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Mount Saint Mary’s College celebrates inauguration

Mt. Saint Mary’s College inaugurated Dr. Ann McElaney-Johnson as its 12th President before a sea of onlookers from the Mount St. Mary’s College community, Friday morning, March 16 on its Doheny campus in Los Angeles.

Watch live streaming video from msmctv at livestream.com

McElaney-Johnson, who brings 23 years of experience at small, residential liberal arts colleges, previously served as Vice President for academic and student affairs at Salem College in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, where during her tenure she also held positions as a faculty member, associated dean and chief academic and student affairs officer.

“Dr. McElaney-Johnson’s extensive experience and leadership abilities will be a tremendous asset both to the college and the greater Los Angeles community,” said Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas. “I would also like to note that as we celebrate Women’s History Month, it’s fitting that such an accomplished educator and someone with a passion for the empowerment of women, takes the reins at Mt. Saint Mary’s. Her drive to assist women in reaching their full potential,” the Supervisor continued, “is not only reflected in her career in education but in her involvement with numerous educational and civic organizations.

McElaney-Johnson served on the Crosby Scholars Program Executive Board, the Sara Lee Center for Women’s Health Advisory Board, the Brethren Colleges Aboard Academic Council, the United Way Academic Advisory Committee, the Women’s Council of the Forsyth Medical Center Foundation Executive Committee, and the Board of Trustees for the Southern Association for Colleges and Universities Commission on Colleges. McElaney-Johnson received her Ph.D in French from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, her Master’s Degree from Middlebury College, and her Bachelor of Arts from the College of the Holy Cross in Massachusetts.

Mount St. Mary’s College was founded in 1925, by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet with a mission to help women become all they are capable of being.
Mount St. Mary’s College is the only Catholic college primary for women in the Western United States and has two campuses in Los Angeles: Chalon Campus and Doheny Campus.

Healthcare enrollment for former Ujima Village residents

The Department of Health Services (DHS) recently held an outreach and healthcare enrollment event for former residents of the Ujima Village housing complex in Willowbrook. The evening event was a follow-up to the well-attended community meeting with Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas last November. During that meeting, held at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Public Health, some residents asserted that they suffered from ailments and conditions that began during their residency at Ujima Village, but that they lacked the means to obtain medical examinations.

In response to their concerns, the Supervisor arranged to have 450 of the complex’s former residents invited to the public health center, where DHS representatives screened them for eligibility in Los Angeles County’s program for low-income residents, Healthy Way LA.

Healthy Way LA provides access to primary and specialty care, mental health services, prescription medications, and urgent care to residents who meet income guidelines; the chart below outlines eligibility requirements for the program.

About 20 people accepted the invitation and earlier this month received free one-on-one consultations and assistance in applying for health care coverage. Also, clients were screened for other public assistance programs such as CalFresh, the federally-funded nutrition assistance program, and Medi-Cal, California’s Medicaid program. With each Healthy Way LA enrollment, residents receive the health care they need and deserve and the Second District becomes a healthier community. For questions about the program or to enroll, please visit www.ladhs.org/hwla or call 1-877-333-4952.

West Adams Third Annual Art Tour

The West Adams Heritage Association presented its third annual self-guided “Art in Historic Places Tour” entitled: The Arts of West Adams: Pattern, Decoration & Diversity, on Saturday, March 24, at the Majestic Pharmacy. Tour participants walked or cycled to some of West Adams’ notable sites and visited the in-home galleries of 12 local contemporary and classic artists residing in the West Adams district. In addition to standard stops, this year’s tour also featured a visit to the historic William Andrews Clark Memorial Library, home to thousands of rare books and manuscripts, as well as a live concert at the California African American Museum (CAAM) where visitors also viewed the popular Pacific-Standard Time exhibit called “Places of Validation.”

For more information on the West Adams Heritage Association visit: www.westadamsheritage.org

Get Lit: inspiring high school students to read, write, and speak up

Several hundred high school students recently filled the Animo Inglewood Charter High School auditorium, talking, laughing, and chatting with friends. Then the Get Lit Players took the stage:

“We are a troupe of poetic youth tied to classic roots… With words to illuminate the dark,” chanted the six members of the teen poetry troupe, and the auditorium fell silent.

