Yellow was the color of the day on April 23, when community members, civic leaders, and elected officials gathered at Fleetwood-Jourdain Community Center to honor Delores Holmes for her decades of service to the Evanston community. She was Executive Director of Family Focus for more than two decades and since 2005 has served as Alderman of the Fifth Ward. She announced her retirement earlier this year.
Morris “Dino” Robinson, founder of Shorefront Legacy Center, unveiled Shorefront’s Legacy tribute to Ms. Holmes. Others honored her with musical and spoken tributes.
Guests at the celebration and dinner included friends and colleagues from her days at Family Focus, her Bible study group from Mount Zion Missionary Baptist Church, the Foster Seniors Club, Delta Sigma Theta sorority, and City Council. In a rare appearance out of uniform, Police Chief Richard Eddington came to offer his good wishes.
A guest from the early days of Family Focus – when it was housed at 1823 Church St. now the Gibbs-Morrison Cultural Center – was Daniel Frank, current principal at Francis Parker School in Chicago. His book, “Deep Blue Funk and Other Stories,” helped put Family Focus and its work with teen parents in the public eye.
“It’s a wonderful, amazing day,” said Ald. Holmes, whose bright yellow suit blended with the yellow flowers and ribbons on the tables and the yellow clothing worn by many who know her well. “Yellow is my favorite color; it’s been my color all my life. It reflects sunshine and brightness,” she said, acknowledging that people often see her wearing the red color of her sorority.
“All the things that I do, I will continue to do,” except serve on City Council, Ald. Holmes told the RoundTable. She said she would miss the discussions that came before City Council, “but I won’t miss the politics.”
Two days before, on April 21, Ald. Holmes was feted with a birthday party and a ribbon-cutting at the Delores Holmes Recording Studio at Gibbs-Morrison. On this Sunday afternoon, the sunshine without was no brighter than the joy within as community members echoed the theme “Holmes Is Where the Heart Is.”