Vol. XXX, No. 1168
February 25, 2010
SERVING LOS ANGELES COUNTY WITH NEWS YOU CAN USE
FIRST COLUMN: BLACK HISTORY MONTH FEATURE
U.S. Town Marks Infamous Race Case 8 Decades Later BY JAY REEVES AP WRITER
SCOTTSBORO, Ala. (AP) — The very name of this Alabama city has stood for racial injustice for almost 80 years. Nine young black men went on trial in Scottsboro in 1931 on charges of raping two white women in a case that made headlines around the world. The defendants, eight of whom were sentenced to die, came to be known as “The Scottsboro Boys,” and the charges were revealed as a sham. Now, four generations later, Scottsboro is acknowledging its painful past.
With biracial support in a Tennessee River community that is 91 percent white, organizers this month opened a museum documenting the infamous rape prosecution and its aftermath. The museum is not large or fancy. It is in an old African American church near the city’s main attraction, a store that sells clothes, wrenches, iPods and other items pulled from unclaimed airline baggage. The opening of the Scottsboro Boys Museum and Cultural Center helps fill a hole in the historical narrative of a city that See SCOTTSBORO, page 10
Photo by DAMIEN SMITH
GAME TIME — Former Los Angeles Laker A.C. Green joins in a huddle at Jefferson High School on Feb. 19 before a basketball game. Green came to the high school to participate in the 11th annual Principal for a Day event, which is used to help build long-term relationships between the business and education communities.
Theater Groundbreaking Could Occur this Summer, May Open in Sept. 2011 BY CHARLENE MUHAMMAD CONTRIBUTING WRITER
SOUTHERN JUSTICE — The Scottsboro Boys were nine young black males who were accused of the rape of two white women in Scottsboro, Ala., in 1931. Eight of them were found guilty and sentenced to death. After numerous retrials over six years, charges were dropped against four defendants and one other defendant in exchange for a guilty plea on a different, unrelated charge. Pictured: Attorney Samuel Leibowitz meets with his clients, the Scottsboro Boys, under the watch of the Alabama National Guard in 1932.
By this summer, Watts residents could break ground for a state-of-theart theater and training center in the heart of their community, Barbara Stanton told residents at the Ted Watkins Memorial Park gymnasium Feb. 18. As executive director of the Watts Cinema and Education Center Inc., she had always known that creating the Wattstar Theatre and Education Center could be accomplished, and now she has $10 million in funding to help complete it. The center will rest on 1.66 acres of “blighted” land and span a 5mile radius. It will consist of a fullservice movie theater, equipped with four screens and have a 1,000-stadi-
Celebs Read ‘110 Stories’ as Tribute to 9/11 BY DARLENE DONLOE CONTRIBUTING WRITER
There are a million stories in the naked city, but virtually none as gripping, emotional and gutwrenching as the ones told in “110 Stories.” “110 Stories,” written by Sarah Tuft, is a tribute to those who died in 9/11, were witnesses to the atrocity, and/or survived and lived through what turned out to be the worst terrorist act ever perpetrated on the United States. But not all of the stories are horrific; some tell of dedication and service. Told by some of Hollywood’s best actors, who read passages of actual accounts, the presentation on Feb. 22 is a reminder of the lives that were lost in the Twin Towers, the Pentagon and United Airlines Flight 93 and how that day forever changed America. One by one, Malcolm-Jamal Warner, Michael Beach, Ed Asner, Joseph C. Phillips, Nick Turturro, Sharon Lawrence and many more took the mic at the Geffen
Photo by DARLENE DONLOE
Playhouse in Westwood and told stories, whether they were tragic, gruesome or triumphant. “110 Stories,” held as a benefit performance for the American Red Cross of Greater Los Angeles, is an affecting piece, because it’s actual personal accounts that bring what happened on Sept. 11, 2001, up close and personal. Tuft, who wrote the play to raise funds for charities, and to memorialize the 10 firemen lost
from her local firehouse, collected more than a hundred first-person accounts before using them for the production. She hoped that by giving voice to those who were actually there, the play could restore dimension to Sept. 11. “I grew up in New York and I worked in New York, and clearly it changed the whole country,” said Michael Beach, who revealed he knew several people personally affected by 9/11, including firefighters and policemen, who worked on the television show “Third Watch,” on which he starred. “I think in order for us to help the Red Cross and to help other places like Haiti, I think this is fantastic. It’s one tragedy helping another.” Warner (of “The Cosby Show”), who lived and worked in New York, also knew several people affected by the 9/11 tragedy. “This story still affects a lot of people,” Warner said. “I begged to be a part of this because it hits close to home. These are personal See ‘110 STORIES’, page 3
Wattstar Theatre and Education Center rendering.
um-seat capacity. Its education and training facility will house 34 rooms and a security substation. The classrooms and labs will be used to train youth in video/film production, post-production, animation, music editing, Web design and business development or expansion. There will also be a teleconference and distance learning center that will help carry youth from Watts into other parts of the world through glob-
al communications. The project is expected to create 60 jobs altogether, divided by both sections of the facility. But Stanton intends for it to bring dining restaurants and other stores to the community. “A major challenge has been overcoming the negative stigma that Watts doesn’t need, nor deserve, See WATTS THEATER, page 10
NEWS IN BRIEF THE SOUTHLAND L.A. City Council Wants to Cut 3,000 More Jobs (AP) — The Los Angeles City Council voted on Feb. 18 to eliminate 3,000 additional city jobs in an attempt to balance a $212 million budget deficit. The 9-3 vote came a day after Moody’s Investors Services, a major credit-rating agency, issued a gloomy outlook for Los Angeles’ financial situation. Moody’s downgraded its opinion of the city’s finances from “stable” to “negative,” potentially leading to a lower credit rating for the city and increasing its cost for borrowing money. The eliminations come on top of the 1,000 job cuts ordered by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa to help balance the budget by July 1 and to close a $484 million gap in next year’s budget. Recently, he
warned a second round of cuts was necessary to replenish the reserve fund and maintain a good credit rating. Villaraigosa has suggested that layoffs can be minimized if city workers and their unions agree to pay cuts. Under the measure approved by the council, city departments must identify, within 45 days, positions that can be eliminated. Police officers and firefighters would not be exempt from possible job cuts. The measure calls for eliminating a total of 4,000 jobs, but that doesn’t mean 4,000 people will be laid off. City officials said some workers may lose their current positions, but be transferred to other departments that do not draw salaries from the depleted general fund. See BRIEFS, page 5
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L.A. WATTS TIMES
February 25, 2010
OPINION EARL OFARI HUTCHINSON
Lessons from the Oscar Grant Tragedy BY KOKAYI KWA JITAHIDI
Knock Off the Tiger Beatdown Tiger Woods probably broke a Guinness World Record for the number of times he said in his public statement that he was wrong, sorry and will change. This should have been enough to knock off the Tiger bashing. His behavior, though disgraceful and hypocritical, does not rise to the level of a state crime or an impeachable offense. The hurt he inflicted was to his wife, children and his image. That’s personal, private and a family matter — period. Woods could have simply shrugged off the criticism and thumbed his nose at the fans and the golf world, but he didn’t. He realized he needed help. He checked into a rehabilitation center, and for all intents and purposes, is still there, and will continue to stay. Woods dropped golf, and in the process, lost millions of dollars in winnings. He did not conduct an orchestrated media blitz campaign to duck, deny and dodge responsibility for his behavior. Woods did not respond to the vicious attacks from pundits, his golf pals, and the alleged mistresses and their attorneys who came out in droves to claim a piece of the Tiger action. The world-famous golfer knows that the road back won’t be easy. He said as much in his statement. When he does eventually return to the circuit, Woods will still hear the whispers, snickers and digs — and maybe even some boos. That’s the price he’ll continue to
