Photo courtesy of Thad Jackson.
Eighteen local leaders were honored by the Long Beach branch of the NAACP on Sunday at the 2017 Outstanding Men and Fathers Recognition Celebration for their support of social justice and dedication to their community.
All the honorees were nominated by members of the branch and are recognized as men who have gone “beyond the call of duty” to be strong leaders, mentors, volunteers and supporters of their communities, said branch president Naomi Rainey Pierson.
This year’s program, dedicated to former mayor Ernie Kell and his wife Jackie Kell, featured a large and diverse set of nominees, including Long Beach City Manager Patrick West. West, a member of the NAACP and adviser to the Men United in the NAACP, has been involved with the organization since moving to Long Beach in 2005.
“I am in awe to be recognized next to these folks,” West said referring to his fellow honorees. “To be associated with an organization that facilitates leaders like Filer and McBride is an incredible honor.”
Nominee and Long Beach native Carl McBride, son of branch founder Ernest McBride, has been involved in the civil rights movement and the NAACP for most of his life, having gone to picket with his father while he was an “itty bitty boy,” Pierson said referring to the activism within the McBride family.
Carl McBride has continued the family tradition of social justice work and has helped establish the Ernest McBride Scholarship, Ernest McBride Middle School and the Ernest McBride Parks and Recreation Center.
For the past 20 years, the Long Beach chapter has held an annual event to recognize these men and fathers. The program originally began to combat negative stereotypes by highlighting men of color who were community leaders who exemplified fatherhood. It has now grown to honor men of any race who share these qualities and have a strong sense of social justice.
“Fatherhood is universal. It has nothing to do with race, creed or color. By showcasing amazing people of diverse hue and color, it helps breakdown the stereotype of it being ‘us and them’”. Pierson said.
Honorees include: Anthony Filer, attorney and supervisor of community legal services; Peter Gravett, retired major general and retired Los Angeles policeman; Thad Jackson, photographer and retired educator; Charles Parkin, Long Beach city attorney; Rich Archbold, journalist for the Long Beach Press Telegram.
For the full list of honorees click here.