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Riverside International Film Festival Showcases Directors of Color

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By Anna Wenger

The Riverside International Film Festival kicked off on Friday March 2nd at a University Village red carpet gala, honoring Tippi Hedren from the Hitchcock thriller "The Birds" with a Lifetime Achievement Award. Mrs. Hedren said, "Mr. Hitchcock actually had a great sense of humor."

This annual festival presents international contemporary films to the Inland Empire from all over the world. This year's contributions included Asia, Europe, South America, Mexico, Africa, China and the United States. The Riverside International Film Festival movies are being shown at the Metropolitan Theaters at the University Village and will continue until Sunday, March 11, 2007.

Africa's contribution, Sisters In Law, is directed by Florence Ayisi and Kim Longinotto. The story takes place in the little town of Kumba, Cameroon. There have been no convictions in spousal abuse cases for 17 years. But two women determined to change their community are making progress that could change the world. This fascinating, often hilarious documentary follows the work of State Prosecutor Vera Ngassa and Court President Beatrice Ntuba as they help women fight often-difficult cases of abuse, despite pressures from family and their community to remain silent. Sisters In Law will be shown Saturday, March 10th from 7:15 pm to 9:00 pm.

Full length features, docu-dramas, documentaries and short films are showcased each day. An entire day is devoted to student productions. For screening schedules, go to http://www.riversidefilmfest.org.

Canyon Springs 2007 Academic Bowl Champions

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On Monday February 19th, 2007, at Riverside Community College, The Riverside African American Historical Society, (RAAHS) hosted the 6th Academic Bowl for the Inland Empire.  Eleven teams from Riverside, Moreno Valley, Norco, Redlands, and Rubidoux high schools and churches participated, with attendance over 300. Canyon Springs High School, the winner, strategically battled Norco High School in the championship round.  The teams were very competitive.  Rubidoux High School and Kansas Avenue Seventh Day Adventist Church were third and fourth place finishers. "It feels good to know a Society provides intellectual access to information...Black history and the digital divide in one competition," stated Jalani Bakari, Co-Chair of the Academic Bowl and Board Member on the Historical Society." 
Kansas Avenue Seventh day Adventist Church students.

The level of support and enthusiasm for the Academic Bowl this year was very impressive.  The community came out and supported the teams, as well as, providing financial, in-kind support and laptop COMPUTERS.  Five of them! Brad Hudson, Riverside's City Manager was instrumental in connecting the Society with ACS, Inc., a global information technology company acting and working locally in Riverside, to enthusiastically donate computers to the winners of the Academic Bowl, Canyon Springs High School. The second place winners received Apple I-pods, along with receiving a certificate and medal for placing.  Additionally, the society was able to select a talented student participant in the academic bowl for a computer based on their need and enthusiasm in the competition.  The winner was Michael Carter, a sophomore at Riverside Poly High School. "It is hard to believe how fast these students pressed the button and gave the answer," said Jeff Clayton, Moreno Valley resident, volunteer, and Executive Director of the James Wesley Vines Foundation. "The excitement is in the intensity and hard work these students put in to participate," stated math teacher Jonathan Smith of Norco High School whose team finished second.  Information about Historically Black Colleges and Universities, local history past and present, obituaries of notable African Americans from 2005 and 2006, readings from Before the Mayflower, by Lerone Bennet, Jr., and a series of articles in the Black Voice newspaper provided the basis for questions.  The winning team consisted of four students from Canyon Springs High School: Oman Agboghida, captain, Ariel Campbell, Brianna Bridgmon and Damaris Williams.  The coach was William Prudhomme, Math teacher at Canyon Springs. The second place team members from Norco High School were William Ibekwe, Aline Hankey, Brittany Brown and Melanie Stovall, and were coached by Jonathan Smith.   Event moderators for the day were Dr. Kennon Mitchell, Regina Brown Wilson, Dr. Joan Roberts, and Dr. Ed Bush.  Jalani Bakari moderated the final round.  Judges like Ameal Moore (past Riverside city councilman) Dr. Vincent Moses (retired), Jack Clarke, Jr., Dr. Benita Roberts(retired), Professor Paul Green Ph.D-UCR, Dr. Kristi Woods-RCC, Dr. Norman Towels, and Hugh Layton and others made the day smooth and wonderful.  Undre Baker from Subway, Inc. provided food and refreshments for the event. Special thanks goes to Brad Hudson and ACS, Inc. for the computers; Riverside Community College for the facilities, Alicia Lee, Beverly Barlin, Gladys Walker, Sue Strickland, Dorella Anderson and Jalani Bakari for participating on the committee.  RAAHS also thanks immensely the community for their support.  See you next year on Monday, February 18, 2008.

