|Our special guest for October 2014 was volunteer and community advocate, Ms. Betty J. Ford, lovingly referred to as “The Rosa Parks of Pasadena.” Ms. Ford read the book, “I Love My Hair.” She also coordinated a poetry presentation with Alicia Leilani who dressed up as a Hawaiian princess.
Ms. Ford was born in Omaho, Nebraska and attended elementary school in Corpos Christi, Texas. A child prodigy, she played music for an 80-member church choir at 9 years old.
She has been asked to write poetry for the past nine years for the Dr. Martin Luther King Celebration held in the city of West Covina, sponsored by the San Gabriel Valley NAACP and the city of West Covina. After the death of Rosa Parks in October 2005, Ms. Ford was asked to prepare a special poem about Rosa Parks, “A Symphony of Love,” for the King Celebration 2006. Upon the Passing of Coretta Scott King, Ms. Ford wrote a poem entitled, “Life in Heaven,” and mailed it to the King family. The family sent her a thank you in the form of a copy of their most recent family photo with Scott King in the photo.
In 2007, Ms. Ford wrote a poem for the Iraqi troops entitled, “A Psalm for Our Troops” and sent it along with care packages of toothbrushes and handmade get well and encouragement cards. One of the soldiers sent her a thank you letter on behalf of his team and included a $250 dinars bill.
Periodically, Ms. Ford is asked to give poetry symposiums to small community groups and to schools in the San Gabriel Valley areas. She trains students to create and assists them in getting them published in community newspapers.
Ms. Ford belongs to the National Association of Negro Musicians, meeting each Saturday at the Altadena Library. She also belongs to both the Altadena and Pasadena branches of the NAACP, as well as the Altadena Senior Center.