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Woman Trumps Illness and Tragedy to Spread Sunshine

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By Chris Levister

Emma McBath knows firsthand what it feels like to walk in the shadow of illness and death, after all she won a long battle against uterine cancer in 1985, only to lose her 30 year-old-son Derrick to an automobile accident in 2005.

"God held my hand as I walked through those shadows. He told me don't hang your head, go spread some sunshine," says McBath.

So when the San Bernardino retiree reaches behind a sitting chair in her Sierra Way apartment and pulls out boxes filled with bags of Tootsie Rolls, Jolly Ranchers, Blow Pops, Fire Balls, Bazooka Bubblegum lollipops and old fashioned peppermints she is about to spread some sunshine.

Using a recipe of brand name candies, glue, twist top glass canning jars and a selection of bows, ribbons and strands of fake hair, in under an hour McBath meticulously transforms a plastic doll face into a work of edible ministry.     

Emma McBath says her brush with illness and tragedy inspires her candy doll creations. Proceeds fund her church's cancer patient ministry.

"They love them. There's the sensation of sharing the love" she says, "Twist open the candy covered head and 'voila' it's a refillable jar stuffed with candy." 

Started several years ago by women in her church, Restore of Life Ministries on "E" Street, the candy dolls weren't exactly a sensation at the church's fundraisers, says McBath.

"The people loved them but they didn't buy them. The women got discouraged and gave up. I kept making them and started giving them to cancer patients. Now it's my ministry."

McBath pulls a dozen dolls, in various sizes, from a curio cabinet and displays them on a large table. 

"The peppermint doll, that's everybody's favorite at Christmas. I can always count on the Tootsie Rolls to bring a big smile. Kids, they like the Blow Pops, Fire Balls and Bazooka bubblegum," says McBath.

"When people see the dolls they instantly fall in love. Their eyes light up. There's something about their little faces that drives the dark clouds away."

With the help of granddaughters Deirdre, Domonique and Daniela, McBath is gearing up for the season that best symbolizes her craft.

"Valentines Day you should see her - every table, chair, every vacant space is filled with red and pink candy dolls. She's like a kid in a candy store giggling and stuff. When people get them, they see it's her way of saying someone cares," said Deirdre.      

"We have to say grandma its time to get in bed," says Daniela. She just looks at us - looks at the clock and then opens another bag of candy. It's like she can't wait to share the love. You can see it in her eyes," said Domonique.

McBath admits she's had a few overzealous recipients return the dolls in need of repair.

"They try to eat the glued on candy. I tell them eat the candies from the jar not the head." She gets plenty of requests for refills.

While she continues to give some dolls as gifts McBath is now counting on her creations to generate money for her church's sick and shut-in ministry. The proceeds go to helping people with cancer.

The dolls sell for $25.00, $12.50, $7.50. Purchase one of McBath's signature designs or create your own. She says the dolls bring smiles to young, old, every race - no discrimination here.

"I tell people don't hesitate to give a White person a Black doll we are all God's children." She recalls the White cancer patient who received a Black doll.

"Her eyes were piercing blue - the doll was coco brown." As for her smile says McBath "Pure gold like afternoon sunshine."

Emma McBath - (909) 885-9389.

Sempra Energy, Greenlining Institute Celebrate Diversity with Reception

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By Bobby Chore

A joint effort by Sempra Energy Utilities and the Greenlining Institute led to an idea of acknowledging the growth of diversity in each workplace and the communities these organizations serve.

Debra Reed, president and CEO of southern California's Gas Company and San Diego Gas and Electric - both utilities under Sempra Energy - led the way at the Gas Company Tower, as several guests, community leaders and small business owners gathered for a reception at the Gas Company Tower in Los Angeles on Jan. 24. The crowded event celebrated the utility company's commitment to diversity.

"It started with a statement of commitment to diversity," Reed said. "We thought the best way for the partnership to show a working relationship was to have this."

Sempra Energy companies spent $251 million with women, minority, service-disabled and veteran-owned businesses.

