A cultural asset is something that is vital to the enhancement of a community. Usually, we consider museums and educational institutions to be historically significant to the elevation of society. Though Patricia Bevelyn is obvious not a building, however through the lens of contribution, she should be edified as such.
People’s Association of Justice Advocates founder, Rev. Shane Harris understands all too well how important it is to honor exceptionalism, those who exhibit this level of contribution year in and day out. Harris says, “One of my most treasured responsibilities is not just to fight for justice, but to honor those who faught.” “It is vital to have individuals in a community that exceeds expectations and devote their lives to moving the needle, says Harris.”
Patricia Bevelyn is one of those people. A true living example of how when you roll up your sleeves, dive into the thick of things, make changes and leave the biggest shoes possible, it will be a job well done and the bar will certainly be raised.
The Key to the Movement is an honor, why? Because it is those like Patricia Bevelyn who not only unlock the doors of injustice but, literally knock them bad-boys right on down.
An incredible woman; Yes! Day after day and night after night, Pat has forged ahead, making a difference no matter what the cost. As the SDMNEWS publisher, I had many experiences sitting in her presence, and when I say the experience leaves a lasting impression, I mean just that. Being a cultural asset as we like to call Patricia; just being in the same room with her, you immediately get the impression that there will be no business as usual. SDMNEWS salutes Cultural Asset, Ms. Patricia Bevelyn!
The Award KEY TO THE MOVEMENT
Shane Harris, the President of the People’s Association of Justice Advocates shared the following statement in honor of Patricia Bevelyn: “Ms. Bevelyn’s work inside and outside of the county has been impactful. She has paved a way for real change when it comes to dealing with the disparate impacts black children face when entering the foster care system. She has championed robust ideas and even policies pertaining to the prevention of African American children entering the foster care system. My office is proud to present her with a Key to the Movement”
On March 31 the last day of Women’s History Month. Harris honored Patricia Bevelyn mainly for her role and leadership both within the County of San Diego’s Health and Human Services Agency where she worked for over 20 years and within the communities of southeastern San Diego. Bevelyn rose quickly to leadership in the county’s child welfare services department becoming the department’s head of the central region for the county where she presided over all social workers within the region which spans from southeastern San Diego to city heights. Harris was a foster child at the time when she served as the head of the central region and he noted that he honored her because of her leadership within the county and outside of the county on foster care and specifically her advocacy for Black families on the topic of disproportionality. Harris said at the special ceremony that more work is needed to improve the county’s foster care system and that the county must improve more resources aimed at reunifying more Black families that enter foster care. Currently, 20% of the county’s 2500 foster youth are African American.
Shane Harris, the President and Founder of the People’s Association of Justice Advocates, a national civil rights organization based in San Diego, CA honored Patricia Bevelyn, a southeastern San Diego community leader, at his organization’s headquarters this past week
Being the youngest of 5 children, Patricia Williams (Kelly) Bevelyn is a true GRITS (Girl Raised In The South). She loves her southern roots and the sense of reality the roots helped to prepare her for navigating the world. Both of her parents were educators. So, it was not an issue of if she was going to college, (that was understood) but where. After graduating valedictorian of her high school class, she entered Southern University and A & M College in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and majored in Psychology. Ever so eager to get out of college, she graduated in 3 ½ years feeling fully equipped and committed to making the world a better place during the time of the turbulent civil rights era.
Her professional career in social work started over 45 years ago with a program founded by the late Rev. Leon Sullivan, named Opportunity Industrialization Centers in Meridian, MS where she worked as an employment counselor. After the program was defunded, she started working as a school counselor at the Meridian Public School System for three years. She worked as an employment counsel with the Mississippi State Employment Services in various programs for 5 years before relocating to San Diego, California.
She quickly found summer work as a vocational counselor with the Chicano Federation. Later, she was hired at a community-based organization, Action Enterprises Development (AID) as the Assistant Director. AID gave her the opportunity to learn about politics, proposal writing, funding, and management. During her 5 year stay at AID, she organized the Black Achievement Awards Program.
She left the public sector to go into the private sector for five years as a financial consultant and received valuable experience in financial management. She later returned to the public sector and began a 23-year career with the County of San Diego, rising through the ranks from a social worker to retiring in 2011 as a Child Welfare Services Manager. While in the employment of the County of San Diego, she obtained her Master’s Degree in Social Work from San Diego State University. Her commitment during her employment with the County was equal treatment for African American children and families.
