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Honoring Woodie Rucker-Hughes, Citizen of the Year

Waudier "Woodie" Rucker-Hughes accepts the Chamber's Citizen of the Year Award from Chairman Bob Stockton and past Citizen of the Year honoree Nick Goldware. Photo credit: Michael Elderman.

Waudier “Woodie” Rucker-Hughes accepts the Chamber’s Citizen of the Year Award from Chairman Bob Stockton and past Citizen of the Year honoree Nick Goldware. Photo credit: Michael Elderman.

By Dr. Paulette Brown-Hinds

She has spent her adult life as an advocate for “the least, the lost, and the last.” She is a champion for social justice. For many she is a beacon of hope, serving simultaneously as a guide, an access point, a connector between what is plausible and what is possible. And last week, as the Greater Riverside Chambers of Commerce honored her as Citizen of the Year, I joined hundreds of our fellow citizens in tribute to Waudier Rucker-Hughes, known affectionately to most of us simply as “Woodie.”

Woodie is a problem solver. She’s one of the few people I can call with a difficult issue and know she will find a resolution. She never says “no I can’t…” Probably because she grew-up hearing the phrase, “can’t is a lazy animal that doesn’t try,” an adage her parents regularly repeated during her formative years. Many of her parents’ beliefs have been “indelibly imprinted” on her brain, “Your attitude about life will determine how far you get in this life.” Those beliefs inspired her and in turn she uses them to inspire others.

As the longtime president of the Riverside Branch of the NAACP and an advocate for homeless and foster youth with the Riverside Unified School District, the work she does on behalf of others is more than just a job. Like her hero Martin Luther King, Jr. she has the drum major instinct. She is a model of love, moral excellence, and generosity. In his address to the Southern Christian Leadership Conference in 1967, Dr. King outlined those attributes:

“We all have the drum major instinct. We all want to be important, to surpass others, to achieve distinction, to lead the parade…and the great issue of life is to harness the drum major instinct. It is a good instinct if you don’t distort it and pervert it. Don’t give it up. Keep feeling the need for being important. Keep feeling the need for being first. But I want you to be the first in love. I want you to be the first in moral excellence. I want you to be the first in generosity.”

A citizen. A beacon. A drum major. A remarkable woman and community leader. Woodie earns the “citizen of the year” moniker every year through her giving spirit, her love for others, and her understanding that excellence is not a skill, it is an attitude, which is another lesson she learned from her parents:

“Good…Better…Best…Never Let Them Rest…Until Your Good Becomes Better…And Your Better Becomes Best!”

BLU Educational Foundation Celebrates Women’s History Month with Community Screening of The Souls of Black Girls

12439475_10207677315524057_786252418691391277_nSAN BERNARDINO, CA- BLU Educational Foundation (BLU) is inviting the community to join them as they celebrate Women’s History Month with a neighborhood screening of the award-winning provocative news documentary, The Souls of Black Girls The screening, which will be held Thursday, March 24 is free to attend and will include a post-screening panel discussion with thought leaders from the Inland Empire Region.

Produced by rising filmmaker Daphne Valerius, the documentary raises the question of whether or not women of color may be suffering from a self-image disorder as a result of trying to attain the standards of beauty that are celebrated in media images. The candid piece features interviews with young women discussing their self-image as well as social commentary from Rapper/Political Activist Chuck D, Actresses Regina King and Jada Pinkett Smith, PBS Washington Week Moderator Gwen Ifill and Cultural Critic Michaela Angela Davis, among others.

The screening will be held in the Library Viewing Room of San Bernardino Valley College located at 701 South Mt. Vernon Ave. A pre-screening reception featuring spoken-word performances given by students who work closely with Dina Walker, founder of BLU, will begin at 5:40 p.m. The screening will start at 6 p.m. Seating is limited.  Reservations may be secured online at Eventbrite. Questions about the screening may be directed to OneNation Media Services at (909) 657.0578.

New Hope Missionary Baptist Church Holds Annual Spring Revival

SAN BERNARDINO, CA- On Tuesday, April 5 to Thursday, April 7 at 7 p.m., New Hope Baptist Church will be holding its annual spring revival. The theme this year is entitled, “God’s Called, God’s Sent and God’s Righteous(ness).-Isaiah 6:8 and Romans 10:9-15.”

Dr Jerry M. Carter, Jr., Pastor of Calvary Baptist Church in Morristown, New Jersey, will be the guest evangelist. Guest lecturers include: Dr Warren Stewart, Pastor of First Institutional Baptist Church in Phoenix, AZ and Dr. Frederick Fairley, SR., Pastor of Berean Bible Church, in Phoenix, AZ. This will be a revival you will want to come and invite your neighbors and friends. Let their prayers during their 21-day fast be for a spirit-field, renewing and restoring, worship service each night of our revival.

The public is invited. The church is located at 1575 W. 17th Street in San Bernardino. Please call (909) 887-2526.