All photos by Alain McLaughlin Photography
Renowned activist, accomplished author and poet, Janice Mirikitani, celebrated her 74th birthday on February 10th at local hotspot Le Colonial. The restaurant’s iconic Union Square backdrop was befitting for the life celebration of a San Francisco icon herself, whose work as the Founding Member of the Glide Foundation has assisted marginalized and disadvantaged members of society for more than 40 years.
The evening began with a cocktail reception where family, friends and members of the Glide church congregation socialized, enjoying wine and an abundance of traditional Vietnamese h’orderves. Upon her arrival, the guest of honor beamed her famous smile while she and her husband, Reverend Cecil Williams, mingled and posed for photographs with guests.
Notable guests in attendance were Board members, donors and volunteers of the Glide church family, as well as local dignitaries such as Supervisors Jane Kim, Katie Tang and Norman Yee, Police Captain Jason Churniss and School Board Member Hydra Mendoza.
Renel Brooks-Moon, voice of the San Francisco Giants, took to the stage to host a short program featuring performance art, poetry readings and of course, the sounds of the legendary Glide Ensemble choir. A personal tribute to Mirikitani from her husband followed, in which he referred to his wife as ‘a woman ahead of her time’ and cited Mirikitani as a ‘genius’ who has touched the lives of many though her activism and outreach. As he doted on his wife, Williams acknowledged her continued efforts to promote the mission of Glide through a process of ‘radical inclusiveness’ for all and encouraged those in attendance to live their lives by the same standards.
Just prior to the presentation of the cake, former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown – a longtime friend and supporter of Williams and Mirikitani – whisked in to wish Mirikitani a happy birthday and solute her vast impact on the community.
The evening culminated with the crowd joining original Doobie Brother Tom Johnston and the Glide Ensemble in singing Happy Birthday to Ms. Mirkitiani, who blew out the candles on her cake, no doubt wishing for yet another joyous and prosperous year in San Francisco.