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Supervisor Ridley-Thomas receives 2011 National Leadership Award

Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas was honored with the National Leadership Award from the National Forum for Black Administrators at its eighth annual awards banquet Thursday, July 21 in Washington DC. The leadership award, which also was given to Missouri Congressman Emanuel Cleaver, II, and Harry E. Johnson, Sr., president and chief executive officer of the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial Project Foundation, Inc. is given to public servants who have demonstrated an unselfish commitment to serving the community, exhibited exemplary leadership, and achieved excellence in public service. In his acceptance speech, Supervisor Ridley-Thomas said, “I am humbled and honored to be recognized by the national forum. “I strive not only to be an effective leader in the political arena, but to always be mindful that I follow in the footsteps of African-American trailblazers who opened the door for me and many others who are dedicated to this work.”

The Supervisor added: “I’d also like to commend the forum for its efforts of preparing the next generation of young people to be conduits of new ideas, innovation, and change in public service positions.”

Founded in 1983, the National Forum for Black Public Administrators is a professional membership organization dedicated to advancing Black leadership in the public sector. To date the organization has 2,700 members, representing more that 350 jurisdictions in 36 states.

The forum is committed to increasing the number of African Americans appointed to executive positions in public service organizations by grooming aspiring leaders for senior public management positions.

Press Release (PDF Document)
Photo Gallery (Flickr Set)
Photo Gallery (SmugMug Gallery)

Community Meeting in Inglewood

The Second Supervisorial District has long been a supporter of the Environmental Charter High School (ECHS). With its innovative curriculum that is focused on promoting sustainability and experience-based education, the school made it to the Top 5 schools in President Obama’s 2010 “Race to the Top” Commencement Challenge. Over the last year, the Environmental Charter model has extended its reach to middle school students! Be a part of the planning effort to build a new campus and to help the school revitalize the surrounding community, especially along Imperial Highway.

Please attend the community meeting on Tuesday, July 19th at Environmental Charter Middle School to discuss the plans to build a state of the art campus help revitalize Imperial Highway. Come brainstorm, share your ideas, and provide input on what revitalization means to you.

Tuesday, July 19th, 2011
5:30pm – 7:30pm

Environmental Charter Middle School
3600 W. Imperial Hwy
Inglewood, CA 90303

Childcare and pizza provided.
Free grocery Raffle.

Flyer (PDF)

Reading out loud and celebrating the power within at Freedom Schools

There were laughs, smiles, and cheers from the group of about 50 students, ages five to 13 years old, who sat mesmerized as Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas flipped the pages and read Dylan Pritchett’s The First Music aloud at First Church of God’s Freedom School summer literacy program in Inglewood.

Students shared their favorite types of music with the Supervisor, sang and chanted motional songs and even showed off their acting and vocal skills by narrating the book through sound effects as the Supervisor read out loud. It was a morning filled with joy and the love of learning.

View more videos at: http://www.nbclosangeles.com.

Throughout the six-week literacy and enrichment program, the Supervisor will be visiting and interacting with students at each of the four Freedom School sites in the second district: 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. To date, over 200 students have enrolled into the second district summer program.

As part of the Freedom School Curriculum, all students read books, participate in arts, crafts, dance, sports and music, go on field trips, and engage in community service in a nurturing environment that fosters growth and development.

[pullquote_right]”This program uniquely integrates reading, learning, and civic engagement,” said Supervisor Ridley-Thomas.[/pullquote_right]Freedom School’s were established in 1992 by Children’s Defense Fund founder and children’s advocate Marian Wright Edelman. They provide rigorous,  quality summer and after school instruction to children who live in urban areas. The programming, which is both challenging and entertaining, is based on the belief that all children are capable of learning and achieving high standards.

The 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.

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 last July.

“This program uniquely integrates reading, learning, and civic engagement,” said Supervisor Ridley-Thomas.”  Not only do the children have a wonderful time — I didn’t see a single child today who wasn’t fully engaged and enthusiastic — but the Freedom School curriculum instills tools that are essential to lifelong personal and community empowerment.”

General Press Release (PDF)
First Church of God Freedom School (Photo Slideshow)
Bethel AME Church Freedom School (Photo Slideshow)

Heroes On & Off The Court – Laker Legends, Jerry West & Ron Artest

Before a crowd of 200 onlookers, the Board of Supervisors, made a special presentation to honor Los Angeles Lakers’ Champion Ron Artest and Laker Legend Jerry West at Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors Meeting, July 12 in the Kenneth Hahn Hall of Administration.

Mr. Artest was recognized for his advocacy and commitment to promoting mental health awareness and encouraging youth to seek mental health services by spreading his message of wellness and recovery.

One year after publicly thanking his psychiatrist for helping him win the Lakers‘ 2010 championship, Mr. Artest continues to vouch for the importance of mental health services. Earlier this year he partnered with the County of Los Angeles and Los Angeles Unified School District and spoke to 150 Jefferson High Schools students to address the stigma associated with seeking help and offered his young listeners words of encouragement.

