The first African-American president hopes diversity will continue within the 935-member organization
By Terry Miller
Next Thursday, Aug. 16 the Pasadena Community Coalition in partnership with the Armenian Community Coalition, the League of United Latin American Citizens, and others will celebrate the diversity of the new President of the Tournament of Roses, who will be the very first African-American to hold the coveted title.
For many years, the Tournament of Roses has been considered, by some in the Pasadena community, a rather exclusive club which paid little or no attention to diversity in the executive branch.
After public pressure and many meetings with several groups, the Tournament hired Terrence Roberts Consulting to help them address complaints from various public and private individuals, organizations, corporations, and municipalities that they were essentially a “whites only” organization. The efforts paid off enormously and over the past few years the Tournament has been proactive in seeking minorities to fill vacancies.
Enter Pasadena Tournament of Roses® Board of Directors who wisely confirmed a remarkable man, Gerald Freeny, as president for the 2018-2019 Tournament of Roses year. Freeny just happens to be the very first African-America to hold the coveted position.
We asked President Freeny – about the very obvious tip-of-the-hat to jazz in the coming Rose Parade 2019 – would it be safe to say that a musician, perhaps a famous musician, may be next year’s Grand Marshal? “Please, can you give us a hint?” Laughing, Freeny politely declined to answer the question. Oh well, can’t blame us for trying.
For a 30 minute videotaped interview of Gerald Freeny, please see: “The Melodic Life of Tournament of Roses President Gerald Freeny.”
Details of the event are listed below:
- Thursday, Aug. 16
- 5:30 – 7:30 p.m.
- Tournament House
- 391 S. Orange Grove Blvd., Pasadena, CA 91184
- Limited space is available; please RSVP by Aug. 8 to Pasadena Community Coalition at firstname.lastname@example.org or (626) 437-3509.
- Complimentary shuttles: Pick up at 5 p.m. from Jackie Robinson Community Center, 1020 N. Fair Oaks Ave., Pasadena, CA 91103, and Villa Parke Community Center, 363 E. Villa St., Pasadena, CA 91101.
- Shuttles will return at 7:30 p.m.