On February 16th, 2018, in the heart of Oakland, the Men of Monarch Lodge #73 and local members of the community gathered together to celebrate Black History Month by opening the doors to the public for a night designed for a celebration of Black History, community involvement, and Bay Area unification.
The first keynote speaker was the 1st African American Mayor of San Francisco, CA Willie Brown Jr. followed by the current Mayor of Oakland, CA Libby Schaaf.
Both Mayors gave remarkable and spirited addresses to the crowd of Eastern Stars, Prince Hall Masons, and Oakland residents. People sat in awe as they listened closely to the reinvigorating speeches that united the community and created an electric atmosphere similar to the cultural renaissance Oakland has been experiencing since being crowned the “Most exciting city in America” back in 2013. Monarch’s steadfast commitment to the eradication of homelessness and charitable works were right in line with Mayor Libby Schaaf’s agenda to find new ways to battle the cities poverty-stricken residents with new opportunities and resources. It was former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown Jr. however, who’s personal affiliation to the institution of Prince Hall Free and Accepted Masonry, that delivered a speech reminiscent of many powerful speeches that catapulted him to become the 1st African American Mayor of California’s Technological capital. Following their remarks, both Mayors were presented with an award from the Worshipful Master of Monarch Lodge #73 for their ongoing contributions to the Bay Area.
The remaining half of the evening was filled with entertainment and black excellence. Altenier Cook, the leader of Hoover Durant Library Initiative, a movement to bring a library to West Oakland, gave a speech and thanked Monarch Lodge #73 for supporting this much-needed resource. Next up was a live band performance native to the Bay Area, No Water After Midnight, performing covers of iconic African American artist such as Prince and Michael Jackson, the night turned into a true jam session.
A step-show from members of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc. Upsilon and Xi Rho Fraternal Chapters from the University of San Francisco and San Francisco State University closed out the historic night. The evening concluded with the presentation of the Annual Plumb Line Award to Cedrick Soso preceding closing remarks from the Worshipful Master Hayden Williams III. Best Selling Children’s Book Author Bolaji Ajayi of the Akiti The Hunter Series, the first African Animated Children’s Book Superhero, also presented her book to the Mayors as a gift.