Rose Mayes and others.

First 5 CA Launches Statewide “Leading Ladies for School Readiness” Campaign

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"First 5 San Bernardino understands the value in partnering with the faith community to reach parents and caregivers with critical information about the early years of a child's life,"

Richard Jarvis
Collaboration with Leading Ladies of African American Churches in Inland Empire Aims to Prepare Children for Success in School

First 5 California announced recently it is partnering with leading ladies from African American churches to launch a statewide effort designed to educate parents and caregivers on the importance of preparing children for success in school. 

To launch the campaign called "Leading Ladies for School Readiness," First 5 California established a partnership with the California Association of Ministers' Wives and Ministers' Widows.  To date, more than 50 leading ladies - women in leadership roles at their churches - are participating in the statewide program. 

"Leading ladies play an important role within their churches and communities," said First 5 Executive Director Kris Perry.  "The leading ladies of the African American church are trusted and reliable sources for information and our ability to reach parents with important messages about school readiness will be significantly strengthened through this historic partnership."

According to First 5 California, two-thirds of children in the state's high-priority elementary schools do not have the necessary developmental skills to enter kindergarten such as sharing, taking turns or sitting still in a classroom.

As local advocates for school readiness, leading ladies will work closely with church leadership and other community leaders to educate parents and caregivers on topics including good nutrition, health care, early literacy and the benefits of preschool. 

Some of the outreach activities organized by the leading ladies will include hosting church and community forums focused on African Americans and school readiness, establishing a speakers' bureau to educate parents and generate support for school readiness efforts, and serving as local media spokespersons for the school readiness education effort.

First 5 San Bernardino and First 5 Riverside will also support the Leading Ladies for School Readiness campaign.  The Commissions and their faith-based partnerships will help identify leading ladies and encourage them to join the program.  In addition, both Commissions will host workshops for leading ladies interested in becoming advocates for school readiness.

"First 5 San Bernardino understands the value in partnering with the faith community to reach parents and caregivers with critical information about the early years of a child's life," said Richard Jarvis, Executive Director of First 5 San Bernardino. 

Stella Smith, deputy director of First 5 Riverside said, "The Leading Ladies for School Readiness will enable First 5 Riverside to tap into the credibility and influence of leading ladies of the Black church to help remind parents that they are their children's first and most important teachers."

To support the leading ladies school readiness outreach efforts, First 5 California created a comprehensive outreach tool kit, which includes a variety of ready-to-use education materials and useful tips for reaching parents and caregivers throughout their churches and surrounding communities.

 "We want parents to know that preparing their child for school starts the day he or she is born," said Henryetta Benton, president of the California Association of Ministers' Wives and Ministers' Widows.  "We are looking forward to working closely with First 5 California to help ensure children get the best possible start in life and enter school healthy and happy."

According to First 5 California, 90 percent of a child's brain develops most dramatically during the first 5 years of life.  Therefore, what a parent does during these early years to support their child's growth and encourage learning will have a meaningful impact throughout their child's life. 

Leading ladies interested in participating in the Leading Ladies for School Readiness campaign are encouraged to contact the California Association of Ministers' Wives and Ministers' Widows at info@leadingladiesforschoolreadiness.com or call (866) 305-4813.  An interdenominational organization, the association has more than 200 members throughout California and has recently added school readiness among African Americans to its many advocacy goals.   

Social Lite’s Inc. Announces their 40th Annual Beautillion

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The Social Lite's Inc. of San Bernardino announce their 40th annual Beautillion is well under way.  Seven young men are vying for the title of "Sir Knight 2007" and are canvassing the community for businesses and individuals who will support their efforts

The Beautillion is a youth orientated program which focuses on assisting the community's outstanding college bound young men with preparation in leadership, organizational and presentation skills. The participants are exposed to a variety of civic, charitable and social events that begin in October and will conclude at the Beautillion Ball. This years Beautillion Ball will take place on March 31, at the National Orange Show.    

