By Mike Kinney
Four Richmond organizers known for striving to better the lives of local residents were honored at the inaugural “Salute2Kindness” gala, held Saturday in the historic Art-Deco Empress Theatre in Vallejo.
Among the 13 individuals recognized at the Salute2Kindness gala Saturday were Richmond community advocates Jerrold Hatchett, Antwon Cloird, Gonzalo Rucobo and Rodney Alamo Brown. The gala acknowledged and praised individuals, organizations, businesses and veterans for their acts of kindness. The organization is co-founded by Reggie Simmons, Ralph Montejo and Lynn Odrick, who plan to open the Salute2Kindess National Museum in Richmond in summer 2022 to memorialize honorees.
Hatchett is known as “The Godfather” of Richmond due to his 50 years of community service. He retired recently as Sims Metals Northern California’s communications director. Over the years he’s supported numerous local nonprofits and community events.
Richmond-raised Cloird is a consistent presence at community events, many of which he helps to organize. He founded the Men and Women of Purpose, a nonprofit provides services to the re-entry population returning to Richmond and Contra Costa County. Eighteen years sober, Cloird has dedicated his life to giving underserved community members “a second chance at a first-class life.”
Rucobo has more than three decades of local community service under his belt. Among his many efforts: In 2005, he founded the Bay Area Peacekeepers (BAP), an anti-violence program that provides programming to youth in partnership with the West Contra Costa Unified School District. “It’s a labor of love in my heart doing community service,” Rucobo says. “I want justice and peace in our communities.”
Brown was raised in Richmond, became a rapper and record-label founder at an early age, and later an author. He is widely known as founder of the popular ‘Soulful Softball Sunday,’ a community organization that encourages community bonding and the sharing of critical services and resources among residents. The organization holds an annual gathering and softball tournament at Nicholl Park, but also holds events year-round in support of a wide variety of causes.
Simmons, CEO of Salute2Kindness, said Saturday’s inaugural gala was developed to create awareness about kindness in the community, and to recognize that kindness in a way that spreads.
“Seeing others positively affected and awarded for their kind acts really means a lot to me,” Simmons said.
No Limits A/R Record executive Shaun Ross, who was the celebrity Master of Ceremonies for the Salute2Kindness gala, said, “Being reverent of what we all see as human beings with the aspect to look beyond ourselves, to help others that can’t help themselves is to be a beacon of light.”