Over 700 women, faith leaders and elected officials turned out for the 25th Annual First Ladies High Tea over the weekend to celebrate the outstanding achievements of those making an impact in the community.

      Five-time Grammy-Winner, actress, and nationally syndicated radio host Yolanda Adams was feted with the Legacy Award for her contributions not only in the entertainment industry but for how she has inspired communities across the nation through her faith and philanthropic efforts. 

What made the event even more special for Adams—who was making her fourth appearance at the event, was being there at the inaugural First Ladies High Tea in 1998.

      “To see this from the first year to the 25th is absolutely amazing,” said Adams, who went on to encourage a sold out audience to stay true to their faith and God in setting out to transform their communities.

      Walmart VP Tony Waller was the recipient of the Focus Award and L.A. County Supervisor Holly Mitchell was honored with the Spirit Award for her Community Service Award which was presented to her by Mayor Karen Bass.

      Taking the stage, Bass took time out to both thank the crowd and solicit their help.

      “Let me just say that when I walked into this room, I remember being in this room twelve months ago when I was in a big fight with a whole lot of people,” Bass said. “I remember the love and the encouragement and prayers and the support I felt from everybody in this room and it helped me to get to the finish line and I just want to thank you for helping me get there. And since December 12, I have felt nothing but love and support and prayers, cause I need every single one of them because we’re getting our people off the streets…and there’s a role each one of us can play.”

      First Lady honorees Florence Boyd of First A.M.E. Church, Patricia Monroe of Redeemer Baptist Church, Pastor Thembekila Coleman-Smart of Christ Liberation Ministries, and Angel Price, Crenshaw Christian Center, were recognized for their service to the community and the work they do in their respective churches.

      Co-hosting the program were Actress Wendy Raquel Robinson (The Game, Insecure, Remember Me: The Mahalia Jackson Story) and First Lady and KBLA/Talk Radio Personality Dr. Shalonda Crawford. Others on the program or in attendance included Erica (Mary Mary) Campbell, Congressmember  Sydney Kamlager-Dove, L.A. City Councilmembers Curren Price, Heather Hutt, LADWP Chair Cynthia McClain-Hill, and Assemblywoman Tina McKinnor.

      Gospel legend Tramaine Hawkins gave a dynamic performance at the tea, and another of the afternoon’s highlights was the announcement of the winners of the L.A. Focus Annual Essay Contest. Open to girls 16-18, ten winners received monetary awards to be used to further their education. This year’s essay theme was “Faith Over Fear: Unleash Your Potential.”

      Sponsors included the County of Los Angeles, the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, the Black Leadership AIDS Crisis Coalition (BLACC), the Los Angeles Department of Water & Power, Walmart, the California Library’s Stop The Hate Initiative, L.A. Dodgers, D3 Entertainment, Sydney Kamlager-Dove, L.A. City Councilmembers Curren Price and Heather Hutt, Assemblymember Chris Holden, Mark Ridley Thomas Committee for a Better L.A.  Also supporting the event with door prizes were Target, the L.A. Clippers, and Truxton American Bistro.

      Founded in 1998, the annual afternoon tea is a red-carpet affair for the Who’s Who of women in the church and the Black community, featuring celebrity guests and community leaders—and has become an annual tradition in the faith community.  In the twenty-five years since its inception, the tea has served to inspire women to join forces and create a movement of service towards each other, the communities in which they live, and God while also providing scholarships to at-risk youth and galvanizing the faith community around critical issues that are impacting it. Past honorees include U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris, former California First Lady Maria Shriver, Oscar Nominee Cicely Tyson, Dr. Betty Price, Actress/choreographer Debbie Allen, Shirley Caesar, renowned vocalist Nancy Wilson, gospel recording duo Mary Mary, California First Partner Jennifer Siebel-Newsom and actor/activist Hill Harper.