HOLLYWOOD — The Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino was the venue Friday for the 7th Annual Broward Black Elected Officials, Inc. (BBEO) gala ball. With the night’s theme “No Dream Deferred,” the event welcomed an array of Broward and Miami-Dade elected officials, notable professionals, entertainers, entrepreneurial trailblazers, family members and friends.
9Among the elected officials in attendance were BBEO Chairman and West Park Mayor Eric Jones, BBEO Vice Chairman and Broward County Commissioner Dale Holness, Lauderhill City Commissioners Howard Berger and Ken Thurston, State Rep. Hazelle Rogers and Broward Circuit Court Judge Illona Holms.
The atmosphere encouraged mingling and networking. Many professionals utilized the opportunity to acquaint and/or rekindle important relationships.
As the guests filled the tastefully decorated ballroom, it was clear that a silent couture fashion show was in session. The women dazzled in beautiful gowns and dresses, and the men appealed in a selection of well-tailored suits.
Among the elite fashions sashayed was Congresswoman Frederica Wilson in her signature piece, an elaborate pink hat. Broward County Commissioner Barbara Sharief wore a riveting black sequined pantsuit. Equally sensationally attired was actress Loretta Devine in a blue gown.
With the stage occupied by an array of African-American, Caribbean-native and white officials, the evening commenced with prayer by Jones, also senior pastor at Koinonia Worship Center & Village in Pembroke Park. Throughout the night radio personality Tamara Gee and event coordinator Roy Campbell smartly engaged in tag-team hosting which produced great excitement.
The evening continued with a thoughtful tribute: The Star Spangled Banner, appropriately recorded by the late Whitney Houston.
Rep. Wilson graced the podium and delivered a special acknowledgement of BBEO’s purpose and mandate, and the importance of empowering our youth.
“They are our future,” said Wilson, “and truly we can now say, ‘You can be anything you desire, even president of the United States’.” In a contrast with past controversies concerning how scholarship donations had been used by some former BBEO officials, her delivery ignited scores of ovations.
Broward County Supervisor of Elections Brenda Snipes was in attendance and especially acknowledged by Rep. Wilson. Not present due to a last-minute journalistic obligation was political strategist and CNN analyst Donna Brazile, the gala’s intended special guest. Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee addressed the audience on Brazile’s behalf by way of video, her speech echoing the organization’s aim to empower the community through education and other effective resources.
During an awards ceremony, accolades were bestowed upon community, political, corporate and national leaders. Among the honorees were actress Loretta Devine, Marcia Barry Smith of Bank Atlantic, Miami Gardens Mayor Shirley Gibson and state Rep. Perry E. Thurston Jr.
The excitement continued as Devine moved the guests with an a capella rendition of I Believe in You and Me, also famously sung by Whitney Houston, and indicated as a dedication to the legend and other friends who have recently passed away.
The event concluded on an uplifting commitment to continue to fight for justice and equality for all. Several BBEO board members such as Mayor Jones emphasized the mission of BBEO to “support and maintain an organization from which to launch and substain a collective strength to improve the greater community of Broward County, Florida.”
Photo: BBEO Chairman and West Park Mayor Eric Jones