"This is value," Reed said. "By having a much more diversified base, we are buying at lower costs and developing more competition. It's not just writing a check, it's being a part of communities."

Reed, along with Robert L. Gnaizda, policy director and general counsel of the Greenlining Institute, emphasized the importance of developing diversity throughout the company's hiring procedures and business decisions.

(l-r): Robert Visconti, Inland Empire Gas Co Regional Public Affairs Mgr; Debra Reed, Pres & CEO The Gas Co & San Diego Gas & Electric; Rialto Councilmember Deborah Robertson; Mitch Mitchell, Vice Pres External Affairs Gas Co & SDG&E; Barbara McGee, Rialto City Clerk; Lea Petersen, Gas Co Public Affairs Mgr.

The Greenlining Institute is a multi-ethnic public policy organization that strives to raise low-income and minority involvement in major civic practices and policy-making. Gnaizda shortly explained the reasoning behind the institute's partnership with Sempra Energy.

"Sempra convinced us that we wanted to be the leaders of corporate responsibility," Gnaizda said. "This is going to strengthen minority businesses."

Gnaizda added that the partnership was also inspired by the efforts of the Black Business Association, whose president, Earl "Skip" Cooper, II, was present to address the audience.

"The solution to our economic crisis in America is supplying small and minority businesses," Cooper said.

Last year, 25 percent of Sempra Energy's business suppliers were minority businesses. In fact, 61 percent of individuals hired by the company are minorities. 51 percent of the Sempra Energy workforce is African-American, Asian, Hispanic or Native American, while 30 percent of Sempra Energy's managers are minorities.

One of them is Mitch Mitchell, senior vice-president of external affairs at southern California Gas Company and San Diego Gas and Electric. Mitchell spoke of Sempra Energy's involvement in minority businesses.

"This is the beauty of our operation," Mitchell said. "We have the opportunity to bring diverse enterprises not only to make money, but make them stronger. The more successful these [minority-owned] businesses are helps build state economies"

"If you don't provide them with the conduit to think strategically, then you are hurting your economic future."

While a small Washington Prep High School band played jazz throughout the evening, community leaders like Rialto mayor Deborah Robertson were at the reception and cheerily socialized with Reed and other major officers, as diversity was the sole factor behind the event's success, and a collective understanding of diversity being the final result.

Celebrating the History and Music of the African American Church

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Valley College and the Black Voice Foundation Sponsor Seminar and Concert

On Saturday February 9, 2008 San Bernardino Valley College (SBVC) and the Gospel Music History Project (GMHP), a division of the Black Voice Foundation, will present a full day of activities recognizing the central role of the church in the African American experience.

The day will begin with "Through the Storm", a workshop on the history, music, and mission of the African American Church. Conducted by SBVC Professor, historian and gospel scholar Dr. Daniel E. Walker, the workshop will take place from 10:00am-2:00pm in the Valley College Library Viewing Room. The workshop will examine slave religion, the creation of African American religious denominations, the spirituals, Gospel Music, the Civil Rights Movement, and the challenges and opportunities faced by the modern church. Admission is free and lunch will be provided.

The day will conclude with a free Gospel concert featuring the Los Angeles chapter of the Gospel Music Workshop of America (GMWA) under the direction of Rodena Preston. The concert will begin at 6:00pm in the newly renovated SBVC Auditorium.

A gospel legend, Preston is the founder and former director of the historic Voices of Deliverance Choir and the National Director of the Stellar, Dove, and Grammy-nominated GMWA Mass Choir. With over 100,000 members, the GMWA is the largest Gospel Music association in the world. Founded by the late Rev. James Cleveland, the GMWA Mass Choir is responsible for debuting artists such as Donald Lawrence and John P. Kee to the gospel community.

For more information or to reserve your space for the workshop, please call 951-682-6070. Co-sponsors of this celebration include the Black Voice Foundation and the SBVC Arts and Lectures Committee, Black Faculty and Staff Association, and BSU.

