By Alex Cordero
Do you remember how you first learned about Martin Luther King Jr.? There are people in history that we rather forget about sometimes, but MLK is not one of them. In fact his spirit, message and methods have not become outdated in today’s society but rather have risen to more prominence than ever before. People in our local communities continue to fulfill King’s legacy by striving in working fields where there are only a handful of African-Americans and are paving the way for local diversity.
Jackie Broxton is considered a pioneer in the field of fundraising for African-American women in Pasadena. She has an intensive resume of accomplishments in her career field and currently serves as the chair of the Human Relations Committee for the City of Pasadena – after six years of being a member. This year Broxton helped plan the 18th annual kick-off event to Black History month and celebration of MLK at Pasadena City Hall titled “Rekindling the Light of Peace.”
When asked about her earliest memory of MLK, Jackie shared that as a teen she viewed MLK with skeptical eyes, and that it wasn’t until she joined the workplace that she began to realize the importance of Dr. King’s way of doing things.
“When you are a teen and you’re living at home, you’re kind of living in a little bit of a bubble because you are protected by your parents. You’re not really dealing with reality in most cases, but when I went into the workplace it was a wakeup call.” Once she encountered workplace racism Broxton became more accepting of Martin Luther King’s methods. “The fact that he (King) still resonates with people speaks to the validity of his message and his methods” was Broxton’s response when asked about how MLK still impacts society today.
Jackie Broxton has a long list of achievements during her 15 year career as director of major gifts and planned giving for Hillsides, a Pasadena-headquartered charity serving almost 17,000 children and families. One of her major accomplishments involved connecting the nonprofit Everychild Foundation with Hillsides to help create a program for children transitioning from foster care to adulthood called Youth Moving On. With a $750,000 grant provided by Everychild Foundation the program was launched in 2006, and is now an all-around organization helping young adults with affordable housing, a workforce development program offering over 20 local jobs and internships. Also the organization includes a Peer Resource Center that serves more than 500 young individuals each year.
In addition, Broxton continues to serve her community by acting as Chair of the Pasadena Human Relations committee. The commission was created to help terminate prejudice, intolerance and discrimination against individuals or groups based on race, religion, national origin, sex or cultural background in the City of Pasadena. Jackie and the commission work diligently to form and encourage diversity and acceptance.
It is important to remember what Martin Luther King Jr. accomplished in his lifetime, his message that all men and women are created equal, and his nonviolent methods to attempt to end racism. It is as equally important to recognize those who continue to apply his memory and legacy by serving our local communities. Thank you Jackie Broxton for being an inspiration, and for serving the Pasadena community in a legendary fashion.