A who’s who of people that make up Colorado’s political landscape attended the CBWPA’s (Colorado Black Women for Political Action) 36th Annual “Tribute to Black Women” luncheon on October 10 at the Renaissance Hotel Denver. Veteran and award winning journalist Tamara Banks served as mistress of ceremonies.
Throughout the luncheon, attendees heard inspirational words from a host of leaders from Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock and Senator Michael Bennet to CBWPA leaders, including its current president, Maya Wheeler. African-American candidates for elected offices were also recognized.
The keynote speaker was educator and activist Dominique Christina. The award-winning author lit up the room with powerful words and memories as she read a few poems, including one inspired by her grandmother and another inspired by the16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama–a church with a predominantly Black congregation that served as a meeting place for civil rights leaders. Four young girls were killed and many others injured on Sept. 15, 1963.
The 2015 CBWPA 36th Annual “Tribute to Black Women” honorees included a host of women from diverse backgrounds. Jeweldine Blair, a woman of courage, faith, family and community, was recognized as the 2015 Trailblazer honoree. Dawn Riley Duval, a minister, mother, journalist and a co-founder and co-leader of Black Lives Matter 5280, was recognized as the 2015 Politics honoree. Dr. Claudette Evette Francoise Sweet, gifted vocalist, pianist and community activities, was honored as the 2015 Cultural Affairs honoree. Claudia E. Abernethy-Feliciana, a practicing attorney who has fought for more than 20 years for the tenant rights of single mothers, senior citizens, veterans, the physically and mentally disabled, to name a few, was recognized as the 2015 Business honoree. Barbara Walker-Allen, a teacher for 42 years in Denver and a recognized leader in innovative history education in Colorado and the nation, was honored as the 2015 Education honoree. Jandel Allen-Davis, MD, vice president of government, external relations and research at Kaiser Permanente Colorado, was recognized as the 2015 Community Service honoree. Daryn Alexandria Fouther, a freshman at Colorado State University, who led city-wide efforts to highlight police brutality by organizing a peaceful rally and march at her high school, received the 2015 Youth award. Rosalind “Bee” Harris, owner and publisher of the Denver Urban Spectrum, received the 2015 Lifetime Achievement and Excellence award. The CBWPA President’s Award recognized Lady Jane-Frances Echeozo, RN, MS, for her work to advance greater collaboration and integration of all ethnic groups, including immigrant and refugees in our community.
During the event, Historic Denver, Inc. presented its newly created Cultural Impact Award to the CBWPA for engaging African-American women in the civic process. This year, the organization is recognizing five local non-profits with the award to honor each organization’s four decades of service in Denver and for contributing to the city’s rich cultural tapestry.