From the Civil Rights Movement to the Present: Women Focus on Helping the Next Generation

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As we celebrate Black History Month, one organization in San Antonio has consistently given back to the San Antonio community in scholarships and philanthropy.

The San Antonio Chapter of The Links Inc. started in 1960, the same year four black college students staged the first sit-in at a Woolworth’s lunch counter in North Carolina. For the past 59 years, the Alamo City chapter has found it their mission to make a difference in the black community. Through giving scholarships to high school and college students, providing programming at area middle and high schools, which also includes the Early College High School at St. Philip’s College, and at the East Side Boys & Girls Club, the San Antonio chapter keeps on giving year after year.

The San Antonio Chapter of The Links Inc. celebrated those achievements on Feb. 9 with its annual Western Gala at Pedrotti’s Northwind Ranch. With a lot of boot scooting and a barbecue-style buffet, the Western Gala is one of the premiere events in San Antonio where the city’s movers and shakers come together for a night of networking and fun.

The Links could not invest year after year in these many community initiatives without support of partners that include Texas Institute of Gastroenterology Associates; Star Anesthesia; Alamo Colleges-St. Philip’s College; Methodist Healthcare Ministries; 8 Cubed Networks; CPS Energy; Dr. Martin Luther King Foundation; Gallen Electric and Construction LLC; Linebarger, Goggan, Blair, and Sampson LLC; P & M Hoskins Enterprises LLC; South Texas Center for Pediatric Care; University of the Incarnate Word; and VIA Transit.

“The Links have a mission to impact those who need a helping hand and one of the best ways we can do this is to make sure the next generation has access to college,” said Kayla Jackson, president of the San Antonio Chapter of The Links. “Since 1977, our organization has given over $300,000 to local students.”

In addition to scholarships, the San Antonio chapter has had many partners along the way helping it donate funding for important learning initiatives. For instance, The Links helped to bring Something to Say: The McNay Presents 100 Years of African American Art exhibit to the city last year. The Links have also consistently provided opportunities for children and have underwritten performances at the Carver Community Cultural Center, and were a significant donor for Bexar County’s BiblioTech East digital library.

The national Links organization started in 1946, also during a time when African Americans found themselves shut out of many opportunities. National membership has grown to more than 15,000 women in 288 chapters in the U.S., the District of Columbia, the Bahamas, and the United Kingdom.

The San Antonio chapter has 52 active members comprised of doctors, attorneys, city officials, art collectors, and other black professional women. Membership into the organization is selective and some notable members include U.S. Reps. Eddie Bernice Johnson and Joyce Beatty. Honorary members include U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Civil Rights Leader Rosa Parks, and U.S. Sen. and presidential candidate Kamala Harris. Locally, the group has attracted art advocate Aaronetta Pierce, former Mayor Ivy Taylor, and local executive Jelynne LeBlanc Burley. Doris Horne Ellison, one of the 14 charter members of the San Antonio group in 1960, is still active in the organization.

Even though the Western Gala is over, the organization is already in the planning stages for its 20th gala next year, as well as celebrating its 60th anniversary in 2020. There are many opportunities to get involved and become one of our many sponsors. Help us educate the next generation. To learn more, visit sanantoniolinks.org.

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