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Holly Mitchell Announces Candidacy for State Assembly

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Community and political leaders from across the Inland Empire gathered at the home of longtime Riverside residents and event hosts Al and Ola Faye Stephens to support the candidacy of Holly Mitchell for State Assembly. Holly, a native Angeleno thanked those who gathered for their longtime support of she and her family.

“You all have always been very good to me...as a student leader at Poly High and UCR in the 80’s through today...” Mitchell noted.

Mitchell is running for the 47th AD, the seat currently held by Speaker of the Assembly Karen Bass, who has enthusiastically endorsed Mitchell’s candidacy.

Community leaders Lois Carson, Dr. Carolyn Murray, Dell Roberts and Barbara Smith co-hosted the event that aimed to raise necessary funds to help guarantee Mitchell’s success in the 2010 election.

Assemblywoman Wilmer Carter, who joins many of her legislative colleagues in endorsing Mitchell, stated that she is hopeful that more candidates with Mitchell’s background would consider running for public office.

With over 50 people in attendance, Mitchell spoke eloquently about her concerns about the future state budget, the economy, public education and how all of our communities will fair. “Our elected leaders have got to make the needs of working families and our children a legislative priority,” she stated, “and those are issues that are critical to us all.”

Renowned Exhibit Comes to Riverside and Brings Transformative Awareness to AIDS Pandemic

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By Derek K. Galloway –

The subject of HIV/AIDS is no longer an unknown phenomenon.

Yet in still, the silence and stigmatism that surrounds this disease continues to heighten the spread of this our deadliest of silent killers. The World Vision Experience: AIDS-Step into Africa exhibit comes to Riverside, California, October 22th through the 25th. This renowned presentation is a multimedia and interactive presentation that brings awareness concerning the plight of children living in Sub Sahara Africa with the AIDS virus.

Alarmingly, it is estimated about 25 million people are infected with HIV (two-thirds of the worlds total).

It is not as much as chance that World Vision is visiting Riverside County as it is necessity.

“Riverside and San Bernardino counties are amongst the highest of HIV and AIDS cases in the nation,” states Fadzai Chihwai. She is an AIDS counselor at Riverside Neighborhood Community Clinic. As an AIDS counselor, Chihwai is a glowing example of the dedication and concern of a generation that hopes to make an impact on this issue.

She has too often seen the shock, fear, and ignorance associated with this illness. Upon taking up an internship with the Riverside Department of Public Health she became compassionate about making a difference. “I find it rewarding if I can inspire one or two people to help someone else,” Chihwai says.

In her quest to tackle this issue through education and awareness, Chihwai would like to dispel misconceptions about this disease as it affects Africa. She continues, “It is unfortunate that many Africans don’t have the resources and education readily available as in the United States. The people there don’t have access to the healthcare, technology, and facilities. For example, in regions of Africa simply getting one condom can cost up to five dollars.”

Such challenges have inspired her to help form a non profit organization called Med Africa. The purpose is to meet the need by sending medical supplies such as Tylenol, IV’s, and Band Aids to her native country of Zimbabwe.

For those who believe the conclusion to Africa’s story has been written off as something unsalvageable, Ange St. Hilaire’s goal is to offer hope as well as participation in fighting this pandemic disease in Africa. Ange St. Hilaire, who is the Tour Communications Manager at World Vision AIDS states, “Our goal is to educate people, as well as getting kids sponsored.”

In advocating on behalf of those that are viewed voiceless and powerless, St. Hilaire sees this mission as her calling. In demeanor, she is very knowledgeable and disarming for someone who has worked in some of Africa’s hardest hit areas. “What attracted me to Africa was my love for the people.

The people are what make Africa beautiful,” she says.

World Vision is a Christian Relief and Development Organization dedicated to helping children in communities worldwide.

Beyond just meeting the financial needs, World Vision is invested in committing their time long term in the villages themselves.

As much as twenty-five years has been invested in the lives of the people in those communities they serve. St. Hilaire says, “Through your sponsorship you can not only assist a child, but help foster a village through educating children and families, building drinking wells, and facilities.

All this can be accomplished through sponsoring a single child.”

Visitors at the World Vision experience: AIDS-Step Into Africa walk through a twenty-five hundred square foot replica and vignette of an African village. In addition, participants are able to experience the effects of the pandemic in a real way through audio tracks and stories. One of the highlights of this event include the lives of four children who have been affected by AIDs. Their names are: Kombo, Babirye, Emmanuel, and Mathabo.

St. Hilaire points out, “While such experiences may be unique to us they are very common in the lives of these children.” In essence, putting the viewer in the lives of these children helps build empathy in those that hold the notion that this dilemma is solely that of the African nation.

