Black groups hold annual Gwen Moore Legislative Reception

By Antonio Ray Harvey 

Contributing Writer

SACRAMENTO — Business leaders, state officials and former and current lawmakers hathered together May 7 for the annual Gwen Moore California Legislative Reception at the Sutter Club.

The California African American Chamber of Commerce partnered with the California African American Action Fund to host the event.  

Former Assembly Speaker and San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown, 90, was the keynote speaker. Former state Sen. Roderick Wright and Timothy Alan Simon, executive director of the California African American Chamber of Commerce, served as emcees.

“The California African American Chamber of Commerce and the California African American Action Fund represent the African-American economy of the fourth largest economy of the world,” Simon said during the introduction of the event. 

During the reception, an award ceremony honored individuals for their achievements, innovative ideas, leadership, business acumen, and political contributions.

The Gwen Moore Legislative Impact Award was presented to Assemblywoman Lori Wilson, D-Suisun City, chair of the California Legislative Black Caucus. The Legislator of the Year honor went to Assemblyman Corey Jackson, D-Moreno Valley.

“This is an absolute honor,” Wilson said. “Especially, with my knowledge and familiarity with Assemblymember Moore’s work, It’s just a reminder, honor and privilege of this space I get to be in. This award holds profound significance for me and those who dedicated their lives to advancing equity, justice and opportunities for all.”

Cathy Adams, president and CEO of the Oakland African American Chamber of Commerce, was presented with the Aubry Stone Outstanding Business Award. The Trailblazer Award was presented to the late Linda Crayton, former San Francisco city commissioner.

Crayton served on the Airport Commission for the City and County of San Francisco from 1996 to 2020.

“She clearly served for almost 25 years, and she was totally sensitive to the need and careful implementation within the framework of all the rules that had been established,” Brown said of Crayton. She was a difference for many.”

Other leaders honored were John Reynolds, California Public Utilities Commission (recipient of the Distinguished Service Award); Los Angeles Councilwoman Heather Hutt, (Distinguished Service in the African American Community Award); and Thurman White, senior advisor for ESO Ventures (Distinguished Recognition Award).

The California African American Chamber of Commerce is one of the state’s largest statewide Black chamber organizations. Its mission is to drive economic opportunity and wealth creation for African-American businesses and connect and harness the collective strength of the statewide network of member organizations to elevate fiscal health.

Gwen Moore was elected to the Los Angeles Community College District Board in 1975. She was first elected to the state Legislature in 1978 and served for 16 years until 1994, representing South Los Angeles and surrounding communities.

When Brown was elected Assembly speaker, he appointed Moore the chairperson of the Assembly Committee on Utilities and Commerce. The position held legislative jurisdiction over telecommunications, electricity, private water corporations, natural gas and other issues related to exchanging goods and services between businesses.

Moore died in August 2020.

“Her job was done in such a way that when she left the halls of legislation in 1994, the public utility world reached out to get her guidance and judgment in the process of decisions that would be made,” Brown said. “That’s the nature of how we need to work in the world of politics and how we need to exercise authority and privilege.”

Antonio Ray Harvey is a reporter for California Black Media.

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