On Oct. 22 at the August Wilson Center, Betty and Lawrence Moncrief served as honorary co-chairs celebrating heroes and sheroes of the Hill District at the 4th annual Hill of Hope Gala to benefit the Centre Avenue YMCA.

Lawrence grew up on Francis Street, a block above the Centre Avenue Y, and spent most of his waking hours as a kid at the Y. During his courting years with Betty, more than 62 years ago, both belonged to the “Hi-Y.” They swam, danced, skated and enjoyed the many programs and activities the Y offered.

B-PEPPERS—Lois McClendon, Tim Stevens (executive director, B-PEP) and Valerie Dixon

The well-dressed crowd enjoyed cocktails and hors d’oeuvres before being welcomed by Centre Avenue YMCA Board Chair Tom Burley. This year the Hill of Hope Award was presented to B-PEP (Black Political Empowerment Project). This organization founded by Tim Stevens in 1986, is one of the existing Hill District community cornerstones. B-PEP’s commitment to exercising the voting rights of African-Americans has made a tremendous impact in politics locally, regionally and nationally. Stevens, the first B-PEP coordinator, is a native Pittsburgher who formerly served as president of the Pittsburgh NAACP. He also serves as church organist for Trinity AME Church in the Hill District.

Gala co-chairs, Kimberly Wood and Brenda Tate, were also honored for their hard work on the gala year after year. Also recognized were Sara Zullo and C. Denise Johnson, each received beautiful bouquets of flowers. The group enjoyed a delicious meal, with a dessert buffet and dancing to Flo Wilson and The Old School Band. Proceeds of the evening will benefit the Centre Avenue Y and the new Thelma Lovette YMCA.

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