pay for behavior many still self-righteously judge as unbecoming of a sports idol. Despite Woods’ heart-felt apology and plea for forgiveness, there will still be those who will carp and furiously shake their heads in disbelief that Woods really meant what he said about change. They will claim that it’s just a cheap public-relations ploy (complete with the teary eyes) to regain public sympathy and get back on the course with as little fanfare and controversy as possible. This is, of course, the crass and cynical view. But that view will be spewed by many. The most compelling thing about Woods’ public apology is that he made one at all — and not just an apology, but that he truly bared his soul and heart to the world. As he said, this is a huge first step for him, but it’s a necessary step on the path to recovery. Woods’ ability to rise above the fray and the criticisms has long been an asset. He continually and graciously shrugged off the inanities, racial knocks, quips and wisecracks from commentators and his fellow golf pros during his decade run at every tournament championship around. It didn’t stop the gossip mongers. Woods is simply too big, too good and too rich for the tastes of a wide swath of the public and the celebrity-crazed media. When he tore up the greens, he became the gatekeeper for the storehouse of fantasies and delusions of a sports-crazed public, as well as
advertisers, sportswriters and TV executives in desperate need of vicarious excitement and profits. He was the ultimate sports hero who fulfilled that need. He was expected to move in the rarified air above the fray of human problems while raising society’s expectation of what’s good and wholesome. Woods has been handsomely rewarded for fulfilling that fantasy even though, as he admitted in his statement about the accident on his Web site, tigerwoods.com, he is only human. He reminded the world of the obvious. He has the same flaws and foibles as anyone else. The Woods beatdown has been especially ferocious because of his surreal fame and fortune. Black superstars (although Woods identifies as multiracial) cause much media and public hurt when they supposedly betray the collective selfdelusion of sport as pure and pristine. That stirs even greater jealousy and resentment. That was evident in the constant fan and sportswriter carping about how spoiled, pampered and overpaid Woods and black athletes supposedly are. The first hint of any bad behavior by them ignites a torrent of moral, high-horse columns and commentaries on the supposedly arrogant, above-the-law black athlete. Woods made direct reference to that in his statement when he noted that he thought his status, celebrity and wealth entitled him to act differently than anyone else. He received a See HUTCHINSON, page 3
Getting African American Children Back in School Before It’s Too Late BY KAMALA HARRIS
Many of the landmark battles of our Civil Rights Movement hinged on the right to an education. We all remember the images — the Little Rock Nine escorted to school by federal troops, or a deadly firefight between U.S. Marshals, soldiers and rioting segregationists intent on blocking James Meredith’s enrollment at the University of Mississippi. Adults and children lost their lives so that African American students could enter America’s school houses. Under the law, our battle was won. But today, in many respects, we are losing the war. African American children are dropping out of school at alarming rates, with nearly half failing to finish high school. The pattern starts young and begins with chronic school absences. Many urban school districts across the country report that literally thousands of students are absent without an excuse each day. Often, more than 40 percent of these missing students are in elementary school. In San Francisco, African Americans make up just 11 percent of the public school population, but account for nearly 40 percent of
truant students. A study of African American third-graders in Philadelphia revealed that 39 percent had missed 25 days or more compared to 19 percent of white students. Nearly 60 percent of the children at the Minneapolis Truancy Center are African American, while they comprise a little more than 30 percent of the total student population. So what does it mean that so many of our young African American children are not in school? It means they fall behind, and they fall through the cracks. Elementary school children who skip class today become tomorrow’s high school truants, juvenile delinquents and dropouts. Dropouts are those most likely to have poor health, be unemployed or work at low-paying jobs, and are more likely to end up on the streets as victims or perpetrators of crime. The statistics speak volumes. In California, three-fourths of prison inmates are high school dropouts. In San Francisco, more than 94 percent of all homicide victims under the age of 25 are high school dropouts. When it comes to giving our children a chance, we can either
pay attention to the signs of trouble now, or we can pay the price later. The early signs of trouble are clear. In 2007, the National Center Kamala Harris for Children in Poverty issued a study finding that elementary school children who miss 10 percent or more days in a given school year are the most likely to have lower academic performance and risk permanently falling behind in subsequent school years. I believe that 10 percent or more is a “tipping point.” Children who miss less than 10 percent have a chance to recover, while children who miss more than 10 percent begin to permanently fall off. As a community, we need to do everything possible to identify children who have reached the tipping point and demand action to get these children back on track. We cannot afford to simply wring our hands. It’s time to roll up our sleeves and do the work necessary to make sure our children get to See HARRIS, page 9
In many instances, the second pre-trial hearing for Johannes Mehserle could be seen as a victorious day for the family and supporters of Oscar Grant, who was fatally shot by Mehserle as he lay unarmed on a platform in Oakland on New Year’s Day 2009. After weeks of nervous speculation, presiding Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Robert Perry rejected motions put forth by Mehserle’s legal team to reduce his bail amount and remove the Alameda County district attorney from the case. While Perry acknowledged that prosecutors employed some questionable and perhaps unconstitutional tactics during their investigation, those acts failed to substantiate the extreme requests of defense attorney Michael Rains. Victory also extended to outside of the courtroom as scores of activists and supporters braved the early morning chill to hold signs, recite chants, and talk to onlookers — all in the name of making the often-apathetic L.A. populace aware of one of the most significant court cases in state history. While the number of people who attended the recent rally this time was slightly smaller than that at the first hearing, the crowd contained an impressive intensity, dedication and discipline that was appropriate and effective. However, amid countless examples that spoke to the triumphant potential of this case, it was difficult for me to enjoy the moment. In the background of the day’s court rulings and grassroots activism stood the realities of an unjust system that leaves too many families — particularly black and Latino — mourning the loss of a loved one at the hands of law enforcement.
In black and Latino communities across the United States, there are too many women like Oscar Grant’s mother who have to learn how to live again after hav- Kokayi Kwa Jitahidi ing their child’s life ended prematurely by those who swear to “protect and serve.” This tragic situation is compounded by the fact that police murder — unlike murder committed by civilians — often leaves the family with little or no hope of ever receiving legal justice. While some may receive financial settlements, the court system fails time after time to convict and sentence officers for murder. For black people in particular, this perpetual lack of legal redress for one of the oldest problems affecting our community has created deeply entrenched pain, fear and anger. No matter the social status, economic class or skin tone, almost every black person in America has experienced a nervous moment whenever a cop came near. This is not because we are a community of cowards; rather, it is because we recognize that the police can arbitrarily kill us without any threat of jail time. The Mehserle trial is so important to all of us because it can establish a more humane legal precedent in terms of police conduct. A just verdict of murder can help shift policies and practices of law enforcement agencies in Los Angeles, Inglewood and across the country. In order to ensure victory in the case, however, we need every resident — especially black and Latino — to become aware and active in the work. We need established civil rights organizations and leaders in the city to step out of the shadows and become See KOKAYI, page 3
FOR THE RECORD In a Feb. 18 photo in the Arts & Culture section, the L.A. Watts Times incorrectly identified Glynn Turman’s wife as Judith. In fact, her name is Jo-Ann.
