2009 TORCH AWARDS HONOREES
Furnell Chatman, KNBC4 Anchor and Reporter of the #1 rated weekend edition, recently retired after 33 years. He began his television career in New Orleans, Louisiana. He broke the racial color barrier in 1968 when he became the first African American hired as a television news reporter and among the first in the entire Southern United States. In the past three decades, Chatman has covered virtually every major news event in Greater Los Angeles from the Olympics to the O. J. Simpson trial. Furnell has received numerous awards for his journalistic work including, but not limited to the Grammy’s, Golden Mikes, and the Lifetime Achievement Award. His last day on the air he signed off with the memorable, “Thanks for having us in.”
Top Row (L-R): Jackie Thompson, Shirley Kinsey,
Cookie Johnson, Victoria Rowell. Bottom Row ( L-R): Furnell Chatman, Bernard Kinsey, Ed Dwight
A man whose resume reads: Air Force Test Pilot, America’s first African American Astronaut Trainee, computer systems engineer, aviation consultant, restaurateur, real estate developer, and construction entrepreneur. Ed Dwight can best be described as a true “renaissance” man who has been successful in all of these areas. However, for the last twenty years, Ed has focused on fine art and sculpture. He is one of the most prolific and insightful sculptors in America. Ed has created over 80 public art projects throughout the country with some displayed at the Smithsonian Institute. In 2008, Ed Dwight was commissioned to create a memorial of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., in Washington, D.C. Ed Dwight’s Studio in Denver, Colorado, is the largest privately owned production and marketing in the western United States
Cookie Johnson is a philanthropist, child advocate, spokesperson for women’s health and most important a wife and mother of three. She is Secretary of the Board of Directors for the Magic Johnson Foundation (MJF). She actively speaks about women’s issues and issues that address the health, social and educational needs of those residing in underserved communities. Most recently, Cookie joined her husband, Earvin “Magic” Johnson, along with the Magic Johnson Foundation and Abbott Laboratories in their continued fight to end HIV/AIDS in the African-American community. On behalf of MJF, Cookie helped establish the BREATHE Program, a national asthma awareness initiative that works to educate children and parents about the impact of asthma in urban environments. She also is a spokesperson for the National Medical Association. Cookie has been the recipient of numerous honors and awards. She is also an active member of West Angeles Church of God in Christ, where she teaches a class directed at bettering the lives of young teenage women.
Bernard and Shirley Kinsey
Bernard and Shirley Kinsey are one of the most admired and respected couples in Los Angeles. Their 42 year marriage and partnership represents an alliance based on love, respect, and the importance of friends and family. They live their lives on two simple principles. “To whom much is given much is required” and “A life of no regrets”. The Kinsey’s have raised over 22 million dollars for charitable and educational organizations, including over one million dollars in scholarships for the Southern California Alumni Chapter of Florida A&M, their alma mater. They are know for their collection of African American art, books and manuscripts that document and tell the remarkable story of African American from 1632 to 1968. The Kinsey Collection: “The Personal Treasures of Bernard and Shirley Kinsey” have been on national tour and seen by millions on television and radio.
An actress, advocate, mother, former foster child and now a New York Times best selling author, Victoria Rowell is currently on tour for the release of her new memoir, “The Women Who Raised Me.” The memoir is a tribute not only to the amazing women who cared for Rowell when her birth mother could not, but also to the foster care system that brought them into her life. At the early age of eight, Rowell received a scholarship to study ballet and flourished as a dancer garnering scholarships to both the School of American Ballet and the American Ballet Theater. Later she pursued a modeling career, and then pursued her acting dreams and landed a television role on “The Cosby Show” and the role of Drucilla Winters on CBS’s “The Young and Restless.” Having spent 18 years in foster care, in 1990 she founded the Rowell Foster Children’s Positive Plan (RFCPP), which enriches foster children through artistic and athletic expression. Through RFCPP, Victoria has been recognized for her continuous efforts with foster care and adoption as well as her work on human rights and world peace.
Born and educated in Liverpool, England, Jackie Thompson began her dream job in 1994 with Southwest Airlines as a Marketing Manager in Phoenix, Arizona. Jackie is the Community Affairs Manager for Southwest Airlines in the West Coast, Colorado and Texas. Her responsibilities include, but are not limited to establishing and strengthening relationships with key national and community based organizations, assists the Corporate Communications team with managing the image and reputation of Southwest Airlines. Jackie serves on several boards, committees and advisory position in her capacity as Community Service Extraordinarie and Legislative Ambassador of the year award from Southwest Airlines.
After nearly 38 years of service, Southwest Airlines continues to differentiate itself from other low fare carriers?offering a reliable product with exemplary Customer Service. Southwest recently updated its gate areas and improved its boarding procedure to make flying Southwest convenient and simple. Southwest Airlines currently serves 65 cities in 33 states (Boston Logan service begins Fall 2009). Based in Dallas, Southwest currently operates more than 3,200 flights a day and has more than 35,000 employees system wide. Southwest started service to Los Angeles in 1982 and today, the airline operates more than 120 daily flights to 18 destinations from Los Angeles, with additional direct or connecting service to 40 cities.