For the next two hours, in ones and twos, poets from the ages of 15 to 18, recited words of hope, understanding and respect to the high school students listening with rapt attention.[fancy_box] Get Lit performs at El Rancho High School in Pico Rivera. Video courtesy of Get Lit Staff.[/fancy_box]

The Get Lit Players, who perform in schools across Los Angeles, delivered poems in a blitz-like fashion, wielding their hip-hop verbal skills in rapid-fire attacks. From comical topics to serious ones, their original works bore witness to subjects such as relationship heartbreak and the pressure from parents to be perfect. Then they changed gears and brought to life works by renowned poets such as Gwendolyn Brooks, Walt Whitman, and Langston Hughes.

Troupe members say their mission is to encourage teens to read, write and participate in the arts by connecting the emotions and experiences expressed by celebrated poets with the struggles of young people today. Freshman Brandon Estrada, 14, said the troupe connected with him. “I realized I was buried and forgotten and after watching the performance I feel as though I’ve been resurrected,” he said. “I can be great in life…it’s in my grasp.”

Regine Rhine, 17, a budding poet and member of the Amino High School Poetry Slam team, found the Get Lit performance inspirational – and a bit daunting. Her poetry team will be competing against the troupe next month in a citywide youth poetry event, called the Classic Slam. She too feels at home on a stage, reciting poetry to her peers. “Poetry is a profound way of expressing myself and letting people see another side of me,” she said. Get Lit Player and performer, Junior Herrara, 18, agreed. The East Los Angeles City College student said poetry provides an outlet for self expression like no other.

“It not only let’s me explore realms of myself I did not know existed, it also lets me share and teach my life lessons with others,” he said.

Get Lit’s Classic Slam, will take place at the Wiltern Theater, in Los Angeles on April 28th at 7 PM and showcase blitz-like performances from high school poets from across Los Angeles.

Founded in 2005, in Los Angeles, Get Lit is a non-profit organization offering literary performance training, education, and teen poetry programs. Programs are designed to boost literacy and encourage creative self-expression. By immersing teens in the world of great books, Get Lit equips students for future success in college and the workplace, building concise writing skills, dynamic public speaking abilities and the foundation for lifelong self-confidence. To date, Get Lit has performed before more than 15,000 teens in more than 45 high schools.

For more information on Get Lit, click here to visit their website.

Slauson Corridor Revitalization Update

Supervisor Ridley-Thomas and representatives of the County’s Department of Public Works met with Slauson residents to provided an update on the Supervisor’s unique website public opinion poll. The poll attracted more than 800 responses from concerned community members. Using his website as an access point, the Supervisor presented eight alternatives to the community including written materials and diagrams describing the features of each. Community members were invited to express preferences among the various possibilities. The fundamental differences between the alternatives were over the number of traffic lanes on Slauson Avenue, the width of sidewalks along the Avenue, and provisions for a Class III bicycle lane.

The results of this survey are on the Supervisor’s website. The number one choice was Alterative D-1, which offered 20 foot-wide sidewalks to enhance the pedestrian retail and outdoor restaurant experience along Slauson between Angeles Vista and Overhill.  At the community meeting, there was vigorous public discussion about the survey results. From this discussion came a consensus to move forward with an Environmental Review of five alternatives.  The analysis will study one, two or three through lanes for vehicle traffic, either with or without a bicycle lane — a total of five alternatives.  

 * This option is not necessary; a 20 foot sidewalk leaves sufficient space for the bikeway.

Alternatives with fewer vehicle traffic lanes allow for wider sidewalks and more pedestrian activity, and, conversely, those with more traffic lanes result in narrower sidewalks. The Environmental Review will study automobile traffic levels of service for each of these five alternatives. Once this data is collected, another community meeting will be held to discuss:

a)     accommodating more through traffic for automobiles, and

b)     providing an attractive pedestrian-oriented walking environment with restaurants and retail stores.

The February 22 public meeting also featured remarks by Culver City Councilmember Andy Weissman.  The Councilmember described the careful steps taken by Culver City in the highly successful revitalization of its downtown core. Stay tuned for results of the Environmental Review traffic studies as the Slauson Avenue Improvement Project moves ahead.