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February 25, 2010
L.A. WATTS TIMES
BUSINESS BIZSHORTS Next ‘Let’s Talk Port’ to Focus on Career Pathways Trade careers and education will be the focus of the Port of Long Beach’s next “Let’s Talk Port” community forum scheduled for Feb. 25, 6:30 p.m., at Veterans Park in Long Beach. Veterans Park is at 101 E. 28th St. There will be light refreshments and giveaways for participants. Information: (562) 590-412, firstname.lastname@example.org, www.polb. com/outreach.
Free Foreclosure Workshop in Culver City The California Foreclosure Institute will present a free two-hour workshop March 3, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., at Julian Dixon Library, 4975 Overland Ave., Culver City, for beginner investors and realtors on how to get started finding and buying foreclosure properties. Lloyd Segal, author of “Stop Foreclosure Now” and “Foreclosure Investing,” will speak at the event. The workshop is free, but reservations are required. Information: (310) 379-0101, www.foreclosureworkshop.net.
Measles, Mumps and the Recession (AP) — The economy is literally making small business owners sick, according to one management consulting firm. A random telephone survey of 713 small U.S. business owners found that more than half have experienced negative health effects, both physically and mentally, since the economic recession began. Meanwhile, 27 percent do not have the financial resources to weather the next quarter, according to the study done by Park Ridge, Ill.based George S. May International. About 80 percent of the respondents said their company may not survive unless economic conditions improve within nine months, while 16 percent gave a limit of three months and 4 percent, six months. The survey also found that 41 percent of small business owners said they didn’t have a salary in 2009 in order to stay in business, while 20 percent had to pull money from their personal 401(k) accounts.
KOKAYI Continued from page 2 public advocates for the Oscar Grant family. In a case so important, no one who yearns for the full expression of justice can afford to sit on the sidelines and carry on like business as usual. For if we choose that route, another unarmed black man will be murdered without any accountability, and our current attempts for social revolution will be exposed as a hollow and weak impersonation of the 1960s. As the great African leader Amilcar Cabral taught us, we cannot “claim any easy victories.” Victory in this case not only means the conviction and sentencing of Mehserle, but as local professor Maulana Karenga teaches, a corresponding rebuilding of a strong movement capable of instituting progressive practices and policies throughout society. Let’s get to work. Kokayi Kwa Jitahidi is a community organizer with the Families for
About 80 percent said they reduced the number of employees at their company. The survey, conducted between Jan. 25 and Jan. 27, was of randomly selected businesses across all industries with revenues between $750,000 and $100 million and more than 10 employees.
Stern: Expect Bobcats Sale Within 60 Days DALLAS (AP) — NBA commissioner David Stern expects the Charlotte Bobcats to be sold within 60 days. He’s just not ready to say if Michael Jordan will be the buyer. At his news conference Feb. 13, Stern said if Jordan was the buyer “that would be a good thing.” Jordan is currently a minority investor in the Bobcats but majority owner Bob Johnson has given Jordan control of the basketball operations. Johnson is the first black majority owner of a major professional sports team, but has lost tens of millions and is looking to sell. Jordan has first refusal on any sale, but it’s unclear if the Hall of Famer has an ownership group in place. Former Houston Rockets executive George Postolos has also inquired about the Bobcats.
Dr. Dre Sues Over Unpaid ‘Chronic’ Royalties (AP) — Dr. Dre is suing the new iteration of Death Row Records for failure to pay royalties and releasing a new version of his iconic album “The Chronic” without his permission. Dre, whose real name is Andre Young, filed the suit in federal court in Los Angeles Feb. 11 against WIDEawake Death Row Records and its parent companies. The suit claims Young hasn’t been paid royalties on the original “The Chronic” since he split with Death Row in 1996. The label fell into bankruptcy, but was purchased by the WIDEawake and reformed. Young also claims WIDEawake issued “The Chronic Re-Lit” and a greatest hits collection without the proper rights. He is seeking unspecified damages and an injunction blocking the new releases. Community Safety Campaign, a grassroots effort to create a more just and peaceful society by holding law enforcement officers accountable for their actions. Jitahidi is also founder of the MA’AT Club for Community Change. He can be reached email@example.com.
Before You Get the Job Offer, Expect a ‘Pre-Offer’ BY ERIN CONROY AP BUSINESS WRITER
Before you see that job offer in writing, you may have to negotiate — after you get the “pre-offer,” that is. More companies are asking candidates what salary, benefits, vacation time and other compensation they would be willing to accept before they put an actual offer on the table, said Gary Bergmann, senior consultant for Boston-based outplacement firm ClearRock. “There are so many qualified people looking for work that employers can ask this of job seekers,” Bergmann said. Though there isn’t an official offer to accept or reject, the same strategies and tactics should be put into play during the pre-negotiating stage. ClearRock offers these tips for getting the compensation package you think you deserve: • Do your homework ahead of time and learn what the fair market value is for the role you have been offered. Check out Web sites such as Salary.com, GlassDoor.com and JobNob.com for comparable salary ranges. • Ask for a few days to review the details to make a good business
decision. Evaluate the offer against your personal criteria and other offers you may already have received. • Do not accept an offer on the spot, even if it’s beyond your expectations. • Be prepared to walk away from an offer, which will convey
‘110 STORIES’ Continued from page 1 stories from people who actually lived through this thing. These stories touch you where you live.” There were several stories of firefighters, some who lost their lives running to the tragedy, others who lost friends and comrades, and still more struggling to understand how something so devastating could happen on American soil. There’s the policeman who actually saw a piece of a plane engine hit a woman’s leg and rip it open. Another who witnessed a falling piece of slab kill a couple walking down the street. And another who saw a falling body kill a passerby. Then there’s the New York Post photographer (played by
Stelio Savante) who took pictures of several men and women jumping out of windows to escape the intense flames. After witnessing one body hit the pavement and break into pieces, he decided to keep his camera pointed up. He remembers the sound. It was like a grenade. He grimaces at the thought. One story after the next was more powerful than the one before. It made for an emotional evening. “These stories just remind us that we’re all in this together,” Beach said. “110 Stories” is directed by Mark Freiburger and produced by Stelio Savante and Andrew Carlberg.