Remembering Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

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I Have A Dream


Thrust into the national spotlight in Birmingham, where he was arrested and jailed, King organized a massive march on Washington, DC, on August 28, 1963. On the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, he evoked the name of Lincoln in his "I Have a Dream" speech, which is credited with mobilizing supporters of desegregation and prompted the 1964 Civil Rights Act. The next year, King was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

The following is the exact text of the spoken speech, transcribed from recordings.

I am happy to join with you today in what will go down in history as the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation.

Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand today, signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of their captivity.

But one hundred years later, the Negro still is not free. One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later, the Negro is still languishing in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land. So we have come here today to dramatize a shameful condition.

In a sense we have come to our nation's capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check, a check which has come back marked "insufficient funds." But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. So we have come to cash this check - a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice. We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quick sands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God's children.

It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment. This sweltering summer of the Negro's legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality. Nineteen sixty-three is not an end, but a beginning. Those who hope that the Negro needed to blow off steam and will now be content will have a rude awakening if the nation returns to business as usual. There will be neither rest nor tranquility in America until the Negro is granted his citizenship rights. The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges.

But there is something that I must say to my people who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice. In the process of gaining our rightful place we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred.

We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force. The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to a distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny. They have come to realize that their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom. We cannot walk alone.

As we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead. We cannot turn back. There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights, "When will you be satisfied?" We can never be satisfied as long as the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality. We can never be satisfied, as long as our bodies, heavy with the fatigue of travel, cannot gain lodging in the motels of the highways and the hotels of the cities. We cannot be satisfied as long as the Negro's basic mobility is from a smaller ghetto to a larger one. We can never be satisfied as long as our children are stripped of their selfhood and robbed of their dignity by signs stating "For Whites Only". We cannot be satisfied as long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote. No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.

I am not unmindful that some of you have come here out of great trials and tribulations. Some of you have come fresh from narrow jail cells. Some of you have come from areas where your quest for freedom left you battered by the storms of persecution and staggered by the winds of police brutality. You have been the veterans of creative suffering. Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive.

Go back to Mississippi, go back to Alabama, go back to South Carolina, go back to Georgia, go back to Louisiana, go back to the slums and ghettos of our northern cities, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be changed. Let us not wallow in the valley of despair.

I say to you today, my friends, so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal."

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of interposition and nullification; one day right there in Alabama, little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.

This is our hope. This is the faith that I go back to the South with. With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.

This will be the day when all of God's children will be able to sing with a new meaning, "My country, 'tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrim's pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring."

And if America is to be a great nation this must become true. So let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire. Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York. Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania!

Let freedom ring from the snowcapped Rockies of Colorado!

Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California!

But not only that; let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia!

Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee!

Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi. From every mountainside, let freedom ring.

And when this happens, when we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, "Free at last! free at last! thank God Almighty, we are free at last!"

Taken from http://www.usconstitution.net

Dr. Lulamae Clemons Celebrates 90th Birthday

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By Ashley A. Jones

“90-years-young,” Dr. Lulamae Clemons.
Friends and family gathered at the Canyon Crest Country Club on Thursday, December 27, 2007 to celebrate the birthday and accomplishments of Dr. Lulamae Clemons.

Dr. Lulamae Clemons, Whittie Thorton, and Rose Mayes.
Dr. Clemons has been dedicated in presenting herself as a positive figure in the field of education. She was honored with the 2002 Citizen of the Year Award by the Riverside Chamber of Commerce, the 2003 Presidential Citation for Distinguished Service to Youth Award, and she was named "Woman of the Year" by the Black Voice in 2005.

Rev. M. Ona Je and Eunice Hopper (sitting) with Frank and Dottie McClanahan (standing).
She has made a positive difference in such key positions as an administrator over the desegregation project at University of California Riverside, impacting a number of school districts in four states, Chairperson of Career Day for local Riverside County School Districts, and a charter member of Riverside City Community Relations Commission.  She currently serves on the board of the Riverside Fair Housing Council.
Reverend Calvin and Edna Cunningham.

Dr. Clemons said, "I feel very blessed to have family and friends to honor me on my 90th birthday."

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