After conducting a citywide search for exceptional women who live in the Southern California community, Ford Motor Company honored twenty women as Southern California Freedom's Sisters. The honorees exemplify dedication to social causes and humanitarian efforts, attributes which are celebrated by the Freedom's Sisters traveling exhibition.
The honorees are: Speaker Karen Bass, California State Assembly; Actress Holly Robinson Peete, HollyRod Foundation; Deputy City Mayor Miriam Scott Long; Entertainer Rev. Della Reese; News Anchor Pat Harvey, KCAL 9; Actress Loretta Devine; former LA County Supervisor Yvonne B. Burke; Actress Sheryl Lee Ralph, HIV/AIDS Activist; Community Activist “Sweet Alice” Harris; Denise Pines, Tavis Smiley Group; Publisher Natalie Cole, Our Weekly News; Sculptor & Painter Artis Lane; Community Activist Lillian Mobley; Captain d'Lisa Davies, LA Fire Department; Cynthia Davis, Charles Drew University of Medicine & Science; Community Activist LaWanda Hawkins, Justice For Murdered Children; Auto Advocate Glenda Gill; Rainbow PUSH Community Leader Charisse Bremond-Weaver, Brotherhood Crusade; Child Care Advocate Holly J. Mitchell; and Youth Advocate Angela B. Winston, Challengers Boys & Girls Club. The event was hosted by actress Taraji P. Henson and the keynote speaker was Myrlie Evers-Williams.
The interactive, multimedia Freedom's Sisters exhibition was launched in 2008 through funding from the Ford Motor Company Fund in partnership with the Cincinnati Museum Center and the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES). Freedom's Sisters honors 20 extraordinary African American women, from key 19th century historical figures to contemporary leaders, through their stories of courage, commitment and struggles on behalf of the rights of all Americans. The exhibition will travel to nine venues during its three year tour.
The D.I.V.A. (Divinely Inspired; Victoriously Anointed) Foundation was founded by Sheryl Lee Ralph to honor the many friends she had lost to HIV/AIDS. The website states that the foundation focuses on generating resources and coordinating activities to create awareness of and combat against HIV/AIDS. The Foundation utilizes music, entertainment, and the arts as a vehicle to raise HIV/AIDS awareness and funds, to educate people, and to help erase the stigma attached to this deadly disease.