Monday, December 12, 2005

Berkeley Honors Maudelle Shirek


At 94, Maudelle is still a great and influential member of the Berkeley community. I am honored to know her. This great article from the Oakland Tribune by William Brand says it all.
BERKELEY — In the two decades Maudelle Shirek served on the Berkeley City Council, she never forgot the hard years during the Great Depression and she never hesitated to speak out for social justice and for what she believed was right.

Now 94 and in frail health, her many Berkeley friends and supporters filled St. Paul AME Church on Saturday evening to salute Shirek and celebrate her long service to Berkeley's progressive politics.

When Shirek arrived, looking cool in sunglasses with bright blue frames, a wool suit and beret, the crowd stood and began shouting, "Maudelle! Maudelle!"

The event, a benefit for the Maudelle Shirek Scholarship Fund for deserving South Berkeley young people, drew at least 400 and a long line of officials, including Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Oakland, state Assembly member Loni Hancock,

D-Berkeley, Alameda County Supervisor Keith Carson, Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates and several present and former councilmembers.

Meanwhile, the Berkeley City Council in a unanimous vote has decided to rename Old City Hall in honor of Shirek.

"Maudelle always had her priorities right," said Hancock, who served as Berkeley's mayor while Shirek was in office. "She was always a fighter for what she believed was right."

Hancock's husband, Tom Bates, said Shirek made a great contribution to the city. "It's absolutely fitting that the community honor her."

To read the rest of the article... click here.