The exhibit launched in Fall of 2005, where hundreds and thousands of visitors have gone through the exhibit all across the United States. The prototype experience was featured in the 2006, Global AIDS Conference in Toronto, and was displayed in New York’s Grand Central Terminal in 2006. The exhibited visited an additional seventy-five cities nationwide in 2007 and 2008 and is scheduled to visit forty more in 2009.

This transformative event has received overwhelming response, and continues to enlighten and empower. The event is free and open to the public from Thursday, October 22th through Sunday, October 25th.

The hours of operation are as follows: 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily except Sunday and October 18th will be open 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.

The presentation will take place at Grove Community Church, 19900 Grove Community Drive in Riverside, California 92508.

Far too often, this disease has disillusioned the conversation that we are somehow immune from the AIDs virus, or that we are not connected to it globally.

The benefit that this exhibit brings is that we are not powerless in this fight. St. Hilaire reminds us of the hope that exists, “The country of Uganda, which was one of the very first countries to be devastated by the AIDS virus, has now successfully fought back by helping the greater majority of citizens to remain negative in the contraction of the AIDs virus.”

AAHI Celebrates Seven Years Of Progress

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The African American Health Institute of San Bernardino County (AAHI-SBC) will celebrate its last seven years of progress in efforts to reduce health and healthcare disparities in Black communities of the Inland Empire.

The celebration of “Our Past, Present & Future,” takes place in the Henderson Auditorium of San Bernardino Community Hospital, 1800 Western Ave. , from 5:30 to 7:30pm. , Thursday, October 22. For details call (909) 880-2600 or visit www.AAHI-SBC.org . All are welcomed to attend.

Black churches have had outreach health ministries in the Inland Empire for more than 50 years. Dr. Temetry Lindsey founded the Inland Behavioral Health more than 30 years ago, Dr. V.Diane Woods pointed out. And Gwen Knotts founded Knotts Family Agency shortly after that.

The local branch of the California Black Health Network, in conjunction with the Black newspapers, radio talk shows, and civic organizations, as well as the Inland Empire Black Nurses Association and ethnic physicians of the J W Vines Medical Society have always worked on health issues in the Inland Empire.

More African Americans die from the leading causes of death such as heart disease, stroke, cancer, HIV/AIDS and other preventable conditions than any other group. Even African American babies die two to three times more often than other babies.

“Simply put African American males die at an average age of 56, and African American females die at an average age of 62,” said Dr. Woods.

Community leaders who were concerned about this disparity organized the African American Health Initiative in 1998, working with the San Bernardino County Medical Society. In 2003, the Medical Society hired Dr.

Woods to head a major countywide planning project for the African American Health Initiative (AAHI).

In 2004, the organization held public forums, conducted surveys, town hall meetings, and one-on-one interviews throughout San Bernardino County; gathering data from more than 1,000 local Black residents investigating why people of African ancestry continue to die much earlier than other ethnic groups; and, to identify what will work to reverse this trend.

“Much has been accomplished since we started the health planning project in 2003,” said Dr. Woods, founding president and CEO of AAHI-SBC. “We are celebrating successful positive milestones in Black community collaboration.”

As a result of the AAHI Planning Project, a comprehensive report was developed in 2004 called Voices of the People: An Afrocentric Plan for Better Health. Nine major recommendations were proposed.

Recommendation #3 was to create a credible collaborative to focus on African American health issues. Afterwards, the African American Health Institute of San Bernardino County (AAHI-SBC) was created and incorporated as a collaborative of concerned stakeholders in January 2006 to combat these issues.

Since then, AAHI-SBC has strongly promoted change in the healthcare system through advocacy, public education, community capacity building, and research.

RCC Culinary Student Takes Top Award in State

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Riverside City College Culinary Academy student Kanisha Neal took home the gold medal in the State Skills USA Baking competition and placed among the top 10 student bakers in the nation this year.

Neal maintains a 3.9 GPA in her regular college work, while working 20 hours a week as an office assistant at the RCCD Moreno Valley Campus. She recently graduated from the Culinary Academy and plans to earn a bachelor’s degree in Food Science and Nutrition after transferring to either Cal State San Bernardino or Cal Poly Pomona.

The 2008-09 recipient of an Athena scholarship likens herself to her award-winning Artesian Sourdough Bread recipe.

“Artesian Sour Dough Bread is very hard to make,” she said. “There are a lot of ingredients and careful preparation is needed to achieve the perfect loaf.” Neal approaches her academic goals in the same way: gather your resources, prepare a plan, and then commit and work hard to achieve your desired result.

Neal is one of more than 12,800 students who take classes each semester in one of the 130 career tech programs offered on RCCD campuses. A number of these students complete their certificates or associate degrees and, like Neal, choose to continue on to earn an advance degree.

