Chicago Defender Newsmakers Gala: 5 Best Moments

Chicago Defender Newsmakers Gala: 5 Best Moments
From (l to r) Fred Ligouri of General Motors; Publisher Cheryl Mainor, and NBCs Art Norman. Photo by Zondra Hughes

5 Best Moments: Chicago Defender’s Newsmakers Gala

By Zondra Hughes

The theme was Carnavale, but the masks came off last night at the 2014 Newsmakers of the Year Gala.

Business leaders, community activists, and political heads of state packed the storied Hyatt Regency Ballroom to celebrate, educate, and yes, motivate Chicagoans to support the local organizations that are making a difference, and to vote.

“No president has ever been as disrespected as President Barack Obama,” Congresswoman Robin Kelly told the crowd. She added that the remaining two years will be far worse if the Democratic Party loses seats in the midterm elections that takes place on Tuesday, November 4th.

All politics aside, here are my 5 best moments of the night.

5. The Untold Jackie Robinson West Story

Governor Pat Quinn revealed that as the Jackie Robinson West Little League Champions were sweeping the nation, he was on the back-end, fighting for their coach Darrell Butler to keep his day job when the hoopla was over. “That’s what governor’s do,” Quinn said to the delight of the audience. “We stand up.”

4. The History of the Chicago Defender: Toni Preckwinkle, President, Cook County Board of Commissioners

President Preckwinkle, a history buff, asserts that the Chicago Defender was the news source for Chicagoans and the African diaspora, in case you didn’t know.

3. Shout out to Teesee’s Town!

In his closing remarks, David Milliner, who recalled working in the Chicago Defender newsroom at age 14, gave props to the old-school journalists and colleagues that populated that newsroom and he gave a loving shout-out to columnist Theresa Fambro Hooks, of Teesee’s Town. Milliner said that Hooks is, “a Chicago icon that’s dear to my heart.”

2. Cleopatra and Nathaniel Pendleton. The Pendletons, parents of 15-year-old Hadiya Pendleton who was gunned down while spending time with friends in a neighborhood park, are still in pain, but they don’t want you to feel sorry for them; instead, they want you to get involved to address the issue of gun violence in the city.

1. “I am the Defender.” Chicago Police Superintendent Gary McCarthy said, “There’s only so much the police can do about violence. We need legislative help; we need to do something about guns.” Superintendent McCarthy added, “If the system is designed to put Black men in jail for narcotics, we’re doing a hell of a job.”

Zondra with NBCs Art Norman, her first media mentor. @ZondraHughes

Zondra with NBCs Art Norman, her first media mentor. @ZondraHughes

Zondra Hughes is a digital storyteller, Huffington-Post blogger, social media strategist and doting auntie.; @zondrahughes.
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