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Chicano Latino Youth Leadership Project

It could have been any other day at the County. Debate in the Board of Supervisors’ hearing room was in full swing.  The topic?  Redistricting.

Insightful commentary came from the chairs generally occupied by Supervisors Gloria Molina, Mark Ridley-Thomas, Zev Yaroslavsky, Don Knabe, and Michael D. Antonovich, but something was different.  Each of the Supervisors’ chairs was occupied by students just barely of voting age, participants in the Chicano Latino Youth Leadership Project.

The Chicano Latino Youth Leadership Project, Los Angeles Institute (CLYLP LAI) is an intensive three-day leadership training conference held at the University of California Los Angeles that was developed in 2006 in response to the overwhelming number of applicants from the Los Angeles region to the Sacramento CLYLP Conference. Now in its 5th year, the Los Angeles Institute has served 200 college-bound Latino students, and nearly 150 of their parents and family members, who are from Los Angeles ’ most diverse communities.

The Los Angeles Institute is designed to develop student’s leadership potential and increase their knowledge of Los Angeles ’ cultural and political landscape by focusing on CLYLP’s “Four C’s” model of success: 1) culture, 2) community, 3) college and 4) careers. The program includes a Civic Day held at City Hall and the County Administration Building in Downtown Los Angeles, Community and Career Day and a College Day at UCLA. Past guest speakers include: Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, Los Angeles County Supervisors Mark Ridley Thomas and Gloria Molina, President and General Counsel of MALDEF Thomas A. Saenz, and former Lincoln High School teacher and activist, Sal Castro. Overall, students gain valuable leadership training skills, meet and learn from many accomplished professionals, receive important college information, and create long lasting friendships and peer/professional networks.

For more information on the Los Angeles Institute, please visit: http://www.clylp.org/

Meet the Contractors at the Southbay Energy Efficiency Demonstration (SEED) House

Saturday, August 20, 2011
10 am – 12 pm

 

Southbay Energy Efficiency Demonstration (SEED) House
5021 Lennox Blvd
Lennox, CA   90304

Join us for a special Homeowner workshop on Saturday, August 20 to learn how to save money, increase energy and water efficiency, and earn up to $6,000 in rebates and incentives from Energy Upgrade California!

Agenda

10am – 11am – Homeowners Workshop

Learn how to save money by making your home more energy efficient and how to maximize your rebate with Energy Upgrade California!

11am – 12:00pm – Lunch & Meet the Contractors

Afterwards, enjoy complimentary refreshments, enter to win prizes, and meet with our qualified Participating Contractors to get the ball rolling on your energy efficiency upgrade!

Event is FREE, but please pre-register now

Please call SBESC at (310) 371-7222 if you have questions.


 

Mark Ridley-Thomas & Gloria Molina each propose new LA County redistricting plans

Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas and Supervisor Gloria Molina each proposed new redistricting plans today, both of which adhere to the spirit and letter of federal civil rights laws and as a result would create two Latino-opportunity voting districts in the County.

“I have maintained from the start of the redistricting process that our top priority as a Board must be to adhere to federal standards, including the Voting Rights Act requirements,” said Supervisor Ridley-Thomas. “These requirements were not created abstractly to promote the political dominance of one interest group at the expense of other groups, but to serve all voters fairly. That the maps submitted today by Supervisor Molina and myself result in the creation of Latino-opportunity voting districts is purely a consequence of our commitment to abide by the civil rights laws that undergird our representative democracy and that have made our County better.”[pullquote_right]“I have maintained from the start of the redistricting process that our top priority as a Board must be to adhere to federal standards, including the Voting Rights Act requirements,” said Supervisor Ridley-Thomas.[/pullquote_right]

“Our new maps simply follow the numbers,” said Supervisor Molina. “By doing so, our new maps honor both the letter and the spirit of the Voting Rights Act, which outlaws voting discrimination based on race and serves as the legal foundation of our modern Civil Rights Movement. If approved, either new map will ensure that no minority group’s voting power is unfairly enhanced or diluted at the expense of another. Our new maps simply follow the law and the legal precedent set by the Garza vs. County of Los Angeles U.S. Supreme Court case. The Garza ruling clearly recognized and acknowledged how generations of disenfranchisement based on race prevented Los Angeles County from achieving the colorblind society we all strive for. We should persist on this righteous path because, in doing so, we propel the spirit of our American Civil Rights Movement into this new century.”

