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R S V P : Honoring Those Who Help Our Littlest

November 02, 1994|HILARY JOHNSON | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Men were the honorees at the Great Beginnings for Black Babies fourth annual awards luncheon at the Los Angeles Hyatt Regency on Sunday. "It is critical that we recognize the role of African American men in supporting our families," said emcee Barbara Walden.

Honoree Herbert Carter, president and CEO of United Way of Greater Los Angeles, delivered the keynote address. The audience broke into spontaneous applause when Carter remarked: "It is refreshing to see an organization that recognizes that all African American men are not in jail."

The others recognized by the group were USC basketball coach George H. Raveling, actor Dorian Harewood, Inglewood Police Chief Oliver Thompson and Col. Clark (Bill) Robinson, president of the Los Angeles Chapter of the Tuskegee Airmen.

It was abundantly clear that African American men are a force to be reckoned with. They are also, it seems, the best-dressed demographic group in Los Angeles. Actor Dick Anthony Williams wore a black tuxedo embroidered with bright, abstract African designs, while luncheon committee chairman Ed Godineaux was swathed head to toe in orange and purple silk. The women were just as chic, whether in Chanel or traditional costume. And this was lunch. What would this crowd wear to dinner?

Great Beginnings' mission is to reduce infant mortality through community education, prenatal care and childhood immunization programs, among other activities. As actress Anna Maria Horsford put it, "We have to care for and love people who have not learned to care for themselves."

Fifteen additional awards were presented to health-care professionals, journalists and others who have contributed their time and effort to the cause.

Dr. Virginia Hunter, chairwoman of the Great Beginnings Task Force, read a letter of congratulations from Gov. Pete Wilson, and accepted commendations from the offices of Mayor Richard Riordan and Los Angeles County Supervisor Yvonne Braithwaite Burke.

When the scheduled entertainment, singer Carl Anderson, was unable to make it, Harewood gamely jumped in, accompanying himself on the piano. He was followed by singers Roy Galaway and Ramon Spice, while guests lunched on chicken and cheesecake.

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