Caltech professor Dr. J. Morgan Kousser was keynote speaker as well as the honoree in the education category. Willis Meeks, who served as manager of JPL’s Ulysses mission and was the first African-American flight project manager, received the Pasadena branch’s highest honor, the Ruby McKnight Williams Award.
Other honorees included Rev. John B. Bledsoe of Zion Star Baptist Church; educator Patricia Guzman; Singpoli CEO Kin Hui; former NFL football star Ricky Ervins; state Sen. Anthony Portantino; and entrepreneur Ishamael Trone.
Additionally, three youth awards were given to three high school students who participated in the NAACP National Afro-Academic, Cultural, Technological and Scientific Olympics (ACTSO) competition won medals. Faith Earley won a gold medal for original essay, Lauryn Higginson earned a silver medal for microbiology and Kalina Jenkins Gittens took bronze for photography.
Tommy McMullins and Juanita West Tillman chaired the event, Brad Ratliff was the honorary chair, and Andre Coleman served as emcee. Delano Yarbrough is the NAACP chapter president.