WARNING Chemicals known to the State of California to cause cancer, birth defects or other reproductive harm are contained in crude oil, gasoline, diesel fuel and other petroleum products and byproducts. Chemicals known to the State of California to cause cancer, birth defects or other reproductive harm are also contained in and around oil fields, service stations, refineries, chemical plants, transport and storage operations, including pipelines, marine terminals and tank trucks, and other facilities and equipment that manufacture, produce, process, handle, distribute, transport, store, sell or otherwise transfer crude oil, gasoline, diesel fuel or other petroleum products or byproducts. The foregoing warning is provided pursuant to Proposition 65. This law requires the Governor of California to publish a list of chemicals “known to the State to cause cancer or reproductive toxicity." This list is compiled in accordance with a procedure established by the Proposition, and can be obtained from the California Environmental Protection Agency. Proposition 65 requires that clear and reasonable warnings be given to persons exposed to the listed chemicals in certain situations. Aera Energy LLC BP America Inc. and its subsidiaries (and under the trademarks ARCO and Castrol)
Continued from page 2 rude awakening about that. Woods has had his day, many days, in the court of public opinion. Many have judged him irrevocably guilty, and they will not change that view. But for those with an ounce of forgiveness in their hearts, Woods’ bare-his-soul apology will be the spur to knock off the Tiger beatdown. Earl Ofari Hutchinson is an author and political analyst. His new book is “How Obama Governed: The Year of Crisis and Challenge” (Middle Passage Press).
that you mean business and give you additional influence in securing the best deal. • Never bluff about having another offer if you don’t. • Use the word “need” during negotiations, rather than “want” to underscore what it will take to land you the desired compensation.
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L.A. WATTS TIMES
February 25, 2010
WHAT’S GOING ON? Deadline for receipt of What’s Going On listings is Friday, noon, at least two weeks prior to activity. Fax to: (213) 251-5720, e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org or mail to: L.A. Watts Times, 3540 Wilshire Blvd., PH3, Los Angeles, CA 90010. KIDJO — The Los Angeles Philharmonic will present Angelique Kidjo at the Walt Disney Concert Hall Feb. 28, 7:30 p.m. A West African vocalist, Kidjo mixes African traditions with American R&B, funk and jazz. Information: (323) 8502000. JOBS ENGINE — An informational hearing of the Joint
Legislative Committee on Arts, chaired by state Sen. Curren Price Jr., called “The Creative Economy as a Jobs Engine in California” will take place Feb. 26, 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., at the Museum of Design, Art and Architecture, 8609 Washington Blvd., Culver City. The hearing will explore the creative economy’s impact on jobs in California. Information: www.currenpricejr.com. CONCERT — Message Productions will present a concert Feb. 27, 5 p.m., at the Church of the Redeemer, 900 E. Rosecrans Ave., Los Angeles, featuring Denise L. Dodson and Friends and the Center
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for Lupus Care Inc. Admission is $20 at the door and $15 in advance. CDs for $15 will be available after the concert. Information: (310) 6740880. JIM CROW — A book signing with Michelle Alexander, author of “The New Jim Crow, Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness,” will take place Feb. 25, 4:30 p.m., at the Watts Labor Community Action Committee’s Phoenix Hall, 10950 S. Central Ave., Los Angeles. Admission is free. Information: www.wlcacorg. BENEFIT — Romeo Miller and the College Boyys will headline a benefit concert at Six Flags Magic Mountain Feb. 27 to benefit the children of Haiti. Actress Kyla Pratt and others will also appear. The concert will benefit the I Heart Haiti Kids organization, which aims to raise awareness, collect books and fundraise to rebuild schools for Haitian kids. Anyone bringing two new or gently used school or children’s books to Six Flags Magic Mountain the weekends of Feb. 27 to 28, March 6 to 7, or March 13 to 14 will receive a discounted admission ticket of $24.99. The first 3,000 people bringing books on Feb. 27 will be admitted to the free concert with paid park admission. Information: www.iheart haitikids.org. See WGO, page 7
COMMUNITY MEETINGS, FORUMS AND ANNOUNCEMENTS Panel Discussion on 2010 Census Scheduled “Everyone Counts: 2010 Census a Panel Discussion” will be held March 3, 12:30 p.m., with a noon luncheon at the National Center for the Preservation of Democracy, 111 N. Central Ave. (at First Street), Los Angeles. Panelists will include District 48 Assemblyman Mike Davis and Antonia Hernández, president and CEO of the California Community Foundation. The Census helps determine the number of seats a state has in the U.S. House of Representatives. It will enable communities to receive more than $400 billion in federal funds each year for public works projects and emergency services. Admission is free, but registration is required. Information: (213) 628.8141, www.townhall-la.org/programs/register/1402.
Forum on Campaign Finance Reform to Take Place Over the past decade, the city of Los Angeles has reviewed various scenarios for the public financing of city campaigns. But will the recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling in the case of Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission change the way campaigns are financed and further increase the
role of money in elections? A panel discussion on this topic called “Campaign Finance Reform: Where to Now?” will take place March 4, 9 a.m. to 11 a.m., in the Los Angeles City Hall Council Chambers. RSVP information: events@ HeadingtonMedia.com
Tiger Woods Forum Slated The Los Angeles Urban Policy Roundtable will present “The Tiger Woods Scandal: Does Race Play a Role in It?” on Feb. 25, 7 p.m., at Lucy Florence Cultural Center, 3351 W. 43rd St., Los Angeles. Community residents, leaders and activists will discuss and debate whether race has blown the Woods scandal out of proportion, and whether there’s been a racial double standard in the intensity of the attacks on Woods. Information: (323) 383-6145.
Facts Feb. 25, 1991 Adrienne Mitchell, the first African American woman to die in combat in the Persian Gulf War, is killed in her military barracks in Dharan, Saudi Arabia. Source: blackfacts.com
February 25, 2010
L.A. WATTS TIMES
EDUCATION NOTEBOOK Morehouse College Glee Club to Appear in Santa Monica (Save the Date) — “Echoes of Excellence,” featuring the Morehouse College Glee Club, will take place Feb. 27, 8 p.m., at the Eli Broad Stage, at 1310 11th St., Santa Monica. The club plays classical music by black composers. It has toured Russia, Poland and South Africa and performed at events and venues around the world. The cost is $150 for VIP tickets, which includes a reception honoring L.A. County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, filmmaker Seith Mann, and jazz musician Billy Mitchell. The V.I.P. reception begins at 6 p.m. Tickets can be purchased at www.tix.com or www.glamaa.org. Information: Darnell Holcomb, (310) 203-7802.
renewing efforts to overturn the California law that prohibits public universities from considering race in student admissions. Attorneys for Michigan-based By Any Means Necessary filed a class-action lawsuit Feb. 16 in federal court in Oakland. It challenges the constitutionality of the ballot measure approved by the state’s voters in 1996. Both a federal appeals court and the California Supreme Court have rebuffed earlier challenges to the law, known as Proposition 209. The complaint says a pair of U.S. Supreme Court rulings in affirmative action cases since those earlier decisions warrant another effort to invalidate the part of Proposition 209 that deals with university admissions. The law also barred racial preferences in government hiring and contracts.
