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Author Archives: WSS News

The Story Behind the Show: Port Chicago 50 Premieres in Two Weeks

RIALTO, CA- The story of Freddie Meeks, a California resident, and Port Chicago a time in history; dare to remember…

It’s July 17 in Port Chicago, California, a cool summer Friday night at a munitions naval base 30 miles North of San Francisco. The year is 1944 and World War II is in full swing. According to a United States Navy report, “The actual work of loading ammunition and explosives aboard the ships was performed exclusively by Afro-Americans under the supervision of White officers and Afro-American petty officers,” and the routine assignment of Afro-American enlisted personnel to manual labor was clearly motivated by race and premised upon the mistaken notion that they were intellectually inferior and thus incapable of meeting the same standards as their white counterparts.”

But then the unspeakable happened, explosion after explosion – so fierce, it shook the ground with the force of an earthquake. Knocking out windows and shaking buildings as far east as Boulder City, Nevada. The results of the explosion at the naval facility killed or wounded 710 people, 435 of whom were African American. This single disaster accounted for more than 15 percent of all African American naval casualties during World War II.

What happened next is even more mind-boggling than the explosion itself? Following the explosion, many of the African-American survivors, expected to be granted survivors, leave before being reassigned to regular duty, but that leave was not granted, even for those who had been hospitalized. All African-American men were sent back to work loading ammunition under the same officers as before.

Fifty sailors of the United States Navy, all African-American men, refused to resume loading activities under the same conditions and were ultimately tried and convicted of mutiny for failing to obey orders. Thurgood Marshall, then chief counsel for the NAACP, was reported to state he saw no reason why the men should be tried for mutiny, which implies a mass conspiracy, rather than on lesser charges of individual subordination, and blasted the trial by stating that the defendants were being tried for mutiny “solely because of their race and color.” Virtually all of the convicted sailors were released from prison early in 1946 and were given a general discharge from the Navy “under honorable conditions.”

In 1999, Freddie Meeks was pardoned by President Bill Clinton in recognition of the injustice he suffered as one of the convicted sailors, and at the time of his pardon, Mr. Meeks said, “After all these years, the world should know what happened at Port Chicago. It should be cleared up that we did not commit mutiny, and we were charged with that because of our race”. In July 11, 2016 the Assembly Joint Resolution No. 33 was filed with the Secretary of State – it would pardon all of the members of the Port Chicago 50.

Dennis Rowe Entertainment is proud to present Port Chicago 50, a story of love for Country, the American Dream and a quest for Equality and Fairness.

Unbelievable…Emotional…Dramatic…Thought Provoking are some words audiences have used to describe Port Chicago 50. Broadway Producer Woody King, Jr. said “The actors and designers did an excellent job” and Linda Armstrong from New York’s Amsterdam News exclaimed “Everyone should see this show!”

Port Chicago 50 is a must see for everyone and will be a weekend of historical enlightenment! The powerful story is co-written by David Shackelford and Dennis Rowe, and directed by Dennis Rowe. Port Chicago 50 does use some strong language. Port Chicago 50 is presented by Dennis Rowe Entertainment from Los Angeles, California.

The play will kick off on Friday, December 1 in Rialto. To claim you discount on your tickets, please use PROMO code: “IMPROVE.”

Click here to buy your ticket!

Katja Bentrah’s Watu Wote (All of Us) Takes Home The Gold Student Academy Award

Director Katja Bentrah and Producer Tobian Rosen’s award-winning film Watu Wote (All of us), is based on a true story and has won over thirty-five film festival awards, including the Gold Student Academy Award. The film stars Adelyne Wairimu, Barkhad Abdirahman (Captain Phillips), Fasal Ahrmed (Captain Phillips) and Abdiwali Farrah (Fishing Without Nets).

For a decade, Kenya has been targeted by terrorist attacks of the Al-Shaaab. An atmosphere of anxiety and mistrust between Muslims and Christians is growing. Until in December 2015, Muslim bus passengers showed that solidarity can prevail.

Katja Bentrah started her career as a theatre tailor, but fell in love with filmmaking when she studied acting in Vienna. Her first short films (Babydoll, No one pukes in Heaven & Tilda) have been playing successfully at many international festivals. During her master studies at Hamburg Media School, she directed Where have you been, Secrecies and Watu Wote.

Producer Tobias Rosen was brought up in South Africa. After returning to Germany he worked as an actor at theater and for film, before he joined the producing masterclass of the Hamburg Media School. He supervised the graduation movie Child of Fire as director and producer as well as the historical drama Valentina. Rosen also produced the shorts Secrecies, At the End and Watu Wote.

Just a handful of this must-see films awards include; Best Narrative short at Brooklyn Film Festival, Best Short Film at the Oscar qualifying Bermuda International Film Festival, Best Short & Best Production at the German Newcomer Awards First Steps, the winner of the San Sebastian International Human Rights Film Festival and the Gold Student Academy Award, which qualifies it to be considered for a live action short film Oscar.


Free Bus Rides for Veterans on Veterans Day

SAN BERNARDINO, CA- To thank and honor the men and women who have served in our nation’s armed forces, Omnitrans again is offering free bus rides to US military veterans on Veterans Day, Saturday, November 11.

Veterans just need to show a veteran-status ID when boarding any Omnitrans bus to get a free ride. Veteran single ride fares also will be free through the agency’s new Token Transit mobile fare app on November 11.  Additionally, veterans can get half off their first purchase of a 7 or 31-day mobile pass through December 31, 2017.  Customers can text “TOKEN” to 41411 to get the mobile fare app.

“We’re pleased to honor our veterans with free rides on Veterans Day,” said Omnitrans CEO/General Manager P. Scott Graham, himself a veteran of the US Marine Corps.   About 10 percent of all Omnitrans employees are military veterans.

Since Omnitrans introduced a veteran fare in January 2015, an increasing number of retired military personnel have taken advantage of the discount.  Boardings attributed to veterans in 2015 averaged 13,061 per month.  By 2017 it has grown to 15,611 per month, an increase of nearly 20%.

Omnitrans offers year-round discounts for veterans.  A single ride is $0.75 for veterans, compared to $1.75 regular fare. Discounted veteran 1-day, 7-day and 31-day bus passes are also available. Accepted veteran IDs include those issued by US Departments of Defense or Veterans Affairs, San Bernardino County Veterans Affairs, and the California Department of Motor Vehicles.

All Omnitrans bus routes will be running regular Saturday schedules on November 11. The veteran free ride offer applies to Omnitrans freeway express and local bus routes, the sbX rapid line, and OmniGo community shuttles; it is not applicable to Access service for persons with disabilities.

Personalized trip planning assistance is available through the Omnitrans information center, at 800-9-OMNIBUS (800-966-6428), or online at www.omnitrans.org.