The Board also honored 2007 California Sports Hall of Fame Inductee Jerry West for his dedication to the Los Angeles Watts Summer Games of which Mr. West serves as honorary chair for basketball. West, played for and coached the Lakers from 1960 to 1979.
Photos of Jerry West (click here)

In his acceptance speech, Mr. West spoke of being from a small town in West Virginia, leaving home as a young man, falling in love with Los Angeles, and
dedicating his life to serving others.

The Summer Games, modeled after the Olympic Games by William Sims and members of the Los Angeles Junior Chamber of Commerce promotes positive interaction through competition in athletics, art, and scholastics. To date more than 7,000 athletes have competed and developed their athletic talent by participating in the Los Angeles Watts Summer Games.

Ron Artest and Jerry West were available before and after the board presentation for autographs, conversations, and photos with high school students and athletes from the Los Angeles Watts Summer Games.

CBS News (Click Here)

Daily News Article (Click Here)

Dinosaur Hall Opening at the Natural History Museum

Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, who has been a long-time advocate and supporter of the Natural History Museum, spoke at the museum’s preview for the New Dinosaur Hall.[pullquote_right]”This museum is a county gem and asset not only to the Los Angeles area, anchoring the Downtown and Exposition Park neighborhoods, but really enriching the entire region,” said Supervisor Ridley-Thomas. [/pullquote_right]

On July 16, 2011, the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County passed the halfway mark in its seven-year self-transformation when it opens its all-new, 14,000-sqaure-foot Dinosaur Hall. Twice the size of the Museum’s previous dinosaur exhibits, the Dinosaur Hall will feature more than 300 fossils, 20 full-body specimens, an array of manual and digital interactive displays, and video presentations. It is designed to allow visitors to get up close to real fossils in a way that engages visitors with the discovery and research programs of the Museum’s own Dinosaur Institute, led by world-renowned paleontologist and exhibit lead curator, Dr. Luis Chiappe.

The world’s only Tyrannosaurus rex growth series, presenting extraordinary fossils specimens of the youngest known baby, a rare juvenile, and a remarkably complete recently-discovered young adult (Thomas the T. rex), will be one of the highlights of the new hall. Other standout specimens in the exhibition include an imposing new Triceratops; a Stegosaurus, topped by kite-shaped armor plates; the predator Allosaurus; a 68-foot long-necked Mamenchisaurus; and giant marine reptiles that swam the oceans covering what is today California. Two-thirds of the full-body specimens have never been displayed before. Those specimens that were previously seen have all been re-articulated into more dynamic poses.

[pullquote_left]”Where else sparks the imagination of young and old, takes us back in time millions of years, making the events of the past and discoveries of the present so vividly alive?”[/pullquote_left]

The Dinosaur Hall will rival the world’s leading dinosaur experiences for the sheer volume of individual fossils displayed; the size and extraordinariness of the major mounts, including the world’s only Tyrannosaurus rex growth series; and the transparent treatment of the science that surrounds these creatures — not as static, definitive knowledge but as a vibrant, ongoing investigation of mysteries solved and still unsolved.

The Dinosaur Hall is the latest component of NHM Next, a $135 million campaign that is currently transforming the Museum. Now at its midpoint, this unique public-private partnership has raised over $86 million — more than 60 percent of its goal. The Dinosaur Hall follows this summer’s critically-acclaimed, campaign-supported openings of Age of Mammals and the Haaga Family Rotunda. NHM will become an indoor/outdoor experience, with a new pedestrian bridge and car park in 2011; an exhibition about Los Angeles’ natural and cultural history and the Nature Lab opening in 2012; and in 2012 and 2013, 3.5 acres of urban nature experiences in greenspace reclaimed from parking lots and paved patios set to debut. 2013 will also see the debut of the Otis Booth Pavilion, a three-story, glass-encased entryway connecting the indoor and outdoor sections of the Museum, made possible by an unprecedented $13 million gift from The Otis Booth Foundation.

“I want to underscore the excitement that the County shares about this major exhibit and its potentially huge impact on visitors,” said Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas. “We are putting our efforts, our funding and significant investment and resources into supporting this institution in but it is also my hope that some young Angelenos, for whom the Natural History Museum become a favorite place to visit, will develop a life-long love of learning and science.”

About the Museum
The Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County is located at 900 Exposition Blvd., Los Angeles, CA, 90007, near downtown. It is open daily from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. The Museum was the first dedicated museum building in Los Angeles, opening its doors in 1913. It has amassed one of the world’s most extensive and valuable collections of natural and cultural history — with more than 35 million objects, some as old as 4.5 billion years. The Natural History Family of Museums includes the NHM, the Page Museum at the La Brea Tar Pits (Hancock Park/Mid-Wilshire), and the William S. Hart Museum (Newhall, California).