March 18, 2019 - Issue: Vol. 165, No. 48 — Daily Edition116th Congress (2019 - 2020) - 1st Session
HONORING JOAN ROBERTA WILLIAMS; Congressional Record Vol. 165, No. 48
(Extensions of Remarks - March 18, 2019)
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[Extensions of Remarks] [Page E320] From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov] HONORING JOAN ROBERTA WILLIAMS ______ HON. JUDY CHU of california in the house of representatives Monday, March 18, 2019 Ms. JUDY CHU of California. Madam Speaker, I rise today to honor the life of Joan Roberta Williams, who passed away on February 20, 2019 at the age of 86. Mrs. Williams was named Miss Crown City in 1958 after being nominated by her colleagues at Pasadena City Hall. Though she was supposed to perform the ceremonial duties around the Rose Parade now performed by the Rose Queen, such as ribbon cuttings and appearances with the Mayor of Pasadena, the float on which Mrs. Williams was scheduled to appear was cancelled. Mrs. Williams was denied these honors after city officials discovered that she was African American. It wasn't until New Year's Day of 2015 that Mrs. Williams finally appeared in the Rose Parade, this time in a float honoring ``Inspiring Stories.'' After an article appeared in the Pasadena Weekly detailing her racist treatment nearly half a century earlier, Mrs. Williams received a formal apology from the Mayor of Pasadena and was offered the opportunity to ride in the parade that had been denied to her, which she accepted as an opportunity for reconciliation. I had the pleasure of meeting Mrs. Williams in 2014, when the Pasadena non-profit Men Educating Men About Health honored her at a gala, where I had the opportunity to present her with their Woman of the Year Award. In the years between her original crowning and her eventual appearance in the Rose Parade, Mrs. Williams had a long career with Kaiser in Southern California, including several years in their Medicare office in my district. She volunteered for the Pasadena AIDS Service Center and with the Pasadena Unified School District, was honored on the floor of the California State Assembly, and had three children, four grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren. When she finally made her appearance in the 2015 Rose Parade, Mrs. Williams said the experience was ``especially important because [it pointed] out that with people of goodwill working to correct these mistakes, change can come. We hope it won't take so long, but when you look at our history, none of it has happened overnight, none of it has happened without a fight. The fight goes on.'' It is my honor today to recognize Mrs. Williams' legacy in that fight.