Making the world a better place continues to be her commitment and passion. Since retiring, she is one of the founding members of Project Save Our Children, a community-based program established to eliminate the disproportionate number of African American children in Child Welfare Services. She has also served as past President of Webster Academy of Science PTSA, prior to holding that position, she was the Treasurer.
In her church, Bethel Memorial AME Church, San Diego, she has served as past President and First Vice President of the Mary F. Handy Women’s Missionary Society, coordinator for the Angel Tree Program, Annual Thanksgiving Baskets Drive, and Interfaith Shelter Homeless Program. She spearheaded a drive to purchase mosquito netting for a tribe in Africa. She’s also the former Women’s Day Chairperson. Ms. Bevelyn Co-Chaired the 125th Anniversary Banquet for her church, Chaired the 129th Anniversary where she coordinated a red-carpet event for Bethel members 80 years of age and older. She is President of Bethel’s Class Leader Council and during this COVID pandemic, she works closely with the 45 Class Leaders to ensure that members are contacted weekly. In addition, under her leadership, the Class Leaders have provided meals to bereaved families, transported members to various appointments, secured quilts from the quilting Ministry for hospitalized members, and provided food and meals for homebound Bethel members. She serves on Bethel’s Steward Board as secretary and also as Bethel Church Official Board secretary. She is a member of Bethel’s Women’s Day Choir. Ms. Bevelyn has served as an elected delegate twice to the AME Southern California Annual Conference. Under her leadership as President of the Class Leaders and in conjunction with the Black Nurses Association and Jireh, Ms. Bevelyn helped organize two COVID vaccination clinics.
Ms. Bevelyn was the past Assistant Secretary to the Southern California Conference Lay Organization. Ms. Bevelyn has also served as an elected delegate for the Southern California Conference Lay Organization at the 5th District Convention. She was the Chairperson of the 58th Southern California Conference Lay Organization Convention. In addition, she has served as past 1st Vice President, Treasurer, and Chaplain of Bethel’s Lay Organization. She has coordinated the Bethel’s Lay Organization’s annual major fundraiser. Each year she assumes the responsibility as Bethel’s Annual Lay Day Worship Director and also decorates the church in the lovely blue and white theme.
She was presented the President Award by the Lay Organization in 2009. The National Council of Negro Women Community Service Award was given to her in 2010. Southwest College honored Ms. Bevelyn with the Unsung Hero Award in 2012. In 2013, she was selected by her church to be honored at the Delta Sigma Theta Breakfast for MiLady Annual Luncheon. In 2018 she and her husband Freddie were recognized by the Top Ladies of Distinction, Inc. as Autumn Stars-Outstanding Grandparents 2018. She currently services on the County of San Diego Southeastern Live Well Center Source Selection/Technical Advisor Committee, Southeastern Live Well Center Art Panel Advisory Committee, CAFSAB Race and Equity Committee, and currently serves on the State of California Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect Citizen Review Panel (CRP). She has served on the Board of Directors as past treasurer and secretary of Richard’s Place, a residential treatment program for AID victims.
As the Chairperson of Bethel’s Commission on Social Action, Ms. Bevelyn also participated in the AME V-Alert Campaign for the 2020 Presidential Election by securing Captains and Team Members in a “get out to vote” effort. She also organized educational forums on the election process and the various propositions. She worked closely with San Diego County Voter Registration and BAPAC as partners in this effort. She was recognized by The People Association of Justice Advocates in March 2022 and the SCCLO Lay Organization in February 2022 for her commitment and service to the community.
Recently, Ms. Bevelyn worked with the San Diego Central Black Chamber of Commerce to recruit Black businesses for city-funded grants. Through her efforts, more than $40,000 was awarded to various small businesses. In addition, she was able to secure a $5000 grant for her church to be used to provide workshops on resources available to Bethel members and the community.
In October of 2021, she was selected as one of the guest speakers for the SCCLO Lay Witness Night where she presented on the Disproportionate number of African American Children in Child Welfare Services. She presented the problem and the solutions. In November of 2021, she was selected to present a training to the SCCLO Executive Board on the Role of Class Leaders.
She is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority.
After 30 years of dating, she married her best friend, Freddie, a retired veteran. She has two grandsons, Andrew and Fredrick. Her daughter, Kyelunye Worthy is currently seeking a doctorate degree in Oriental Medicine. Ms. Bevelyn’s goal is now as it was when she graduated from college, to make this world a better place for children and families of African descent.
The San Diego Monitor-News has been serving Black San Diego since 1986