Tag: charity basketball tournament

Black California Native Joan Williams, 82, Who Was Denied Spot on Rose Parade Float 56 Years Ago, Sits at Head of Parade this New Year’s Day

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The opportunity to ride on a city-sponsored float at the annual Rose Parade has been almost 60 years in the making for 82-year-old Pasadena, Calif., native Joan Williams. The honor was originally denied her in 1958 when officials found out that she was black, the Pasadena Star-News reports.

Williams was chosen as Miss Crown City in 1957—a title given to a City Hall employee, who would then be honored by riding on a city-sponsored float during the iconic New Year’s Day celebration and would represent the city at events before the parade, the news site notes.

“I was young and it was exciting,” recalled Williams, who was 27 and had two young children at the time.

Her excitement, however, was cut short months later once it was discovered that Williams, while light-skinned, was black. All of a sudden the city did not have a float to include in the parade because too many entrants had already been accepted, the city claimed. All of this was decided at the last minute, even though the city had already paid for a portrait of Williams decked out in a gown, corsage and tiara.

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Portrait of Joan Williams commissioned by the city in honor of her selection as Miss Crown City (ABC NEWS)

To add insult to injury, the mayor later refused to take a picture with her at a city employees’ picnic when requested by a Jet photographer.

“It was one of the first times, as an adult, I began to grow up and realize what racism is,” Williams said. “Somehow I wasn’t the person they wanted on that float anymore just because of my heritage. … You can imagine the slap in the face that is.”

Now, 56 years later, Williams is getting some retribution: She is once again being given the opportunity to ride in the parade. However, according to the Star News, Pasadena Mayor Bill Bogaard has acknowledged that officials have made no attempt at an apology. He did say that he contacted Williams and invited her to lunch after he heard about what happened to her.

“We didn’t dwell on what happened in the past,” he told the Star-News. “She’s a very nice person. I’m delighted to have come to know her and now consider her a friend.”

It was after their meeting that officials arranged for Williams to ride on the banner float, which will carry the parade’s theme, “Inspiring Stories,” at the top of the parade.

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EBC Suspends Summer Tournament To Host Trayvon Martin Invitational

A Black ANd White Photo Of Trayvon Martin

On Friday, July 26th the Entertainers Basketball Classic (EBC) will suspend their summer tournament for one weekend to host the Trayvon Martin Invitational in memory of the slain Florida teen.  In conjunction with Vibe Magazine and NYC radio station Hot 97, the tournament will host New York’s elite streetball teams (within the tri-state area), top NBA players and celebrities who will come together at the legendary Rucker Park. There will be 2 games every night at 6pm & 8pm with the winning teams of each game advancing toward the Invitational Championship game which takes place on Monday, July 29 at 8pm. Bringing young and old together, the EBC in conjunction with activist Kevin Powell will host community leaders at the park to speak to the Harlem fans and attendees.

CEO and founder of EBC, Greg Marius states “This is an extremely difficult time for many people, I can not begin to express my sympathy with Trayvon Martin’s family but only show my support by joining together as a community to make a difference. If we do not make a stand for all the injustices now, who will?”

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