Classically Black -€“ A Night At The Symphony

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By Chris Levister –

On a hot night in Milan, Italy, in 2006 Eldred Marshall captivated the sold out house as he always does. All eyes were on the then 25-year-old musical prodigy performing some of the most difficult works in the piano literature, including Beethoven’s “Hammerklavier Sonata” and Debussy’s “Images Book 1.”

Eldred is more than a mere virtuoso with elastic hands and dazzling dexterity. He is also a spellbinding performer with a flair for drama – strutting, swooning and wrapping his audience around his 10 nimble fingers.

The critically acclaimed artist has performed internationally: Spain, Italy and the Republic of San Marino. A landmark in his career was to become the first Black pianist to perform the entire cycle of 32 piano sonatas of Beethoven in public, from memory, as a concentrated series. In the fall and winter of 2007, he performed the feat in Portland, Oregon. In the winter and spring of 2008, he repeated the series in San Francisco.

Eldred began studying the piano at age 6, and the precocious young artist performed his first public concert at age 7. His prodigious and inquisitive mind allowed him to master large swaths of the piano repertoire quickly all the while consistently winning top prizes at the competitions he entered as a child. By 16, he debuted with an orchestra, playing Brahms’s Second Piano Concerto.

At age 10, he remembers being inspired to become a concert pianist after seeing the renowned Andre Watts perform in Pasadena.

“It was love at first sight. I knew I wanted to do that,” said Eldred, who also studied at the University of Salamanca in Spain.

“I love the intimacy, the tension and excitement of taking an audience on a journey through the internal emotions and spiritual experiences of a masterful work. You become the interpreter – It’s cathartic.”

Eldred, whose roots spring from a musical family, may have been a prodigy in his home town of Rialto, but said his parents Eldred and Deidre if you want to play on the world stage you’ve got to get out of town first. Following his high school graduation the young Eldred IV set off to Yale majoring in political science, music and Spanish. While at Yale he directed the award winning Yale Gospel Choir for two years.

By the time he graduated with honors, he had already mesmerized audiences all over the United States.

The 1999 Eisenhower High School salutatorian is more than just a supremely talented musician he is also a change agent who wants to broaden classical music’s appeal while acknowledging the gains minorities have made in the genre.

As a young Black pianist growing up in Rialto, it did not escape Eldred that no performers and very few audience members at classical music concerts looked like him.

Eldred envisions his brainchild ‘Classically Black – A Night at the Symphony’ will open the door to a world in which classical music reflects cultural diversity. “My dream is to become a catalyst to help overcome the cultural stereotype of classical music.”

Sunday October 18 the gala concert and fundraiser for the Boys & Girls Club of San Bernardino will showcase professional and novice African-American classical musicians.

I want to challenge everyone who ever said, ‘You don’t see more Blacks and Hispanics in orchestras because the musicians are just not out there’. “I want to prove that they are out there; they just need to be identified, encouraged and rewarded.”

“In these challenging times, arts programs in the schools and traditional music institutions are facing drastic cuts or elimination,” said Boys & Girls Club of San Bernardino Board Chairman Rikke Van Johnson. The fundraiser and Marshall collaboration aims to fill the education gap by administering youth development initiatives in minority communities through music education, increasing the participation of Blacks and Latinos in music schools, as professional musicians and composers and cultivate classical music audiences.

For example, most are not likely to know of the approximately 500 Black classical music composers spanning several centuries and continents.

In addition, there have been ground breaking Black professional musicians such as acclaimed violinist Aaron Dworkin in major professional orchestras since the 1960s, said Marshall.

“Though it has been extremely limited, Black composers and musicians have been heard in our symphony halls since the early 1900s.

This overall lack of awareness encompasses our entire society.”

In America, early Black classical performers were discriminated against and had to leave the country to perform in Europe, explains Marshall.

Singers like Elizabeth Taylor-Garfield, the ‘Black Swan’ performed in London between1850-1860. In the 1950 & 1960, with the color bar well in place, the only way for singers like Marian Anderson to make her debut was to do recital work. It was viewed at that time as the quickest way to succeed. Hence Anderson, who was the first Black person to perform at the New York Met, skillfully incorporated a fusion of Negro spiritual and classical music into her repertoire.

It is now well over forty years since the historical occasion in 1963, when Anderson performed to over 75,000 people on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington.

“I envision young people bringing to the study of classical music their own history and cultural background, which then informs the music itself in new and vital ways thus having a lasting effect on the classical music of tomorrow,” said Eldred.

Classically Black – A Night at the Symphony is sponsored by the San Bernardino Symphony Orchestra, Assembly Member Wilmer Carter, San Bernardino City Economic Development Agency, National Council of Negro Women and the Boys & Girls Club of San Bernardino.

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