Breanna Reeves |

Prominent African American figures from Riverside and San Bernardino Counties gathered on October 1 in the Grier Pavilion at Riverside City Hall to welcome new and emerging leaders to the Inland Empire.

Hosted by the Riverside African American Historical Society (RAAHS), the Riverside Branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, and Grier Concerned Citizens, the reception recognized and honored local leaders who have chosen Riverside and San Bernardino as communities to work and build in.

Co-host Dr. Regina Patton Stell, President NAACP Riverside Chapter, addressed the audience during the event.  (Photo by Andrew-Bryce Hudson)

Riverside Mayor Patricia Dawson greeted attendees and congratulated the leaders for “breaking barriers in their fields.”

“When you choose Riverside, Riverside chooses you,” said Mayor Dawson.

“I am thankful to be a part of this incredible community that plays a role in leading and building our next generation of leaders at UC Riverside,” said Wes Mallette, an honoree and the Interim Athletic Director at UCR.

Honorees Nicole Powell and Dr. Denise Woods pose together during the African American Leadership Event in Riverside, CA.  (Photo by Andrew-Bryce Hudson)

The event specifically spotlighted six leaders, some who have recently joined the Inland Empire community: Donesia Gause, a Riverside city clerk; Dr. Renee Hill, Superintendent of Riverside Unified School District; Dr. Denise Woods, Associate Vice Chancellor of Health, Counseling & Wellness at University of California, Riverside (UCR); Wes Mallette; Nicole Powell, Head Women’s Basketball Coach at UCR; and Daryle Williams, Dean of the College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences at UCR.

“I’ve been at a number of other institutions with more resources, financial resources, bells and whistles, but I’m telling you, I was attracted to this place because it was different. I actually see diversity in action,” said Powell, addressing the crowd. “I’m thankful to be here at UCR. I’ve never been welcomed like this anywhere…there’s been no community like this.”

Rose Mayes, Vice President of the Civil Rights Institute of Inland Southern California and President of the Board of Members at the Riverside African American Historical Society, welcomes new leaders to the Inland Empire.  (Photo by Andrew-Bryce Hudson)

Not only did the reception serve as a welcome to newcomers, but it also served as a reminder to veteran leaders in the community. NAACP Riverside Chapter President Dr. Regina Patton Stell encouraged leaders — new and old — to work with [one] another to build a stronger community for newer generations.

“You’re welcome to Riverside and I encourage you to get involved,” said Rose Mayes, Vice President of the Civil Rights Institute of Inland Southern California and President of the Board of Members at the Riverside African American Historical Society (RAAHS). “And if you can’t find anything to do, contact me.”

Breanna Reeves

Breanna Reeves is a reporter in Riverside, California, and uses data-driven reporting to cover issues that affect the lives of Black Californians. Breanna joins Black Voice News as a Report for America...

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *