In Memoriam–Two of our town’s beloved and late activists and community leaders, Lu and Jorja (English) Palmer, will be honored at a memorial tribute on Saturday, 4 p.m., during a dedication ceremony hosted by Chicago Black United Communities a

In Memoriam–Two of our town’s beloved and late activists and community leaders, Lu and Jorja (English) Palmer, will be honored at a memorial tribute on Saturday, 4 p.m., during a dedication ceremony hosted by Chicago Black United Communities at its headquarters, 330 E. 37th St. A reception and awards presentation will follow at the Parkway Ballroom, 4445 S. King Dr. Both events are free and open to the public. CBUC, currently chaired by Eddie S. Read, is dedicated and committed to working for substantive change in the social, economic and political arenas. Since its founding in 1980, the organization brought about the election of the first Black president of the Chicago School Board, launched the first good government and political education courses in Chicago and created the movement that lead to Harold Washington being elected Chicago’s first African American mayor.

The Palmers, best known as founders of CBUC and the Black Independent Political Organization (BIPO), also served in many other capacities. Jorja was involved in several civic community and political organizations, worked with leaders across the country to advance a positive and progressive agenda for all people, with a special focus on issues concerning the Black community, Read said. On Oct. 22, 1982, she founded and established the Stanford English Home for Boys, the first group home for African American children in Illinois, which was named for her autistic son, Stanford English.

Pioneering advocacy journalist Lu Palmer, the principal founder of CBUC and BIPO, also served as chair of the board of directors of United Services of Chicago, Inc., a position he held from Sept. 3, 1991 until his death on Sept. 12, 2004. USOC is a community-based organization that recruits, screens, trains and places Blacks and other minorities, including women, in employment in a wide range of industries.

In addition, he served as host of WVON’s popular On Target program for a number of years. In 1987, the street where his organizations were headquartered was renamed in his honor as Lu Palmer Place. Of his legacy of helping the disenfranchised, the veteran journalist once said: “The reality is that those who fall into the category of the committee are relatively few. But it takes the few to teach and injected into the serum of determination so that when the 21st century dawns, Africans in America will be alive and strong and storming the doors that lead to freedom.”

Folks from across the state are expected to attend Saturday’s event where a special plaque featuring Lu’s trademark slogan, “It’s enough to make a Negro turn Black,” will be unveiled.

Birthday Bash–When it comes to giving, Juanita and Haymon Passmore sure know how to do it – and do it well! At their combined March birthday celebration at The Parrot Cage Restaurant, a lovely and intimate up-scale eatery nestled in the historic South Shore Cultural Center, each dinner guest had an opportunity to submit their favorite non-profit charity in a raffle for two $1,000 contributions from the Passmores.

After a delicious gourmet lunch and several brief impromptu tributes to the birthday duo, Juanita offered capsulated remarks on how each guest had touched and impacted she and Haymon’s lives. Among the 40 or so guests was Clarence Simpson, who escorted Juanita to her Englewood High School prom at the Parkway Ballroom back in 1945. The afternoon came to a colorful finale when the restaurant’s wait staff paraded the room with individual birthday cakes topped with glittering sparkles. Happy b’day, you two!

Congratulations–to Henry L. English, the driving force behind the good works of the Black United Fund of Illinois, who will be the Milton Davis Magic Award honoree when the Board of Directors of eta Creative Arts Foundation hosts its annual Spring Board Benefit, “Participate in the Magic XXV,” April 13, 4 p.m.- 8 p.m. at eta Square, 7558 S. South Chicago Ave. Benefit co-chairs are Shelley A. Davis and Atty. Roderick Sawyer. The tax-deductible contribution is $55 with proceeds going toward eta’s operating expenses. For tickets and other info, call (773) 752-3955 or visit

The Milton Davis Magic Award, named in memory of eta’s first and long-term board chair, is given each year to an individual who embodies the true magic of the theatre and the spirit of Milton Davis. The afternoon soiree will feature a delicious buffet catered by Melon Express, wine compliments of The Northern Trust Company, door prizes, and live entertainment by a number of eta artists. All benefit tickets come with three raffle tickets for valuable prizes including coach class tickets for two to anywhere United Airlines flies in the 48 contiguous states, cash prizes ($500 and $250), and 38 subscriptions to eta’s 2008-2009 Mainstage season. Co-founder, president and CEO of BUFI, an organization that promotes Black philanthropy, English is committed to economic empowerment of the African American community.

With over 26 years of experience in diversified management in health care, education and fund development fields, this community activist is co-chair of the committee that is overseeing the transformation of South Shore High School into a school of small schools. He was also instrumental in The Coalition to Save the South Shore Country Club, which helped to transform the facility into the South Shore Cultural Center. Eta was incorporated in April 1971 as a non-profit, tax-exempt organization to provide professional training and work in the performing and technical arts for youth and adults. In the past 37 years, it has become widely recognized as Chicago’s leading performing and cultural arts complex in the African American community, as well as the only African American-owned and managed facility of its kind in the city. Eta has a commitment to the production of new works and the development of the individual artist.

Women’s Work–Pastor Elaine Graham, of God’s Word Christian Center out in south suburban Calumet City, will speak to the theme “Women Giving Our Best in Service of the Lord,” April 20, 10:45 a.m., during the Annual Women’s Day Celebration at Mount Eagle Baptist Church, 4559 S. St. Lawrence — scriptural reference: I shall be fresh oil – Psalms 92:10. Spearheading the eagerly awaited event are Gina Haley, chair, and Marcella Herbert Allen Johnson, co-chair. Elder Osmond Hooks Sr. is pastor.

In Print – Tall, tan Roxanne Atkins, who manages public relations for Gibsons Restaurant Group, is featured in the current issue of “Today’s Chicago Woman mag,” in fashions from Intermix – a $980 Herve Leger grey dress, a $158 white and coral LaRok butterfly dress and a $275 Theory blue dress. The photo spread: Cool Women, Hot Boutiques . . . And in TCW’s “The Last Word,” the very politically astute Valerie Jarrett, president/CEO of The Habitat Co., and a Chicago Defender “Woman of Excellence” is profiled.

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