candidates, provided additional funding to sponsor 80 young women from high school through grad school, referred to as ‘Future Leaders,’ to attend the breakfast and get a running start on a career in public service and government.” The program featured a beautiful rendition of, “The Greatest Love of All” sang by Buki Domingos and recitation of Maya Angelou’s Phenomenal Woman by Taylor Sabree. The event unveiled the “Woman of Distinction” Award to recognize women in our community, who paved the way for others to enter public service and run for office. Honorees included Assemblymember Dr. Shirley Weber. Weber is the first African-American south of Los Angeles to be elected to the California legislature. Myrtle Cole (president of the San Diego city council), the first African American woman on the San Diego City Council and Lemon Grove Mayor Racquel Vasquez, the first female African American mayor in San Diego County. A surprise and fourth honoree was 40-year Democratic party community leader, delegate, and Democratic Central Committee member, Ms. Kathleen Harmon. Council President Myrtle Cole presented the “Woman of Distinction” Award to Ms. Harmon. De Joseph credits Ms. Harmon with making her vision for the event, a reality. “When I reached out, no one called me back. When Ms. Harmon called, they called back immediately. She helped get the programs printed and along with her daughter, Donnetta Moore even cut the Kente cloth fabric for the tables.”
According to de Joseph, the “Woman of Distinction” Award, an original hand-carved work of art from Ghana, symbolizes the key role women play in moving the world forward. “Our leaders deserve to be recognized and treasured with a unique gift connecting with our African heritage.” The keynote speaker for the event was the aforementioned, Assemblymember Dr. Shirley Weber, one of the honorees. Speaker Khea Pollard, a graduate student and community representative and policy advisor for County Supervisor Greg Cox represented the voice of young millennials. Norma Chavez-Peterson, executive director of the San Diego ACLU rounded out the speakers with a call to activism and engagement in the student attendees. During Chavez-Peterson’s speech, she offered to mentor 10 of the Future Leader scholarship recipients. Following the program, twenty-five students approached her. She generously agreed to take them all under her wing. One college student with aspirations of a career path as a nonprofit executive director will spend a day shadowing Chavez-Peterson and learning the job first hand.