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Home Going for Dorothy Inghram

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An overflowing audience packed St. Paul AME Church in San Bernardino for two-days for the home going celebration of the last surviving member of the church’s founding family, Mrs. Dorothy Inghram, the 106-year old leader in local education.

Community leaders who were present included: Assembly Member Wilmer Amina Carter, San Bernardino Mayor Patrick Morris, Stater Brothers Markets President/CEO Jack Brown and Ms. Inghram’s former pastor Rev. James E. Grant, Sr. who in Mrs. Inghram’s earlier years requested he be the speaker at her funeral. Long retired, Rev Grant, who recently celebrated his 83rd birth- day, joked that he doubted that either of them had expected to wait so long to carry out her request.

Dorothy Inghram was born on November 9, 1905 in San Bernardino, CA after 106 years She died on March 14, 2012. She was the youngest child born to Henry and Mary Ella Inghram. As a child growing up in had great memories of her family, her comfortable home and attending local schools. She always enjoyed reading, writing and arithmetic, and was a lifelong learner. She attended Mt. Vernon Elementary School, Sturges Jr. High and was a 1923 graduate of San Bernardino High School. She was a music major and while at San Bernardino Valley College she wrote the school's Alma Mater, it is still being used today.

In 1936 she became the first Black to graduate from the University of Redlands (U of R) with a Bachelor Degree in Music. Because of her race there were no teaching opportunities in California so she landed a job at Prairie View College in Texas from 1936-1939. Her mother's illness and subsequent death brought her back to California. She decided to stay and pursue a teaching degree at U of R. It posed a problem because there were no Black teachers. In 1942 Mill School District, a one school district, had an opening and the County Schools Superintendent sent her to fill the position. She had always had to fight race and poverty but this assignment was particularly difficult. Eventually both teachers quit rather than work with her, in 1951 she became the Principal of Mill School, then in 1953 she became the Superintendent of Schools, making her the first Black in the state to hold the position. In 1963 she became a Principal in San Bernardino Unified School District and in 1968 she was appointed Liaison-Principal for the Intergroup Relations department. She retired in 1971. Dr. Inghram encountered much racial prejudice in her life and overcame all obstacles put in her way. So much so she was the recipient of many prestigious awards. The community honored her by naming a library the Dorothy Ella Inghram Branch Library. She was dedicated to reading and just before her death was still talking about the importance of the library in the growth and development of children. She authored several books, among them were Beyond All This (1983) the story of her family, The Incredible You (1993) Dear Meg and in 2004 What's On Your Mind. At 106 her mind was sharp and she was thinking about finishing her next book. At 100 years old she was still driving a car, at 102 she retired from her weekly bowling game. She also loved baseball and golf.

In 2003 she received the Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters-from California State University, San Bernardino and in 2000 Redlands University presented her with the Inaugural Alumni Educator of Distinction, Lifetime Achievement in Educational Justice Award. In 1999 she was named the Woman of Distinction by San Bernardino Valley College. Her awards are numerous from many community organizations and elected officials. Dr. Inghram comes from a family of achievers. Her parents founded St. Paul AME Church in 1904. Her brother Howard Inghram, M.D. was the area's first Black doctor, her sister became a nurse. Her other brothers, Ben, became a chef and Henry was the first Black to work for the newspaper, he became a pressman. There is a community center named for her parents and an elementary school named for Dr. Howard Inghram. With the many accolades and awards she received, it was the personal 106 birthday greeting and photograph from President and Mrs. Obama, that she treasured. Left to cherish her memory are a number of grand nieces and nephews, a host of friends, former students, members of St. Paul AME Church and admirers in the community.


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Inland pastors join campaign targeting apathy, restrictive voter ID laws

By Chris Levister

Easter Sunday is regarded as a living symbol of Jesus Christ, the empty tomb and the Resurrection, the very nature of Christianity. In the black church, it is often a day of celebration, with standing room only attendance.

Amid an air of spirited singing and traditional Easter sermons, there was another important message coming from America’s black church the pulpits: “get out the vote”. The Empowerment Movement aimed at registering 1 million black voters on Easter Sunday targeting thousands of African-American churches is according to organizers, “by early accounts a success”. The mass voter-registration drive — calculated to take advantage of Easter's larger-than-normal Sunday attendance — was spearheaded by international speaker the Reverend Dr. Jamal Bryant, founder of Empowerment Temple in Baltimore, Maryland, and included multiple denominations. Each church is challenged to sign up 20 new voters, Bryant said in a press release announcing the effort.

“Our constitutional right to vote is under attack,” declared Bryant. Bryant estimates there are over 500,000 African American churches in the United States, and that there are as many as 5 million unregistered voters in their pews. Bryant, who started organizing the drive before the Feb. 26 killing of Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Florida is among a swelling number the black civil-rights leaders trying to transfer the indignation over the teen's death into action.

