By Staff Writer
Kicking off Black History Month in style, the San Diego Voice & Viewpoint Newspaper held its 54th Annual Awards and Anniversary Gala, Saturday, February 1st at the Market Creek Venue. With approximately 400 tickets sold, the gala was a star studded affair for the local African American community. Dignitaries, pastors, leaders, civic organizations, families and friends were present to congratulate the publication on 54 years of services to the people of San Diego. Emceed by Mr. Tayari Howard of KKSD Jazz Radio, attendees were entertained by the likes of Teye Sa Thiosanne, an African Drumming troupe, CEO’s Rhythm Section band, the San Diego MLK Community Choir, The Jackie Robinson YMCA Thunder Squad Drumline, songstress Mrs. Lila Smith and poet Ms. Leah Goodwin.
Many of the guests in attendance felt as if they were at a family reunion, some sharing stories and laughs with individuals they hadn’t seen in years. Publisher, Dr. John E. Warren, co-facilitated the evening with Mr. Howard and Managing Editor, Chida Warren-Darby. During the evening, a brief video history was shown to give attendees more insight on how the publication was formed, with stories told by one of the newspaper’s previous publishers Mr. Earl Davis, Jr. In the spirit of celebration, the publication awarded several individuals in the community for their tireless efforts and their giving spirits. They were Pastor Miles McPherson, Senior Pastor of The Rock Church, who received the Good Shepherd & Visionary Pastor Award; Mr. Hartwell W. “Skipper” Ragsdale III who received the Small Business Partnership Award; Dr. Robert and Ardelle Matthews and Dr. Dorothy Smith, who were recipients of the Unsung Hero Award, and Ms. Kathleen Harmon and Mr. Walter Lam who were recipients of the Gerri Warren Humanitarian Award – in honor of the late Mrs. Gerri Warren who co-published the newspaper with Dr. Warren. Corporate Partnership Awards were given to SDGE and Union Bank.
Tracy Morris of Phi Beta Sigma shared “Thanks had a great time and it was truly an honor to witness the journey of the Voice and Viewpoint over 54 years. I look forward to witnessing the next 54,” and Frank Robinson, senior vice president and public affairs manager of Union Bank said “It was a great event,” which was the sentiment shared by many attendees.
In the program Dr. Warren shared with event sponsors “We wish to extend our most sincere appreciation to you for allowing us to assist you in serving our communities. Our interdependent relationships have been the core of the success that we both enjoy…” Event sponsors were Union Bank, Wells Fargo, Neighborhood House Association, Wells Fargo, Cox, Sycuan and the United Port of San Diego.