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Rochester Genesee Valley Club Celebrates 60th Anniversary, Honors Rochester Citizens

By Tracie Isaac –


Catherine Thomas

Catherine Thomas

The Rochester Genesee Valley Club of the National Association of Negro Business and Professional Women’s Clubs Inc. (NANBPWC Inc.) will honor four Rochester citizens at their 60th Anniversary Founder’s Day and Scholarship Gala on Saturday, June 23, at the Joseph A. Floreano Rochester Riverside Convention Center.

Attendees will enter a legacy reception hosted by NANBPWC featuring historical archives and local entrepreneur product exhibits, followed by a sumptuous dinner, award presentations, entertainment, and dancing.

The festivities will take place from 5:30 p.m. to 11 p.m.

For over 60 years, the national chapter of the organization has directed local clubs has been to annually recognize the shoulders on which they stand, and the role and responsibility each club has to prepare our young people for the future.

NANBPWC will also present awards from local clubs like RGVC during its Founder’s Day celebration, to recognize citizens for outstanding contributions to the community in which they live, and to present the Sojourner Truth Award to an outstanding African-American woman.

RGVC has also contributed to the city of Rochester with initiatives under the categories of Leadership, Entrepreneurship, Technology and Service, fondly known as LET’S, for youth and seniors, as well as internationally, by developing individual forums, volunteer support, sharing professional and expert advice through speaking engagements, mentoring and providing platforms for entrepreneurs.

Since 1961, the organization has provided approximately $100,000 in scholarship funds to college-bound young women and men.

This year’s honorees will receive awards and recognition as follows:

Trinity Wilson – Scholarship Recipient

Brighton High School graduate, Class of 2018; attending Xavier University, majoring in Neuroscience while following the Pre-Med Track. Currently she is participating in an internship program at Rochester General Hospital. Wilson’s future desire is to work in a Tier 1 Trauma center at Strong Memorial Hospital.

Delores Jackson Radney – Sojourner Truth Meritorious Service Award

Actor/Director/Art Historian/Community Educator/Curator is the founding partner of Kuumba Consultants, an arts in education agency which has been providing arts and cultural programming for schools and community organizations throughout the region since 2004. In addition, for the past 25 years, Delores Jackson Radney has also been the chairperson of the Rochester Kwanzaa Coalition that produces the six-day community-wide Kwanzaa Celebration. Ms. Jackson Radney has also created and produced Our Stories Ourselves: 19th Century Afro Rochester, which is an interactive learning resource for school and community learning. The learning resource includes videotape, musical CD, a photo album, and slides of paintings to teach about Rochester’s role in the African-American freedom movement of the 19th century. Our Stories Ourselves is now a permanent part of school resources, and is in all RCSD school libraries.

Catherine Thomas – Community Service Award

Thomas is a community advocate who currently serves on a number of committees, boards and organizations that address women’s leadership, young women’s development and mentoring, healthcare, poverty and empowerment issues. She aspires to leave a legacy surrounding the importance of giving back to your community, family and those who are less fortunate.

Man of the Year:  This category recognizes multigenerational men

Pastor Roger L. Breedlove – Man of the Year

Roger Breedlove is the pastor, teacher, and founder of In Christ New Hope Ministry Inc., in Rochester, NY.  Pastor Breedlove teaches the incorruptible Word of God with passion and love for the Gospel and the people of God. He is also an active member of the City of Rochester’s “Clergy on Patrol Initiative,” which has been implemented by Mayor Lovely Warren. The pastor is also an active supporter of Project Exile, an advisory board that meets to share information and improve communications among those who are waging the battles against illegal guns and drugs in our community. And, since 2017, Pastor Breedlove and other ministerial staff, at In Christ have been involved in the Wilson Foundation Young Men’s Group. They meet with boys that are in the 2nd, 3rd and 8th grades to engage them in an open discussion about becoming productive citizens within their home, school and community.

JaMone Alexander – Man of the Year

A pillar of Rochester’s south west community, Alexander provides opportunities and services for youth, adults, seniors and families within the community. He’s been serving the community for 18 years. “I’ve been committed to the plight of individuals regardless of race, class, gender, or sexual orientation,” he stated. “I pride myself on the progress and success of people, and the role I play within the community confirms it. As the current executive director of the Southwest Area Neighborhood Association Inc. (SWAN), it’s my responsibility to provide proper programming and services to those individuals in need of support. “

Many notable speakers, public figures and national icons have supported and participated in this organization’s celebration in the past.

During the 1969 Founder’s Day celebration, The Honorable Shirley Anita Chisholm, the first African American to run for president, presented the keynote address.

And, since then, RGVC has networked and built alliances with many national organizations, like the National Council of Negro Women Inc., which was founded by Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune, and led for more than 50 years by the iconic Dr. Dorothy Height.

Throughout the year, club members also support local community issues and initiatives, while assessing the work of those committed to helping our community above and beyond their paid jobs and professions. Each year, a selection of women and men are recognized by the RGVC as leaders in the roles of Business Woman, Man of the Year, Community Service and the highest honor of the national organization, The Sojourner Truth National Meritorious Service Award.

The Sojourner Truth award is given to women around the country for recognition of their continued pursuit to stand up for civil rights, social justice and women’s rights.

NANBPWC was conceived in 1928, and incorporated in 1935 as a national organization.

The aim of this newly-formed national organization was then, as it is today, to attract women of high caliber to organize similar clubs within their communities. Facing the realities of the times, their daring and inspiring goals were to share their experiences and exchange information; to protect their interest; and to encourage and develop opportunities for black women in businesses and professions.

The founders of the organization were business owners, managers, college graduates and other professionally-licensed women who managed to realize some measure of personal success, at a time when there was not a national movement to improve the lot of African Americans; where there was no black capitalism program, nor any black studies curricula.

As a result, Sojourner Truth is the national matriarch of the organization.

The Rochester Club of the NANBPWC, Inc. was organized in 1958; the Genesee Valley Club was organized in 1963.

In 1977, the two clubs merged, and have been chartered as the Rochester Genesee Valley Club of NANBPWC, Inc. ever since.

Today, the national mission of NANBPWC is to promote and protect the interests of African-American business and professional women; to serve as advocates for young people seeking to enter business and the professions; and to improve the quality of life in our local and global communities.

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