Calif. Race-Based Admissions Law Challenged Anew
Media Funding Frozen After Student TV Show Mocks Blacks’ Outrage to Ghetto Party
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A pro-affirmative action group is
SAN DIEGO (AP) — The University of California, San Diego, has
halted funding for student media after a TV segment ridiculed black students outraged by a party mocking Black History Month. The head of the campus Associated Students froze funding for 33 media outlets last week after one, The Koala, ran a student TV episode calling black students ungrateful and using a derogatory term for blacks. Associated Students President Utsav Gupta called the program “deeply offensive and hurtful” and revoked The Koala’s television charter. “We will only open it again when we can be sure that such hateful content can never be aired again on our student funded TV station,” Gupta wrote in a letter posted on a new university Web site to address recent racially charged incidents on campus. The Koala, which has a reputation for airing offensive material, made fun of reaction to an off-campus party Feb. 15, the “Compton Cookout,” which urged partygoers to dress as ghetto stereotypes to
Photo by LISA WEINGARTEN
UNCOMMON JOURNEY — Woodland Hills Academy teacher Colleen Schwab (far right) discusses the “Uncommon Journey to Diversity” exhibit, featuring the work of African American artist Rick Hyman, at the Finegood Art Gallery in West Hills with Assemblywoman Karen Bass (left), Congresswoman Diane Watson (second from left) and others on Feb. 21. Since fall, Hyman, whose work has appeared on “The Cosby Show,” has been teaching about 150 students from Fremont High School, Taft High, Woodland Hills Academy and the New Community Jewish High School how to research their families’ histories and express their heritage through art.
commemorate Black History Month. Tensions were running high before the TV program aired last week. Only about 2 percent of the school’s 29,000 students are black, a historically low number that the Black Student Union highlighted last week when it presented a series of demands to administrators that aim to improve the racial climate.
A group of state legislators had demanded an investigation into who was behind the party, including possible student suspensions and revocation of fraternity permits. On the Net: UC San Diego, http://battlehate.ucsd.edu/.
Ragga Muffins Festival Celebrates Reggae Culture BY SLAV KANDYBA CONTRIBUTING WRITER
Reggae culture and music were at the center of Ragga Muffins Festival, a two-day event that drew tens of thousands of fans from Feb. 20 to 21 to enjoy authentic food and a powerful sense of community. The festivities began Feb. 20 in the early afternoon with reggae stars such as Lloyd Brown, Mikey Spice and Big Youth taking the stage inside of the arena. By 4 p.m., as the audience began to swell, Gramps Morgan took to the stage, winning over fans with his tenor voice and smooth, soulful reggae (think Jamaica’s Brian McKnight). If his set sounded polished, it wasn’t just because Gramps is part of the venerable Morgan Heritage music family. It had a lot to do with the fact that he recently came off the nationwide Evolver Tour, opening for John Legend and India.Arie. As it has for the past 29 years, Ragga Muffins serves as a platform to bring reggae fans from all over the region to one gathering. Although most of these musicians are not in the mainstream and appeal to an older, more eclectic audience, their appeal and the vibe in general is undeniable. In short, outside of multiplatinum, Grammy Award-winning Shaggy, a casual fan wouldn’t recognize the artists by name. But seeing these talented yet under-theradar musicians live might make converts out of many a fan. From veterans like Don Carlos, Frankie Paul and Lloyd Brown and Big Youth to a fresh face like Mikey Spice, who plays more than a dozen instruments, Ragga Muffins was balanced. Add in the variety of the bands that backed up the singers, and it was a splendid affair. From Sierra Leone’s Bajah and the Dry Eye Crew, whose music was featured in Leonardo DiCaprio’s movie “Blood Diamond,” to Mystic Roots Band and Yellow Wall Dub Squad, there was enough live music to win over the worst critic.
CSU IS Photo by G. ALLAN WHITEHEAD
A performance at the Ragga Muffins Festival.
About the only problem with a festival like Ragga Muffins is that festival-goers must mentally prepare themselves to withstand crowds and long lines, whether to get in, to get food or get beer. The crowds swelled by the thousands as the festival progressed. As afternoon became evening, the entrance to the arena became a sea of humanity. Inside, the food yard and the convention room with
vendor booths overflowed with concert-goers, too. It’s not hard to see why Ragga Muffins will mark its 30th anniversary next year. The sense of culture and love was unequivocal, and the music was simply the soundtrack to the good vibes. And the sense of community that was fostered was unmatched. And of course there was also the food. From East African cuisine
(the jungle fries topped with beef and greens was indelible) to jerk chicken, oxtail, goat curry and kabobs, there was enough variety to please even the most discerning foodie. At the end of the day — if one chose to stick around that long — it became apparent that, by design, the Ragga Muffins Festival is all about a complete experience that stimulates all of the senses and leaves a lasting positive impression.
The 43-year-old Birotte will oversee an office of about 275 prosecutors responsible for a sevencounty jurisdiction covering Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara and Ventura counties. The office is headquartered in Los Angeles. Birotte replaces Thomas P. O’Brien, who announced in August that he was stepping down.
a vulgar racial slur that even appeared on federal maps, but it was changed to “negro” in the 1960s. About 90 people, including some two dozen Ballard descendants, attended the renaming ceremony Feb. 20 at the site where Ballard owned a 320-acre homestead near what is now the community of Seminole Hot Springs. The U.S. Geological Survey’s Board on Geographic Names approved the change last year after a request from the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors. A permanent plaque with Ballard’s name and story is being placed near the top of the peak. Ballard was part of a small group that founded Los Angeles’ African Methodist Episcopal Church in 1869 but left Los Angeles for the mountains 50 miles away a decade later. Historians believe that Ballard and his family were fleeing growing segregationist polices in the city.
BRIEFS Continued from page 1
Andre Birotte Confirmed by Senate as U.S. Atty. (AP) — The Senate has confirmed Andre Birotte Jr. as the next U.S. attorney for the Central District of California.
Negrohead Mountain Renamed for Pioneer
Andre Birotte Jr.
Birotte, currently inspector general for the Los Angeles Police Commission, was confirmed by the Senate Feb. 11. He was nominated to the post by President Barack Obama.
(AP) — A peak previously known as Negrohead Mountain in Southern California’s Santa Monica range was officially renamed in honor of a black pioneer who settled the area in the 19th Century. The 2,031-foot mountain near Malibu, the highest peak in the area, was renamed Ballard Mountain after John Ballard, a blacksmith and former slave who bought land on the mountain in 1880. The name originally contained
California State University ofﬁcials will reach out to more than 100,000 families in African American congregations throughout California beginning in February for the next several months. They will encourage students to begin preparing for college in middle school and will offer information and inspiration on how to begin a successful journey to the CSU. To learn more about the California State University and how to prepare for college, attend CSU Super Sunday at a church near you this month. Check www.calstate.edu/super sunday for the dates, times and locations.
The California State University WORKING FOR CALIFORNIA
L.A. WATTS TIMES
February 25, 2010
ARTS & CULTURE BLACK HISTORY MONTH FEATURE
Reflections in Black and White A LEGEND — Born in Shreveport, La., on Oct. 2, 1937, late attorney Johnnie L. Cochran Jr. (center) became a household name upon successfully defending O.J. Simpson, who was charged with killing wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman in 1994. Other celebrity clients include Sean “P. Diddy” Combs and Michael Jackson. But prior to his rise to Photo by HARRY ADAMS international fame, Cochran broke barriers as an African American lawyer in Los Angeles with a penchant for representing disadvantaged blacks. His path to prominence began after graduating from Los Angeles High School in 1955, a time when black students were few and far between. Cochran went on in 1959 to earn a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration from the University of California, Los Angeles, and a Juris Doctor from Loyola Marymount University School of Law in 1962. Upon passing the California bar in 1963, Cochran began working as a Los Angeles Deputy City Attorney in the criminal division. Before long, he launched the firm, Cochran, Atkins & Evans. Although Cochran lost his first high-profile case, involving a widow who sued police officers who had fatally shot her husband, he realized that the case had galvanized the black community to seek justice. In the 1970s, Cochran became known as the go-to lawyer in the black community to fight police brutality and other social justice issues. In 1978, Cochran achieved a major milestone when he became the first black assistant district attorney in Los Angeles County. Well-known among celebrity clientele and the general public alike, Cochran died of a brain tumor March 29, 2005, in Los Angeles. In memoriam, Los Angeles Unified School District officials unanimously approved the renaming of Mount Vernon Middle School, which Cochran attended, to Johnnie L. Cochran Jr. Middle School on Jan. 24, 2006. The following year, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center opened the new Johnnie L. Cochran Jr. Brain Tumor Center, a research center headed by Dr. Keith Black, the neurosurgeon who’d treated Cochran. This picture is part of an ongoing photo series, titled “Reflections in Black and White,” that will be published regularly in the L.A. Watts Times, courtesy of the Institute for Arts and Media at California State University, Northridge.
‘Blood Done Sign My Name’ a True Civil Rights Account BY DARLENE DONLOE CONTRIBUTING WRITER
Nate Parker is quickly becoming the next “it” guy in Hollywood. A sturdy actor with plenty of charm, brains and good looks, his body of work proves he’s going in the right direction. In his current work, Parker, whose credits include “The Great Debaters,” “The Secret Life of Bees” and “Pride,” plays civil rights activist Dr. Ben Chavis in the civil rights drama, “Blood Done Sign My Name,” released in theaters Feb. 19. The movie recently made its world premiere as the opening night film for the 18th Annual Pan African Film Festival, which closed last week. This true story, which takes place in the 1970s, chronicles the racial unrest in Oxford, N.C., after a white businessman and his two sons are acquitted of viciously murdering a 23-year-old black Vietnam War veteran. The movie, written and directed by Jeb Stuart, is an adaptation of Timothy Tyson’s best-selling book by the same name. I recently caught up with Parker to talk about the impact and importance of the movie and his
America’s Jazz and Blues Station www.jazzandblues.org
CIVIL RIGHTS ACTIVIST — Nate Parker, center, stars as Dr. Ben Chavis in the new civil rights-oriented movie “Blood Done Sign My Name.”
portrayal of Chavis. LAWT: Why did you want to do this movie? NP: The main reason is because this film creates a model of leadership that I can apply right now in 2010 to some of the issues we need to deal with in our community. So, I saw the leadership qualities of Dr. Chavis. I saw what he did. I saw he stepped into the need of his community. And, I thought, ‘How can I apply that same quality? What are the needs of my community? What are we dealing with’ — whether it be incarceration or diseases, lack of education, illiteracy — those are the things we need to tackle? LAWT: Were you familiar with this story? NP: No, I knew who Dr. Chavis was, but I didn’t know this story. At 12, he was a member of the NAACP. At 13, he integrated the local library. I had no idea. LAWT: How did you go about developing the character of Dr. Chavis? NP: I looked to his legacy. I looked in history and did research. I realized his father was a pastor who served in WWII and had a great sense of pride in who he was. His great, great grandfather was John Chavis. He was an educator in the 1800s. He taught slave children and was beat to death for teaching
children to read. I also looked to Frederick Douglass. They used the words of Douglass in the film. These people passed down wisdom. LAWT: How do you decide what roles you’re going to take? NP: It’s integrity. It’s as simple as that. Will every film I do be something on civil rights? No! But, I’m not going to allow myself to be emasculated. I’m not going to allow myself to blaspheme. Not going to do something that’s going to separate me from my people or push down my people. I can’t be part of the oppression. I have to be part of the solution. LAWT: Some are calling you the next Denzel Washington. NP: Wow! Thank you everyone. It’s a blessing just to be mentioned in the same sentence as someone who has done so much for the community and the film business. That’s an incredible compliment. I can only hope God positions me to accept that kind of responsibility. “Blood Done Sign My Name,” an independent film being distributed by Paladin, stars Parker, Lela Rochon, Omar Benson Miller, Golden Globe winner Ricky Schroder, Nick Searcy, Michael Rooker, Darrin Dewitt Henson, Gattlin Griffith and Afemo Omilami.
Celebrate Black History Month
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February 25, 2010
L.A. WATTS TIMES
ARTS & CULTURE The 2010 Black History Scholarship Luncheon, presented by the Southern California Chapter of the Florida A&M University Alumni Association, took place Feb. 20 at the Omni Hotel in downtown Los Angeles.
Actress Anika Noni Rose
Singer Freda Payne
Actresses Judy Pace, Nichelle Nichols, Beverly Todd
WGO Continued from page 4 THREE STRIKES — Families to Amend California’s Three Strikes invites the community to an event Feb. 28, 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., at St. Luke’s Parish Hall, 525 E. 7th St., Long Beach. The event is designed to build support for ongoing efforts to reform the Three Strikes law. Information: (213) 746-4844, www. facts1.com.
Emmett Till and mother
SHORT TAKES THEATER • In celebration of Black History Month, “The Ballad of Emmett Till” will run at the Fountain Theatre, 5060 Fountain Ave., Los Angeles, through April 3. Ifa Bayeza’s integration of past, present, fact and legend turns the story of the 1955 murder of 14year-old Emmett Till into a work of music and poetic language. The show will run Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. Tickets are $25 to $28. Information: (323) 663-1525, www.fountaintheatre.com. • The Inglewood Improv will salute “Blaxploitation Films” with participatory improvisational shows Feb. 26 to 27, 7:30 p.m. The show will take place at 2519 W. Manchester Blvd., Inglewood. Reservations are required. Admission is $7 or $5 with Blaxploitation-era attire. Information: (213) 309-0407. • Ebony Repertory Theatre will present “A Celebration of Black History: A Journey in Four Parts Part IV: A Celebration of Women” Feb. 27, 8 p.m., at Nate Holden Performing Arts Center, 4718 W. Washington Blvd., Los Angeles. The production will celebrate the many accomplishments and achievements of the black woman through literature, dance and music. General admission is $15. Admission for children 12 and under (available at the door only) is $8. Information: (323) 964-9766, info@ebonyrep. org.
• The Skirball Cultural Center will present Helen Hayes Award-winning theater artist Gin Hammond in the original, onewoman play “Returning the Bones” March 4, 8 p.m., at 2701 N. Sepulveda Blvd., Los Angeles. The play explores the true life and times of Hammond’s aunt, African American physician and activist Carolyn Beatrice Montier, aka “Bebe,” now 85. In 1946, upon being invited to finish her medical degree in Europe and represent Howard University at the Students’ International Clinical Congress, the young African American student from rural Texas faced a difficult decision: whether to stay in the South to continue risking her life for civil rights in America, or escape to Paris and live the life she had always dreamed of. General admission is $20. Students admission is $10. Advance tickets are available online at www.skirball.org and by phone at (877) 722-4849. Information: (310) 440-4500.