2007 Beautillion Knights are:  Charles Grays III of Arroyo Valley High, Daniel Stallworth of Cajon High, Terrell Thomas, of San Gorgonio High, Brandon Thomas of Canyon Springs High in Moreno Valley, Gerald Smith of Fontana High, Lionel Harrington  of Cajon High and Joseph Broome of Wilmer Amina Carter High in Rialto.

The Social Lites are also seeking all Beautillion Alumni. They asked contact Mrs. Helen Thomas at 909-854-7730 or Sheri Lewis at 909-421-2573.  

Click HERE to view pictures.

Tribe Grieves for Lost Leader

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Ray L. Patencio, former Tribal Chairman and longtime advocate, dies February 8

Former Agua Caliente Tribal Chairman Ray L. Patencio died Thursday at his home following an illness. He was 60 years old, and would have turned 61 on Feb. 9. 

Patencio was instrumental in forging the Tribe's relationship with the City of Palm Springs on a government-to-government basis by working to build understanding based on respect and common goals. "He was an incredible leader who gave every ounce of effort to help bring the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians to where it is today," said Tribal Chairman Richard M. Milanovich. "His whole life was one of service to the community and to the Tribe. We're devastated by the loss."

Former Agua Caliente Chairman Ray Palencio with Ron Oden
Palm Springs Mayor Ron Oden honored Patencio in March 2006, when Patencio was given a star on the Palm Springs Walk of Fame. His star was placed in front of the Hilton Hotel off of Tahquitz Canyon Way, the site of Patencio's former boyhood home.

Patencio recalled running barefoot around Palm Springs as a child, not because he didn't have shoes, but because he didn't bother wearing them. "We ran from tree to tree, chasing the shade," he told the crowd when receiving his star. "I bet we knew where every tree was in Palm Springs."

Patencio was Tribal Chairman from 1972 to 1981. When the Santa Rosa Indian Community won a key victory in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in 1975 affirming tribal sovereignty, Patencio was able to lead the Agua Caliente in affirming their right to be exempt from zoning and development control by the City of Palm Springs.

The legal tangle took two more years before the case was resolved, laying the groundwork for the Tribe to develop its various business enterprises in Palm Springs. It provided the basis for the Tribe and the City to develop their relationship in a way that respected sovereignty but paved the way for governmental agreements benefiting the entire community.

He was currently Chairman of the Agua Caliente Gaming Commission, serving since its inception in 1995, when the Tribe opened its first casino. The Gaming Commission, which oversees the regulatory functions of the Tribe's Spa Resort Casino in Palm Springs and Agua Caliente Casino in Rancho Mirage, maintains the day-to-day oversight in keeping with the California Gambling Control Commission and the National Indian Gaming Commission.

His involvement in Tribal as well as local community affairs led him to make a run for mayor in 1987. Patencio lost to Sonny Bono, the late entertainer who turned his successful bid for Palm Springs Mayor into a congressional seat now held by his wife, Mary Bono.

Patencio was also a leader in the struggle with the Bureau of Indian Affairs when Tribal members were not allowed to manage their own financial affairs. Guardians were appointed by the BIA to oversee their personal finances, eating thousands of dollars from each Tribal Member's budget. According to newspaper archives from 1967, such oversight cost one Tribal Member's income a whopping 50 percent of income over an 8-year period.

He has been a delegate to the State/Tribal Gaming Association, delegate to the California Native Indian Gaming Association and was current chairman of the Agua Caliente Election Board, which oversees elections of the Tribal Council. Elsewhere, he has served as president of the Casa Sonora Homeowners Association and the Board of Directors of Palm Valley School.

Over the years, he has spoken on behalf of the Agua Caliente Cultural Musuem to various schools and colleges, as well as local service groups, relating to the early history and culture of the Agua Caliente Indian People. He was also involved with the museum since the origin of the Agua Caliente Cultural Museum Association, serving as secretary before being named to the museum Board of Directors.

Patencio's family, including his wife Mary Kay, children and grandchildren, and members of the Agua Caliente Tribal Council, will miss him.

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BVN National News Wire