The Empowerment Movement was organized to fight a rash of new voting laws that often keep elderly, young and black voters from casting ballots and what the U.S. Census Bureau called a troubling sign of voter apathy.

In September 2008, the campaign of then-Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama estimated there were 8 million African-Americans not registered to vote. Election Day, two months later, thanks to a massive voter registration campaign, the U.S. Census Bureau reported record turnouts by black voters.

Rev. Dr. Raymond Turner, pastor of Temple Missionary Baptist Church in San Bernardino insists a multifaceted problem needs a multifaceted response. “We are battling the spread of restrictive voter ID laws and at the same time voter apathy continues to be one of the black community’s biggest enemies,” he said. “Some people have lost sight of the importance of voting,” said Turner, past president of the Inland Empire Concerned African American Churches (IECAAC). “Look at the dismal turnout here in San Bernardino for example. People complain bitterly about the dysfunction in our city government. But those voices are not being heard at the polls.” "What I would hope, as we get people registered to vote, is that we can engage in civilized dialogue about critical issues such as dysfunctional government, crime, unemployment, mass incarceration, health and education disparities.” Turner points out that the black church pulpit has historically been the strength of the African-American community.

“At the forefront of the Civil Rights Movement, there were massive voter registration campaigns. Demonstrations, protests and critical bipartisan discussions led to cooler heads and change. Today, we see our voting rights are under attack again. The clock is being rolled backward.” IECAAC president-elect Patricia Small says signing up at least 20 people at each of the local black churches by the 2012 presidential election is doable.

“This is not just a onetime Easter Sunday campaign,” said Small. “We are encouraging congregations to work together, across denominations through the 2012 election. Christians have to educate, step up and speak out in unity.”

Turning the Empowerment Movement into a sustained national movement will depend on whether the outrage and emotion swirling around Trayvon Martin’s murder dissipates over time or coalesces into a permanent desire to make a difference, said Oakland pastor Estelle Williams who attended Easter Sunday service in San Bernardino.

April 4 marks the 44th anniversary of the assassination of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Williams says while King would be proud of the election of President Obama, he would be deeply disappointed in the state of our union.

“It’s open season on African Americans. Racism and profiling can seem overwhelming. Still, we have to embrace our faith and return to bedrock of our communities – our churches. We have to pursue the transformation with iron resolution.”

“If you don’t bother to vote, don’t expect to be counted,” insists Williams. “You can’t expect the system to change if you are not willing to do your part to change it.” If you don’t like the "stand your ground" law, vote to elect legislators who will repeal or change the law,” she said.

The Empowerment Movement is also in partnership with the NAACP, National Urban League, United Negro College Fund, The National Coalition on Black Civic Participation and the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. Local churches are encouraged to join the movement. Voters in California can register to vote online.

For more information visit: www.Empowermentmovement.org.

CSUSB Students Spend Spring Break Helping Others

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BIG BEAR – Big Bear was the spring break getaway site for a group of Cal State San Bernardino students, but rather than being “party central,” it was to help residents of the mountain communities.

About 25 students on Alternative Spring Break helped clean up the grounds, restock a food pantry and prepare food for a Thursday night dinner at the United Methodist Church in Big Bear, said Bryant Fairly, service learning coordinator for the CSUSB Community-University Partnerships.

The volunteer work supports the local community by helping the church expand its food storage capacity to assist the poor, Fairley said. This past Friday, the students planted trees in areas of the Holcomb Valley that was burned in the 2007 fires, Fairley said.

The program is sponsored by the university’s Associated Students Inc., Outdoor Recreational Sports, Student Leadership and Development, the Community-University Partnerships and the United States Department of Agriculture Hispanic Serving Institutions National Program.

The Community-University Partnerships is a campus-wide initiative to build and advance partnerships in San Bernardino and Riverside counties. The CUP provides facilitation and support of community partnership development, faculty fellowships to support service learning courses, and faculty mini-grants to support community-based participatory research.

For more information about CUP programs or for information on how to create community-university partnerships, contact Diane Podolske at dpodolsk@csusb.edu or Bryant Fairley at bfairley@csusb.edu.

State Controller John Chiang To Speak At EITC Awareness Day

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California State Controller John Chiang will be the featured speaker at EITC Awareness Day sponsored by Community Action Partnership of Riverside County (CAP Riverside) on Friday, January 29 at 10:00 a.m. at California Baptist University. National EITC Awareness Day is organized by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and its stakeholders to educate the public about the Earned Income Tax Credit and requirements to claim the credit. The reception will take place in the Copenbarger Room at the Yeager Center, California Baptist University, 8432 Magnolia Avenue in Riverside. Controller John Chiang, Supervisor Marion Ashley, Mayor Ron Loveridge, representatives of the IRS, CBU and CAP Riverside will have remarks for the press and community.

