2005 TORCH AWARDS HONOREES
Bishop Charles E. Blake not only ministers to a congregation of 24,000 from the pulpit at West Angeles Church of God in Christ, a 60-million dollar, 5,000-seat worship center that became an instant landmark in the city of Los Angeles; but has expanded his ministry by partnering with faith-based and secular organizations to build homes, provide medicine and restore hope to a hurting generation who have been devastated by the AIDS pandemic in South Africa. After attending a seminar at Harvard University on the world-wide HIV/AIDS epidemic, Bishop Blake prayed about what he could do to help. The Lord led him to establish a ministry to help care for the 12 million African children orphaned and homeless due to HIV/AIDS, called the Pan African Children’s Fund (PACF). Save Africa’s Children, a program of PACF, currently provides support to dozens of orphanages throughout sub-Sahara Africa. Bishop Blake says, “If I’ve
Bishop Charles E. Blake
Mr. Gossett, an incomparable actor, began a successful career in acting on screen and on the stage, at the age of 17 when a leg injury prevented him from pursuing his passion for basketball. In 1961 he received the Donaldson Award, as the best newcomer to theatre for his performance in, A Raisin in the Sun. In 1977, he was recognized for his Emmy award winning performance in the landmark miniseries, Roots. After his Emmy recognition, his career accelerated and landed him the role of a deceptively heartless drill sergeant in An Officer and a Gentleman, in which in won an Oscar for Best Supporting role. His career in acting has ranked him as one of the most respected African-American actors of stage, screen, and television.
Mr. John W. Mack, President of the Los Angeles Urban League, is a legend in Los Angeles and has served his community as president since August of 1969. John began his career with the Urban League in Flint, Michigan in 1964 and was appointed Executive Director in 1965. Prior to serving as President of the Los Angeles Urban League, he served on the Urban League’s National staff for six months during the Whitney Young era in Washington, D.C. In 1960, John was a leader in the student civil rights movement in Atlanta. Co-Founder and Vice Chairperson of the Committee on the Appeal for Human Rights. Under his leadership, the Los Angeles Urban League has become one of the most successful non-profit community organizations in Los Angeles with an annual budget of $20 million. John is a highly respected advocate for equal opportunities in education, law enforcement and economic empowerment for African-Americans and other minorities.
diabetes management plan. Ms. Reese is the official spokesperson for Avandia, a diabetes medication.
Ms. Reese, who is an ordained minister of the Church “Understanding Principals for a Better Living” in Los Angeles, began singing in her hometown of Detroit when she was 6 years old. As a teenager, she toured with gospel great Mahalia Jackson and, at the age of 18, she formed the Meditation Singers and became the first performer to take gospel music to the casinos of Las Vegas. She was a vocalist with Erksine Hawkins and was presented an award in 1987 for Best Female Soloist in Gospel. This is the first of many awards to come. She is a legend who has created memorable and timeless television characters, such as Tess, in Touched By An Angel, which often parallels her own life. For her role as Tess she has been a three time recipient of the NAACP Image Award , Emmy Award and Golden Globe, to name a few. In her role as a good-hearted supervisor angel, she gives guidance to her trainees and human “assignments” and puts them back on the right path. In real life she continues to give the same guidance. She was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and has created a
When Pat Tobin founded Tobin & Associates, few in the industry had ever heard of an African American-owned, woman-operated, public relations firm. Pat Tobin has been in business for more than 17 years, Tobin & Associates have become one of the largest African American-owned public relations firms west of the Mississippi. Today, media professionals at such corporations as CNN and Time Magazine, as well as numerous community newspapers across the country, utilize her as a resource on the subjects of ethnic marketing, corporate relations and community relations. Tobin is also the co-founder and past president of the Black Public Relations Society of California and currently serves as president of the National Black Public Relations Society, an organization designed to meet the professional needs of African American public relations practitioners. Recently, she was elected to the Board of Directors of Women in Film, serves on the Los Angeles Planning Committee for the Children’s Defense Fund, and is a committee member of Prototype, a social service agency.
Ms. Louis Gossett, Jr.
Mr. John W. Mack
Ms. Della Reese
Ms. Pat Tobin
Ambassador Andrew Young
Ambassador Andrew Young is former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, former Mayor of Atlanta, former United States Congressman, top aide to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the co-chair of the 1996 centennial Olympic Games, and serves on many Fortune 500 boards. A champion of domestic and international civil rights, Ambassador Young has helped to shape our country’s policies as an activist, Congressman, and mayor of one of America’s flourishing cities. Ambassador Young is co-founding Principal and Chairman of GoodWorks International. This involvement allows him to execute his life-long mission of energizing the private sector to advance economic development in Africa and the Caribbean. He puts corporate executives in contact with leaders and key influences in the regions’ emerging markets, facilitating the formation of successful business partnerships.
The proceeds from the gala will benefit the programs and initiatives of Legacy Ladies, Inc. donations and contributions can be mailed to:
Legacy Ladies, Inc.
26500 W. Agoura Road, Ste 102-718
Calabasas, CA 91302.
A native of San Antonio, TX, Michael Ward is one of the few instrumental musicians who have chosen to play jazz on the violin. He has traveled around the world performing with some of the world’s top entertainers such as: Lionel Hampton, Wynton Marsalis, Kenny Neal, Ronnie Laws, and Al Hurt, to name a few. He has shared the bill with many of the world’s top entertainers such as Gladys Knight, George Benson, Roberta Flack, Hiroshima, Bonny James, Franky Beverly and Maze, and George Benson. Michael has also had the pleasure of performing for two American Presidents, President George Bush, Sr., and President Bill Clinton. Throughout his career, Michael has dedicated much of his free time on the road going to many different schools conducting free workshops and clinics for inner city children.
Jeanette Bertha Harris
The musical talents of Jeanette were displayed at the young age of five under the direction of her father. She began playing the guitar in church, and then took piano lessons and then found her true passion in the fourth grade, the saxophone. Her love for playing the saxophone helped her to fulfill her life long dream of attending the prestigious Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA, where she received a Bachelor of Music with a major in Performance. Jeanette, along with her father, Floyd, Sr. and her brother Michael formed “The Harris Family Ragtime Band.”
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