By Shirley Hawkins
BALDIN HILLS — City Council members Marqueece Harris-Dawson and Heather Hutt collaborated on a pre-Mother’s Day luncheon May 11 at the Baldwin Hills/Crenshaw Plaza for nearly 500 mothers.
A large white tent was erected on the parking lot of the plaza where Harris-Dawson and Hutt greeted and thanked the ladies for being staunch and supportive mothers of the community.
Korean dancers from the Lee Young Nam Dance Company performed in red, blue and gold satin ceremonial robes, entertaining the crowd with several traditional dances which was followed by a Korean drumming exhibition.
That was followed by mariachi music as Chris Meza and the Los Salvadores Mariachi Band sang a medley of Latin songs. Meza, a detective with the Los Angeles Police Department, serenaded the ladies and posed for photographs afterwards.
“This is my fifth time performing at this Mother’s Day event,” he said, thanking the council members for inviting him back once more.
“I’m honored to be with you today. Thank you for being here,” said Hutt, addressing the audience. I’m a single mother who raised three sons in Los Angeles by myself except for help from my family.
She acknowledged the mother of her council colleague Harris-Dawson.
“There’s an amazing woman who raised an amazing son,” she said.
“This is really a time to celebrate moms,” Hutt added. “Today is a special and unique opportunity to celebrate motherhood and all of its challenges. We know it isn’t easy raising kids and understanding all of the challenges that it takes. Let’s just take a second to thank the Lord that we don’t look like what we’ve been through. To all of you mothers, Happy Mother’s Day.”
“We just want to thank everybody for being a part of this big celebration,” said Harris-Dawson as he took the mic. “It’s one of the high points of the year because we get the sacred opportunity to acknowledge the mothers — the women who wake up every morning and their first thought is about making things better and liveable for everybody else.
“And they do the work during the day and they go to bed thinking about how to make things better tomorrow, and the next week and the next year and so on and so forth for all of us. And so we are very, very grateful to all of you and this is our opportunity to say thank you.
Surveying the crowd, he added, “We should have a hat contest next year because I see some bad hats.”
The afternoon continued with a lunch featuring chicken cordon bleu, prime rib, string beans and rice pilaf, complimented with glasses of ice tea.
After that, it was time for more music, wiuth the Intruders’ classic “I’ll Always Love My Mama,” and the Blues Breeze Band with a variety of nostalgic dance tunes, including “24 K Magic” “Let’s Groove,” “This is How We Do It,” “Dancing in September,” “Kiss,” “Down Home Blues,” “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg,” “Proud Mary” and “Candy.”
Next, the J and J Soulful Steppers, dressed in purple and gold T-shirts and led by instructor Jackie Rice, taught the ladies some exercise moves as Whitney Houston’s “I’m Every Woman” filled the air.
Rice urged the attendees to join the Soulful Steppers every Monday afternoon from 4:30 to 5:45 p.m. at the Macy’s bridge where they stretch, dance and exercise.
Rice reminded the women that it is important to exercise regularly.
“You are not only exercising your body, you are exercising your mind,” she said.
Also making exercise moves were the J and P Kick and Step, a troupe of ladies that got the crowd moving with their country and western dancing.
As the luncheon came to a close and mothers slowly filed out of the tent, each of the mothers received bright pink gift bags with long-stemmed pink roses.
Shirley Hawkins is a freelance reporter for Wave Newspapers. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.