Special Soiree – Chicago pals of Atlanta’s social, cultural, media and civil rights icon, Xernona Clayton, will have a gathering in the Crystal Ballroom of the Hyatt Regency Chicago this Wednesday for “An Evening with Xernona,” presented by Susan G. Komen for the Cure in association with the Xernona Clayton Foundation.
The “by invitation only” event gets underway with a pre-reception at 6:30 p.m. followed by the program and a post reception hosted by the Chicago Cluster Chapter presidents of The Links Inc.: Margaret Jackson, Chicago; Regina Elaine Grimes, Harbor Lites; Barbara Young, Hoffman Estates; Vicki Brooks, Lake Shore; Marsha Belcher, North Shore; Monica Allen, Windy City; Arlene Burke, South Suburban, and Jo Foster Murray, West Towns.
The evening’s hosts are Michael Ziener, Chicago’s executive director of Susan G. Komen for the Cure, and Alma L. Dodd, The Links’ national program coordinator. And among honorary chairs: Dr. Gwendolyn B. Lee, The Links’ national president, Ralph Hughes, Michael House, LaRue Martin Jr., the Rev. Michael Pfleger, the Rev. Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr., the Rev. Willie Taplin Barrow, Don Jackson, Julieanna Richardson, the Rev. Al Sampson, the Rev. Jesse Jackson, Merri Dee, Dr. Monica Peak, Sylvia Flanagan, Dr. Olufunmilayo Olopade, Dr. Monica Peak and others.
The event’s guest of honor serves as a National Ambassador of the Circle of Promise, a movement to educate, empower and mobilize the African-American community in the fight against breast cancer. Through this effort, the campaign hopes to rewrite the story on African-American women and breast cancer by decreasing the mortality rate, which is 36 percent higher than for white women.
The Circle of Promise, dedicated to reaching communities at home and abroad, has joined forces with Essence, Ford Motor Co., General Mills and The Links to recruit 100,000 African-American women to join the Circle of Promise and serve as local ambassadors within their communities. To join, visit www.circleofpromise.org.
Clayton, founder, president and CEO of the Trumpet Awards Foundation, Inc., is creator and executive producer of the foundation’s Trumpet Awards, a prestigious event highlighting African-American accomplishments and contributions. Initiated in 1993 by Turner Broadcasting, the Trumpet Awards have been televised annually and distributed internationally to over 185 countries.
Clayton began her television career in ‘67 and became the South’s first Black to have her own television show. The Xernona Clayton show was a regular feature on Atlanta’s CBS affiliate. She was employed at Turner Broadcasting for nearly 30 years. In 1988, she was appointed corporate vice president for Urban Affairs and directed internal and external projects for the corporation and served as liaison between Turner Broadcasting (TBS SuperStation, CNN, Headline News, TNT, Atlanta Braves and Atlanta Hawks) and civic groups in Atlanta and across the country. As a corporate executive, she was one of the highest-ranking female employees in Turner Broadcasting System.
She came to Atlanta in 1965 and accepted a position with the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and worked closely with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. She traveled extensively with Coretta Scott King on her nationwide concert tours. Her persistent fight against the dragons of prejudice and bigotry was never more apparent than in 1968 when the Grand Dragon of the Ku Klux Klan denounced the Klan and credited Clayton’s influence with his change.
A recipient of numerous media awards, she’s been widely honored for her contributions to humanity and is included in various editions of several impressive biographical publications. The Peaceful Warrior, a biography of Dr. King authored by her late husband, Ed Clayton, and co-authored by Xernona in the revised editions, has been published in several languages. Her autobiography, I’ve Been Marching All the Time, was published in 1991. She is married to Judge Paul L. Brady and is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority.
Congrats – to Julian Cook, a senior at Jones College Prep high school who has been named one of only 20 National Presidential Scholars in the Arts, and as part of the program will be performing in Washington, D.C. in June. Julian, with a wonderful, resonant baritone voice, has studied opera and classical art song for the last four years at Jones, with Gaye Klopack, his voice teacher. In February, he placed second in auditions sponsored by the Chicago Chapter of the National Association of Teachers of Singing at Northeastern Illinois University and was awarded first place honors in a Classical Singer Magazine’s scholarship contest.
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