â€œWe see the alignment of the grace of God in the sequence of events which have brought us to this time.â€
Proceeds from the eveningâ€™s event went to support the Balm in Gilead, an organization founded by Pernessa Seele to combat HIV/AIDS in the African American church. Seele pointed to the leadership of Canon Frederick Boyd Williams; Rev. Dr. Wyatt Tee Walker, and Rev. Dr. Preston R. Washington, who were instrumental in the life of the Balm in Gilead. Walker was one of the recipients of the â€œKeepers of the Flameâ€ award.
Other recipients included Rev. Jesse Jackson, Sr., Rev. Al Sharpton, Bishop John Hurst Adams, Bishop Desmond Tutu, Earl Graves, Maya Angelou, Marian Wright Edelman, Dr. Johnnetta Cole, Donna Brazile, financier Robert Brown, Dr. John Hope Franklin, Dr. William H. Gray III, Dr. Dorothy Height, Bishop Barbara Harris, Rev. Dr. Benjamin Hooks, Rev. Joseph Lowery, Congressman John Lewis, former Clinton Secretary of Labor Alexis Herman, General Colin Powell, former New Orleans Mayor Marc Morial, Rev. Della Reese-Lett, and Dr. Gardner C. Taylor.
When asked about the role of the Black church now that Obama will be the 44th President of the United States, Rev. Dr. James Coleman, pastor of All Nations Baptist Church in D.C., said, â€œWe must continue to pray [Obama] because he is going to have challenges ahead and have to make some tough decisions.â€
Presenters of the Keepers of the Flame included Congresswoman Maxine Waters of California, Dr. Julianne Malveaux, president of Bennett College for Women, Dr. Robert Franklin, president of Morehouse College, and actress-philanthropist Sheryl Lee Ralph.