Mothers and sons celebrate at the Positive Image Gala

Nakesha Caldwell dances with son Messiyah Sir Charles Lewis
Photo by Tim Austin

On an unseasonably warm fall Sunday afternoon, close to 400 well-dressed mothers marched together with their well-groomed sons to celebrate a bond like no other at the 8th Annual Positive Image Gala. By twos, threes, and even fours, they came to be recognized and honor the love that mothers and sons share at the Earle Brown Heritage Center.

There was a live DJ playing music, vendors, exquisite table settings, and a delicious buffet meal. Community activist and radio personality Lissa Jones emceed the lively evening. 

Darren Hayes offered a covenant reading. He was accompanied by his mother, former Minneapolis Civil Rights Director Van Owen Hayes. 

A leadership award ceremony honored the community contributions of Acooa Ellis, Nerita Hughes, Tawanna Black, and Jessica Rodgers—all mothers in attendance. Positive Image also recognized its chosen scholar awardees: Juriad Hughes, Jr, Israel Moses V, Brian Banks and Todd Wright, Jr.

The evening included many touching speeches and moments, perhaps the most being when Pamela Weems was awarded the Survivor Award for being a cancer survivor. Weems was surrounded by close to a dozen of her close friends who all wore pink wigs and dressed in beautiful pink and white outfits in a show of support.

When asked about his vision for the annual event, Positive Image’s Terry Austin spoke passionately. “After sponsoring the Father-Daughter Gala, I was approached by a community of mothers who wanted to celebrate their bond and relationship with their sons. 

“The goal of the event is to celebrate family, uplift strong family relationships between mothers and sons. I also want to bring awareness to breast cancer—one of the leading causes of death among African American women.”

Overall, it was a delightful evening, capped off with a ballroom of mothers gleefully dancing with their sons. “We have started this important tradition of going to the mother-son ball because it’s an opportunity for us to dress our best, bond, and show appreciation for our relationship as mother and son,” said Nakesha Caldwell.

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