Congress members, hundreds mourn loss of Juanita Millender-McDonald

millender-mcdonald.jpgBy Joseph Serna, Staff Writer
Hundreds of mourners, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, the mayor of Los Angeles and more than 60 other members of Congress came together Monday to honor 37th District Rep. Juanita Millender-McDonald.
The seven-term Congresswoman, who represented Signal Hill, a large part of Long Beach and other Los Angeles County cities, succumbed to cancer in her Carson home April 21. She was 68.
Millender-McDonald had only recently announced she had cancer, and had taken a leave of absence only a week before she passed.
The service took place at the oldest black Baptist church in Southern California, the Second Baptist Church in Los Angeles, where the Congresswoman served on the board and attended.
Her family shed light on Millender-McDonald the family woman, recalling heated political discussions over Thanksgiving dinner and teaching her niece to dance.
Former Assembly Speaker Willie Brown, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and Pelosi were among those who spoke highly of Millender-McDonald, Rep. Jerry Lewis delivering a message on behalf of President George W. Bush.
She was known for her determination and advocacy for women and minorities, issues close to her heart since growing up in Birmingham, Ala.
It took three military planes to fly in the 67 Congress members, which included Lucille Roybal-Allard, David Dreier, Jane Harman, Dennis Kucinich, Barbara Lee, John Lewis, Maxine Waters, Diane Watson and Henry Waxman.
Chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus Carolyn Kilpatrick also spoke.
Millender-McDonald was later buried in a private ceremony at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Long Beach.
The family is requesting, in lieu of flowers, donations in the name of Juanita Millender-McDonald be made to the African-American Women’s Health and Education Foundation, 455 East Carson Plaza, Suite C, Carson, CA 90746.