At the conclusion of the remarks, the new CAP Mobile will be available for inspection. Volunteers will be preparing taxes on site in the mobile unit, which will be used to bring tax preparation services during special events throughout Riverside County.

Tax preparation will take place until 1:00 p.m. EITC is a refundable federal tax credit for working families who earn less than $50,000 a year. This credit helps reduce the tax burden on low and moderate-income families. Based on earnings and family situation, taxpayers can receive up to $5,657 in Earned Income Tax Credit refunds. Families may also qualify for other tax credits, including the Child Tax Credit, which can reduce a family’s tax liability by up to $1,000 per child. Also, refunds may be split and direct deposited into up to three different bank accounts.

Community Action Partnership of Riverside County is operating eight Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) sites throughout Riverside County, providing weekend and evening hours and bilingual volunteers to assist taxpayers.

Please contact Community Action Partnership of Riverside County at (951) 955-4900 or (800) 511-1110 or visit www.capriverside.org for addresses and times of operation.


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Inland region’s lagging recovery highlights ‘tale of two economies’

By Chris Levister

William F. Baskerville knows that losing the opportunity to cultivate the “minds of California’s brightest students from every background” is like losing “a precious national resource.” That’s why despite the Inland Empire’s posted unemployment rate of 12.6 percent in March the education consultant is not giving up on finding a job.

“I refuse be relegated to the government’s ‘uncounted’ roles,” he said referring to the millions of unemployed Americans who have simply dropped out of the labor market. Some have retired, gone back to college or simply given up on finding work. Unemployed since March 2010, Baskerville spends hours each day at the computer in his Norco home in what seems like an endless search.

Baskerville has more than 20 years experience working with educators, universities, and businesses to ensure that young people have access to higher education and are prepared for tomorrow’s world. A substantial resume landed him temporary part-time jobs at an Orange County Internet marketing company and with the California Department of Education. In 2011 both positions were eliminated due to budget cuts.

"I scoured dozens of education sites," he says. "I checked Career Builders, Monster, Hot Jobs and Craig's List. I’m an e-mail junkie, Facebook fanatic and Twitter nuisance. It's my full time job, looking for a job."

That's been Baskerville’s daily routine since he, his wife and their three kids moved from the Orange County coastal enclave of Aliso Viejo in late 2010 to escape the soaring cost of living and what many economic experts call the ‘tale of two economies.” California employers are hiring again, swelling payrolls in March as the state’s start-and-stop recovery appears to have gotten back on track.

Orange County and communities all along the state’s coastline have largely bounced back from the recession, some even prospering with high-tech and export businesses growing and tourism coming back.

At the same time, communities from just an hour’s drive inland and stretching all the way to the Nevada and Arizona borders struggle with stubbornly high unemployment, a persistent housing crisis and a near standstill construction market.

Inland Empire analysts say despite encouraging signs of rising home prices in San Bernardino and Riverside counties, most see an economy straggling behind its coastal neighbors. In fact, in January, Forbes magazine named Riverside the hardest city in the country in which to find a job.

“This is really a tale of two economies,” said Stephen Levy, the director of the Center for Continuing Study of the California Economy. “The coastal areas are either booming or at least doing well, and the areas that were devastated still have a long way to go. The places that existed just for housing are not going to come back anytime soon.” Baskerville and others driven out of coastal cities because of rising costs say they aren’t giving up on crafting their future in the Inland Empire.

"I see a diamond in the rough. Jobs in education transportation and, construction are coming back if but slowly. The housing stock is aging. People who can’t afford to live and work in places like Orange County are rethinking their options,” he said recalling the sobering job hunting experience that recently changed his job status.

"My former employer told me about a job opportunity at a large company that recruits college graduates to teach in low-income schools. He made me swear not to tell anyone else or take anyone. That lead me to believe the tip was an exclusive,” he said. Baskerville says when he arrived at the offices in Riverside he encountered around 20 to 30 people. After being told to line up in queue, the numbers quickly grew from 30 to 50, 50 to 100 and finally 100 to 200.

“My heart sank. The line stretched around the building. The time in the line took an hour and finally we went upstairs to the main quarters, where we had to answer around 10 questions on paper and if passed go through to a role playing exercise. I got there at 10:00 a.m. and came home at 9:30p.m., feeling blessed and elated that after all the searching and waiting (not the endless wait in the queue but the 2 year wait) I was finally a BMW – ‘Black Man Working’. Baskerville says he’s thankful to find work, but when he glances at his own bottom line, the reality is grim. His salary is one-third that of his previous job. “I’m working longer hours for less pay.” Still Baskerville insists there’s a lesson buried in the murky, frustrating world of job hunting.

“Please keep trying. Never give up,” he says. “There are jobs in the Inland Empire,” he said. “Speaking of the depression and the prospect of turning the U.S. economy around, Franklin D Roosevelt said in his first inaugural speech "The only thing we have to fear, is fear itself!" I guess those words ring as true today as they did then,” said Baskerville.

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