LOS ANGELES — The spotlight was on mothers as nearly 1,500 mothers from throughout South Los Angeles were honored at a pre-Mother’s Day luncheon May 10 at the Los Angeles Convention Center.
The event was hosted by City Council President Herb Wesson and his council colleagues Curren Price and Marqueece Harris-Dawson.
The event honored mothers, grandmothers and great-grandmothers who strive each day to build strong families and who have long been committed to improving their communities.
Mistress of Ceremonies and comedienne Edwonda White said, ‘’I want to thank all of the beautiful ladies in the house. Thank you because you made a way for us.’’
“Happy Mother’s Day! It’s a pleasure to be with all of you this morning,’’ Wesson declared to the capacity crowd. “All of you look beautiful.’’
Wesson, along with Harris-Dawson and Price, then praised their wives and their mothers who were in attendance, who they acknowledged were the backbones in their personal and professional lives.
Wesson introduced his wife, Fabian Wesson, who thanked her husband for supporting her through the years. She talked about Wesson’s dedication to his district and to the Los Angeles City Council.
“He makes it possible for things to happen in this community,’’ she said. “He spends many sleepless nights thinking about ways to improve the community. This man is dedicated to his constituents 24 hours a day.’’
“This is the first time that the 8th, 9th and 10th districts have collaborated,’’ Price said. “Every chance we get we are working together.’’
Harris-Dawson, who also acknowledged the many mothers in his district, then introduced his wife, Karrie Harris-Dawson, who praised the mothers’ leadership, strength and perseverance.
Price then introduced his wife, businesswoman Del Richardson-Price, who declared of mothers, “We are soft, we are sexy, but we are made like steel and built to last. We are the backbone of America.’’
A surprise appearance by former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who is running for governor of California, caused a commotion among the attendees, who flocked around the former mayor to snap photos.
“You can see why these councilmen are so strong,” Villaraigosa said. “They have the first ladies of the 8th, 9th and 10th district in front of and behind them.”
Villaraigosa then recalled his humble upbringing.
“My mother was a domestic violence survivor,” he said. “For as long as I can remember, she rode the bus. She raised four kids on her own and put her kids through Catholic school. She believed in God, family and country.’’
Villaraigosa then praised the mothers in the crowd.
“So many of you had to climb up a mountain. You did it for your kids and your family — and that’s a beautiful thing.’’
He then touched on the importance of women’s equality and stressed unity.
“Celebrate women in the era of the ‘MeToo’ movement and celebrate women and families,” he said. “We’ve got to work across race, national and ethnic origin. Whether you’re black, white or Asian, we want to fight for a better future for our children.”
The crowd celebrated by dancing to the rhythmic sounds of the Las Mananitas mariachi band whose lead singer, Christopher Reza, a detective at the Hollenbeck Police Station in Boyle Heights, entranced the crowd with his voice.
The celebration continued with the mothers joyously forming a conga line that snaked through the Concourse ballroom while the soulful Blue Breeze Band sang a string of oldies.
Mothers, grandmothers and great-grandmothers displayed their best moves on the dance floor, which was followed by zumba and line dancing.
The mothers also visited tables in the foyer that offered brochures on an array of community resources and then were presented with long-stemmed roses at the conclusion of the event.