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Marylouise Oates

A Call to 'Hang Tough' for Justice

March 21, 1987|Marylouise Oates

One totally filled room at the Century Plaza plus longtime commitment on the part of the Los Angeles corporate community equals more than $300,000 raised Thursday night for the Los Angeles Urban League.

"You represent the most beautiful audience, the most diversified audience, to attend an event in this city," Urban League President John Mack told the 1,700-plus crowd. On the dais: Dionne Warwick, the recipient of the Whitney M. Young Jr. Award, Mayor Tom Bradley with his wife Ethel, Burt Bacharach and Carole Bayer Sager, dinner chair Stanley A. Wainer, emcee Marla Gibbs and Dr. Cecil Murray.

In a short speech unlike those usually offered at benefits, Mack said the Urban League was committed "for the long haul . . . preparing more marathon runners for the race of life, those who could not have gotten out of the starting blocks." And such work has become even more important currently, Mack said.

"Recently, President Reagan has forgotten many details," Mack said, "but he has not forgotten how to do in minorities."

South-Central Los Angeles--besieged with crack and violence--"should be declared a disaster area," Mack continued. "Tonight I call upon each of you to hang tough with us . . . let us persist as marathon runners for justice. No group can make it alone."

Gibbs, kidding about her long-running role on "The Jeffersons," then took a more serious tack, praising Mack and the Urban League for putting L.A. "so much closer to overcoming."

The crowd was as diversified as Mack said--Urban League board members reflecting that unique diversity. Chairman Charles Redmond, attorney Lisa Specht, former Lakers star Jamaal Wilkes, consultant Larry Irving, United Airlines V.P. Gus London, Pacific Bell's Bart Kimball. In the audience--Magic Johnson.

Also Terrie Williams from Essence magazine, here in L.A. to help put together the first Essence Awards. Set for the fall, the dinner will honor Oprah Winfrey, Marla Gibbs, Olympian Anita DeFrantz and three others.

WOMEN SUPPORTING WOMEN--"Such a show of support," Adrienne Hall announced, barely heard over the noise that 300-plus women made in her Beverly Hills home. It was a reception Wednesday night for City Council President Pat Russell, and it was, Braun & Co.'s Judy Miller estimated, "very bipartisan." One onlooker said that Russell, never strongly identified with women's causes, was living proof that if an elected woman "just does her job, if she is respected and well-liked, women will support her." Among those who paid $100 as support--attorneys Diane Abbitt, Roberta Bennett, Lisa Specht, Cynthia Ryan, activist Marsha Kalwasser (who next month leaves the Center for Law in the Public Interest to take over as State Finance Chair for Atty. Gen. John Van de Kamp), Northrop's Lily Balian, producer Peg Yorkin, NOW's Toni Cabrillo, City Councilwomen Joy Picus and Gloria Molina, school board members Roberta Weintraub and Rita Walters and former Rep. Yvonne Burke. Mayor Tom Bradley pronounced the evening successful since he couldn't find a parking space. He said that Russell was a great ally, but that was because "I'm just bright enough to know I want to be on the same side as Pat." . . . Miller was proof in person of how far women have come. Or will go. Just back from Saudi Arabia, Miller (who consults with members of the royal family) was involved in the presentation of the King Faisal International Prizes for medicine, science and service to Islam.

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