After 123 years, the Tournament of Roses has first African-American president – San Gabriel Valley Tribune

The Rose Parade features vibrant scenes of world cultures. Diverse college squads go head-to-head in the football game. But the Tournament of Roses, the 123-year-old organization behind the New Year’s Day celebrations, itself? It was essentially “whites only.”

Gerald Freeny is president for the 2018-2019 Tournament of Roses year.

That was the assessment of Terrence Roberts, a consultant who was brought on in the 1990s to help address a lack of diversity in the Tournament of Roses Association leadership pipeline.

It’s been 25 years since women and people of color were appointed for the first time to the tournament’s executive committee, the group from which presidents are chosen.

But in an organization guided by history, tradition and formality, the rise to the very top is a long and…

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