Supervisor Ridley-Thomas’ proposed map, submitted as the “African-American Coalition Map,” moves the eastern San Fernando Valley into the first District, connecting it with downtown Los Angeles and unincorporated East Los Angeles, among other changes, and designates the I-605 corridor portion of the San Gabriel Valley as the Fourth District.

The map also includes a coastal district that runs from Malibu through Long Beach to Cerritos. It also consolidates the central L.A. county community of Florence-Firestone, an unincorporated area currently divided between two supervisorial districts. Since unincorporated areas receive the bulk of their municipal services from the County, uniting Florence-Firestone is of particular importance and will diminish confusion and promote greater governmental accountability.

Supervisor Molina’s proposal, submitted as the “Voting Rights Compliance Map” is similar to the coalition map, leaving the Second and Fifth Supervisorial Districts largely unchanged. However, it proposes dramatic changes elsewhere. The First District would contain the I-605 corridor portion of the San Gabriel Valley and the Third District would stretch from the San Fernando Valley just west of the I-405 through Eagle Rock and downtown Los Angeles as far south as Lynwood and include communities to the west of the I-710.

Every 10 years, the County is legally required to use data from the latest U.S. Census to redraw district boundaries to ensure equitable distribution of population. It must also, however, avoid even unintentional disenfranchisement of minority voters. The map currently supported by a majority of the Board falls short in this regard: it concentrates Latinos into one district and disperses the rest into four districts, clearly diluting their voting power.

“Three times in 1965, African Americans marched across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama, linking arms to insist that this nation live up to the ideals set forth in the Constitution,” said Supervisor Ridley-Thomas . “Stalwarts of the Civil Rights movement — Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., John Lewis, Rev. Ralph Abernathy and thousands of marchers faced down the opposition and resistance in their way so that all Americans would have equal voting rights under the law.”

With the introduction of these two maps, the Board will consider at least three proposals: one recommended by its Boundary Review Committee called Plan A-2; Supervisor Molina’s VRA Compliance Map; and the African- American Coalition Map introduced by Supervisor Ridley-Thomas.

To view the maps submitted by the Supervisors as well as those submitted by the public, visit www.redistricting.lacounty.gov and going to the “Boundary Review Committee” tab and selecting the “Submitted Plans” option.

Hispanic Population & LA County Supervisorial District Maps – 1970-2011 (PDF)

 

Summer Reading Program Ends but the Celebration of Learning and Reading Continues

Laughter, chants, and cheers were heard throughout the lower level of Kenneth Hahn State Recreation Area in Los Angeles from Freedom School students and student interns from all four Second District school sites as the children, along with parents and special guests, gathered together one last time to celebrate the end of this year’s program.[pullquote_right] “Keep reading, learning, and expanding your minds. Continue to celebrate the power within you, in school and in life,” said Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas.[/pullquote_right]

Throughout the afternoon Freedom School students jumped in the jumper, stopped by the bookmobile and had the opportunity to speak with special guest Antwone Fisher who spoke to the entire group of young scholars about overcoming dyslexia and the connection between reading and being successful.

The abundance of hugs given out by the young scholars told the story of a bittersweet ending to a summer of fun; the tight bonds formed between the children and their older mentors will not easily be erased.

When asked what she liked most about Freedom Schools, Zarian Watson, age nine, from Inglewood, said,” I loved Harambee, jumping around, and reading my new favorite book Whatever Happened to Humpty Dumpty.”

Her mother, Cheryl Watson, added “My daughter couldn’t wait to go to Freedom Schools. One Monday morning, I wasn’t feeling well enough to drive and she cried to go to Freedom Schools.”

The Freedom School Program is rooted in the work of the Civil Rights movement, specifically the work of college-age youth during the 1964 Mississippi Freedom Summer Project. Freedom Schools apply an intergenerational approach in which college students are trained as “Servant Leader Interns” who work as reading tutors and role models, motivating children to develop positive attitudes about themselves and their abilities.


Established in 1992 by Children’s Defense Fund founder and children’s advocate Marian Wright Edelman, Freedom Schools provide rigorous, quality summer and after school instruction to children in urban environments. The programming, which is both challenging and entertaining, includes reading, arts and crafts, dance, music, field trips, sports, and community service. Students begin the morning with Harambee, a time of informal sharing based on the Kenyan tradition of community, during which students cheer, chant motivational songs and make announcements; it closes with a moment of silence.

Throughout the summer, Freedom Schools hosted over 200 student scholars. These scholars attended sessions at one of four Second District sites: First Church of God in Inglewood; First New Christian Fellowship in South L.A.; Bethel A.M.E. Church in South L.A.; and Community Coalition at Foshay Learning Center in South L.A.

After a final chant was recited and the applause stopped, the Supervisor offered these words to the young scholars:

“Keep reading, learning, and expanding your minds. Continue to celebrate the power within you, in school and in life.”

Last summer, the Children Defense Fund Freedom School program served over 9,600 children in 84 cities and 29 states, and Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, worked with Edelman to introduce the program to the Second District.

Pillar of Empowerment – Lovick Career Journal

PILLAR OF EMPOWERMENT
Mark Ridley-Thomas
is a foremost advocate of neighborhood participation in government decision-making.  Lucky for us his neighborhood includes USC.

In 1968, Mark Ridley-Thomas was a seventh grader at George Washington Carver Middle School in southeast Los Angeles. At Victory Baptist Church near his school campus, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. often preached and organized. When asked if he remembers April 4, 1968, the Los Angeles County supervisor is visibly astonished, rightfully so, that such a question could be pondered. “Like it was yesterday,” said Ridley-Thomas, 12 at the time. “When the news broke, people were moving. Activity exploded. There was no way not to know what was going on. It was clear by virtue of the fact that the entire nation was enveloped by this historic event, Dr. Martin Luther King’s assassination.” Los Angeles was still reeling from the Watts uprising of 1965, a five-day tragedy that left 34 dead. “Things hadn’t fully settled down in this town,” Ridley-Thomas said in his soft spoken, no-nonsense demeanor. “This was the ’60s and all of what that represented.”[pullquote_right] “It was his voice, now unmistakable, that we heard on radios across the nation, giving his immortal speech, ‘I Have a Dream,’” Ridley-Thomas said.[/pullquote_right]

Integration and desegregation in L.A. schools were raging. At Carver, the youngster was selected for a summer program that sent him to The Claremont Colleges’ campuses.

“I studied everything from astronomy to zoology, literally,” he said.

Ridley-Thomas spent following summers on other college campuses, taking classes with middle school students of various minority groups.

“This was probably formative in terms of my consciousness,” he said, “in terms of coalition building and seeing the intrinsic value in all people. Later, it was not difficult to connect that with nonviolence and how it had revolutionary implications for how we could live and transform our society.”

The early opportunity put him on an accelerated educational track.

“I don’t recall being a straight-A student, but I did fine in school,” said Ridley-Thomas, the youngest of five children whose father was a construction worker and mother, a seasonal clerk for the Internal Revenue Service. “If nothing else, I was a strong listener and had an aptitude for learning.”

At Manual Arts Senior High School, he participated in an integration program that offered courses in other L.A. schools. Inspired by King, he already knew he wanted to focus on the social sciences.

“It was his voice, now unmistakable, that we heard on radios across the nation, giving his immortal speech, ‘I Have a Dream,’” Ridley-Thomas said inside his satellite Exposition Park Drive office, where a large bust of King near his desk seemed to be listening in. “I became a student of the philosophy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. from that point on.”

[Read the full article on page 30 of the Lovick Career Journal here.]