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Hip-Hop/Rap Artist Common Visits the ‘Hood’

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By Billie Jordan

Contributing Writer

It was a star studded afternoon that bled into evening with an aggressively executed plan to intervene and make a difference in the lives of the L.A., underprivileged youth. More than 250 people showed to the Los Angeles Cares Mentoring Movement (LACMM) Launch Celebration to lend their voices and promises of support. 


Including the surprise appearance of Hip-Hop/Rap artist, known as, "Common" who approached the speaker's platform with the same passion and candor evident in his music.

"I feel better right now," Common said, as he described his previous disposition regarding a venture that didn't go his way, and the advice that his mother gave him to deal with it. She told him 'go out and help somebody.' And that's exactly what he did and said he plans to keep doing. Common continued  "The Hip-Hop community is not ignorant. Our brothers and sisters are open to being corrected."

The passion for the important undertaking of the LACMM infused the day as Susan Taylor's grace and presence tempered the occasion.

"Not on our watch," Taylor said as she described statistics concerning children of inadequately performing schools. She cited 58 percent [of inner city students] are functionally illiterate. "This hopelessness cannot be allowed to continue on our Watch." she said. 

Actress, Sheryl lee Ralph told a candid story depicting the misdirected & often unfocused anger and lack of support found in parents and their children and even staff of inner city schools. "Somebody touched my daughter's phone," Ralph said, annotating a story featuring an angry parent responding to her daughter's involvement in a fight.

Her story, although funny in its identification of the foolish happenings of inner city education, ended with a beam of hope as she pinpointed the clues and evidence that actions of the mentoring movement in fact, make a difference.

Susan L. Taylor
The roar of the crowd and pace in the hallways of the LACMM launch Celebration & Press Conference was indicative of an aggressive movement that had begun picking up speed & high profile support. The idea that the hopelessness of L.A. inner city youth will be thwarted if Taylor's plans for galvanizing 1 million mentors pans out, peppered the room.

Susan Taylor challenged America to enlist a force of one million mentors to make a significant impact in the lives of inner city youth. In answer to Taylor's call, the National Cares Mentoring Movement is mobilizing forces of mentors for youth in African American Communities and launched its Los Angeles chapter LACMM, to facilitate this important mission locally.

LACMM will focus on outreach for greater Los Angeles and pairing the youth with organizations that offer readily assessable mentoring services and programs throughout L.A. neighborhoods.

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