MUSIC • “Bones and Blues,” featuring violinist Karen Briggs, takes place Feb. 26, 8 p.m. to 1 a.m., at the Watts Labor Community Action Committee’s Phoenix Hall, 10950 S. Central Ave., Los Angeles. Briggs will also host her CD release party for “Soulchestral Groove,” her first independent release after the PBS Special “Yanni: Live at the Acropolis!” Admission is $15 in advance and $25 at the door. Information: (323) 563-5639.
KNBC News staffers Chris Schauble and Beverly White and businessman and philanthropist Bernard Kinsey
BLACK HISTORY — The California African American Museum (CAAM) will present three events to round out Black History Month. First is “Rekindling the Bond,” taking place Feb. 25, 6 p.m. The event explores connections between blacks and Jews by presenting testimonials from civil rights activists. Second is “The Ila People and the Myth of the Mason-Wasp,” taking place Feb. 27, at noon and 2 p.m. According to a myth of the Ila people of Zambia, fire
was brought to earth by the masonwasp. Last is the free presentation “The Textures, Performativity and Therapeutics of African Diaspora Religion,” taking place Feb. 28, 2 p.m. The event takes place in the Loker Conference Center of California Science Center, 700 State Drive, Exposition Park, Los Angeles. The first two events take place at the CAAM, 600 Exposition Park, Los Angeles. RSVP: (213) 744-2024. See WGO, page 8
L.A. WATTS TIMES
February 25, 2010
Obama Puts Forward Last-Ditch Health Care Plan BY RICARDO ALONSO-ZALDIVAR AND ERICA WERNER AP WRITERS
WASHINGTON — Making a last-ditch effort to save his health care overhaul, President Barack Obama on Feb. 22 put forward a nearly $1 trillion, 10-year compromise that would allow the government to deny or roll back egregious insurance premium increases that infuriate consumers. The White House immediately demanded an up-or-down vote in Congress on the plan, or something close to it. But it’s uncertain that such sweeping legislation can pass. Republicans are virtually unanimous in opposing it, and some Democrats who previously supported a health care remake are having second thoughts in an election year. After a year in pursuit, Obama may
have to settle for a modest fallback version of what once was his top domestic priority. Release of the plan on the White House Web site came days before Obama’s one-of-a-kind, televised health care summit with Democrats and Republicans. The White House said the plan would provide coverage to more than 31 million Americans now uninsured without adding to the federal deficit. On Capitol Hill, Democrats cautiously welcomed the proposal, while Republicans gave a thumbs down. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said in a statement she looks forward to reviewing the plan and discussing it at the summit, which takes place Feb. 25. “We must pass comprehensive,
affordable health insurance reform, and I am hopeful that (the Feb. 25) meeting will help us achieve this goal,” she said, reaffirming her commitment. House Republican Leader John Boehner of Ohio dismissed the proposal, saying, “The president has crippled the credibility of this week’s summit by proposing the same massive government takeover of health care based on a partisan bill the American people have already rejected.” The 11-page plan is Obama’s most detailed proposal since he took up the health care overhaul effort a year ago. White House spokesman Dan Pfeiffer said the plan is an “opening bid” going into the Feb. 25 summit. It would cover more Americans — but also includes a new tax on
investment income that Republicans object to. “The president is coming into the meeting with an open mind,” Pfeiffer said. “If the Republicans do, too, our hope is that we can find some areas of agreement. If the Republicans bring good ideas to the table we will find ways — look for ways to incorporate those into our proposals.” Weeks ago, the president and congressional Democrats were on the verge of an historic step — a long-sought remake of the nation’s health care system after a half-century of unsuccessful attempts by scores of politicians. Then Republican Scott Brown stunned Washington with an upset win in the Massachusetts Senate race, denying Democrats their 60seat majority and reversing any political momentum. Now, Obama may have to settle for a scaled-down plan that smooths some of the rough edges from the current health insurance system, but stops well short of providing coverage for nearly all Americans. It could include ideas Democrats and Republicans have both supported, such as federal funding for high-risk pools that would extend coverage to people denied because of medical problems, and a new insurance marketplace for small employers and individuals buying their own policies. Determined not to abandon Democratic bills that took a year of arduous effort, Obama’s plan builds on them. That’s no guarantee that it won’t run into problems. The plan omits a government insurance plan sought by liberals
and viewed as a nonstarter by conservatives and some congressional moderates. It includes Senate-passed restrictions on federal funding for abortion that have been adamantly opposed by abortion foes as well as abortion rights supporters. The new White House plan would give the federal government the power to regulate the health insurance industry much like a public utility. The Health and Human Services Department — in conjunction with state authorities — would be able to deny substantial premium increases, limit them, or demand rebates for consumers. The plan closely tracks the bill passed by Senate Democrats on Christmas Eve, with changes intended to make it acceptable to their House counterparts. It would require most Americans to carry health insurance coverage, with federal subsidies to help many afford the premiums. Insurance companies would be barred from denying coverage to people with medical problems or charging them more. Like the Senate bill, the Obama plan would create competitive insurance markets in each state for small businesses and people buying their own coverage. It would strip out a special Medicaid deal the Senate bill granted to Nebraska that drew public scorn as the “Cornhusker Kickback,” but leaves in a special Medicaid deal for Louisiana. Estimated to cost about $1 trillion over 10 years, Obama’s plan would be paid for by a mix of Medicare cuts, tax increases and new fees on health care industries. On the Net: www.whitehouse. gov.
WGO Continued from page 7 COMIC AID — Evan Lionel will host, and comedians Earthquake, Joe Torry and others will take part in, “Comic Aide Haiti.” The event includes two programs: the Walk and the Tour. The Walk takes place Feb.
Can Vitamin D protect African Americans from High Blood Pressure and Diabetes? Researchers at the Charles Drew University are seeking volunteers to participate in the study designed to answer this question. You will be compensated for your time and effort plus you will know your vitamin D level and additional lab values. Charles Drew University of Medicine and Science (located in South Los Angeles) is looking for overweight African Americans between the ages of 18 – 70 who have high blood pressure for a research study. The goal of this study is to see how vitamin D helps blood vessels work. Vitamin D is a natural nutrient that balances calcium in the body. A little comes from our normal daily diet. Most of it comes from the skin after being exposed to sunlight. Individuals with a darker skin color make less Vitamin D. A low Vitamin D level can cause health problems that may increase the chance of getting high blood pressure or diabetes or the blood vessels may not work normally. Because African Americans have darker skin, they are more likely than most other racial/ethnic group to have low vitamin D levels. This study will look at treating African Americans with low vitamin D levels.
Please contact Ms. Cynthia Gonzalez at Charles Drew University at 323.249.5709 for further information.
27, 2 to 6 p.m., in Leimert Park. Restaurants, book stores and clubs will be a part of the Walk. Admission is free at most of the venues, but donations are requested for the Haiti recovery effort. Organizations tied to Haiti will be on site to accept donations. The “Comic Aide for Haiti Tour” takes place March 5, 6 and 13 at Barnsdall Gallery Theatre in Hollywood, Warner Grand Theatre in San Pedro, and Madrid Theatre in Canoga Park, respectively. Information: Impact4Haiti.org, www.visiontheatre.org. BEREAVEMENT — City of Carson Senior Services is sponsoring a Wednesday morning Bereavement Education and Support Group from 10 a.m. to noon that began Feb. 24 and will continue for 13 more weeks. Adults of all ages who are grieving the death of a loved one are welcome to attend. The program is free and takes place at the Carson Community Center, 3 Civic Plaza Drive, Carson. Also offered on Wednesdays is a nonstructured drop-in support group from 12:15 to 1:15 p.m. on an asneeded basis. Information: (310) 5412930. POETRY — “The MoE Green Poetry Show” with Rafael F.J. Alvarado and Brett Candace will take place Feb. 26, 8 p.m., at Stories Books & Cafe, 1716 Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles. Information: (213) 4133733. See WGO, page 9
February 25, 2010
L.A. WATTS TIMES
HEALTH THE PULSE International Women’s Day Celebration Taking Place The public can participate in celebrating International Women’s Day on March 6 by attending the “Celebrating our Power/Building our Skills” event. The event will take place at the office of Planned Parenthood Los Angeles, 400 W. 30th St., Los Angeles. Lunch will be provided. RSVP information: Martha Dina Arguello, email@example.com (and state if you will be bringing children).
First Lady to Governors: Address Child Obesity WASHINGTON (AP) — First lady Michelle Obama says child obesity is both a financial and health crisis. She remarked to governors that nearly one in every three kids in the United States is overweight or obese. The first lady added that many will develop diabetes and other conditions that are costly to treat. She also remarked to governors at their winter meeting in Washington that states must tackle childhood obesity as part of addressing the overall health care problem. The first lady is leading a new public awareness campaign against childhood obesity.
Early, Aggressive Therapy Eyed in Blocking AIDS SAN DIEGO (AP) — Aggressive, early anti-viral therapy might provide a way to derail the spread of AIDS, a battle where a successful vaccine remains elusive. Called “test-and-treat,” the goal is to catch new AIDS cases early and administer therapy to reduce the amount of virus in patients’ systems in an effort to prevent them from spreading the illness. While anti-retroviral therapy has increased in the last five years, it has often been given too late in the course of infection. By the time people start therapy, they have infected most of those that they would have infected anyway, Brian Williams of the South African
WGO Continued from page 8 NETWORKING — The National Sales Network-Los Angeles will present its West Coast Summit Feb. 26 to 27 at the Sheraton Gateway Hotel, Los Angeles. During the event, attendees can network with companies looking to hire, expand business resource contacts, enhance professional development, learn techniques to boost one’s career or business and listen to live entertainment, according to NSN. Group discounts are available. Register online at www.nsnla.org. EXHIBITION — The Fowler Museum exhibit “Art, Activism, Access: 40 Years of Ethnic Studies at UCLA” will open Feb. 28, noon to 5 p.m. The exhibit will showcase the roles of the UCLA Ethnic Studies Centers in decades of campus and community activism, in protests to protect academic freedom, in campaigns for equal opportunity and accessibility in the classroom, and in demonstrations against discrimination and bias in higher education.
Centre for Epidemiological Modelling and Analysis told the annual meeting on the American Association for the Advancement of Science Feb. 20. In America, 20 percent to 25 percent of infected reportedly people don’t know it. Aggressively testing people for HIV and treating them with anti-retroviral drugs could stop the virus from spreading, Williams said. Early treatment can reduce the load of virus in the blood to one ten-thousandth of what it would be otherwise. Such a drop makes the carrier just one-twenty-fifth as likely to pass on the infection, Williams said.
Millions of Seniors Face 14 Percent Premium Increase for Popular Medicare Advantage Plans WASHINGTON (AP) — Millions of seniors who signed up for popular private health plans through Medicare are facing sharp premium increases this year — another sign that spiraling costs are a problem even for those with solid insurance. A study released Feb. 19 by a major consulting firm found that premiums for Medicare Advantage plans offering medical and prescription drug coverage jumped 14.2 percent on average in 2010, after an increase of only 5.2 percent the previous year. Some 8.5 million elderly and disabled Americans are in the plans. “These premium increases fit within a broader trend of increased financial pressure on the insured,” said Lindsey Spindle, a vice president of Avalere Health, the firm that produced the study. “We see very large premium increases and a continued upward creep in how much out-of-pocket expenses beneficiaries are expected to pay.” The Medicare findings are bad news for President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul. That’s because the higher Medicare Advantage premiums for 2010 followed a cut in government payments to the private plans last year. And the Democratic bills pending in Congress call for even more cuts.
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MORNING OF ‘ME’ — L.A. Care Health Plan celebrated National Cancer Prevention Month with an event intended to raise awareness about the health issues facing women. On Feb. 20, women participated in “A Morning of ‘Me’ Time,” where they were able to receive free health screenings and listen to inspirational talks. The celebration took place at L.A. Care’s Family Resource Center at 3111 W. Century Blvd., Inglewood. Pictured (left): “A Morning of ‘Me’ Time” participant receives a screening. Pictured (right): Radio personality and author Mother Love discusses adequate portion sizes. Mother Love lost 111 pounds and offered tips about how she’s kept the weight off.
HARRIS Continued from page 2 school and get the education they deserve — the education for which those who came before us fought and died. After I was elected district attorney for San Francisco, I learned that 44 percent of the truant students were in elementary school. I decided to partner with the San Francisco Unified School District to combat elementary school truancy. Every fall, I sent a letter to all parents informing them that truancy is against the law and that I will enforce the law. During the school year, prosecutors from my office hold media-
tions with parents and truant students at schools to equip them with services to improve their children’s attendance. In most cases, attendance improves. But when it doesn’t, my office prosecutes parents in a specialized Truancy Court that combines court monitoring with tailored family services. We have service providers on hand to help resolve underlying issues such as unstable housing, substance abuse, mental health issues or unresolved special education needs. Our strategy has worked. In the last year alone, truancy among elementary school students in San Francisco dropped by 20 percent. The students in our Truancy
Initiative are getting needed services, and they are back in school. While we ultimately don’t know what these young students will choose to do with their lives, we do know that now they have a chance. It is up to us to get our children in school. We know what happens when they are not there. Let’s call on our locally- and state-elected leaders to recognize that the children in a community should be thought of as the children of us all. We must recognize the tipping point and intervene early — before it’s too late. Kamala Harris is the district attorney of San Francisco, and is making a bid to be California attorney general.
L.A. WATTS TIMES
February 25, 2010
BRAD PYE JR.
Continued from page 1
SPORTS BEAT Notes, quotes and things picked up on the run from coast-to-coast and all the stops in between and beyond Record-holder and speed skater Shani Davis, a heavy favorite to win his favorite race, the 1,500 meter, had to settle for the silver medal in the Vancouver Olympics. The Netherlandsâ€™ Mark Tuitert won in the time of 1:45.57.2. Davisâ€™ 1:46.13.4 was good for second in his second straight Olympics. Even though Davis was a flop in some shorter speed skating races, he didnâ€™t leave Vancouver with
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