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Author Archives: WSS News

Fontana Unified Opens Doors to Dolores Huerta International Academy

FONTANA, CA- An eager group of students cheered alongside Fontana Unified officials on Aug. 4 as a ceremonial ribbon was cut to celebrate the first day of the new Dolores Huerta International Academy, a $30 million campus that provides dual-language and pre-International magnet programs for 350 learners.

The academy, named for civil rights activist and labor leader Dolores Huerta, will serve students in kindergarten through third grade in 2016-17, and add fourth grade in 2017-18 and fifth grade in 2018-19.
The ribbon-cutting ceremony for the highly anticipated opening featured school and District officials, community members, parents, and students dressed in blue and white school colors.

“This school is truly a dream come true,” Principal Maribel Lopez-Tyus said. “It is the result of what we can accomplish as a community when we come together and demand the best for our children. This is an exciting time for Fontana.”

High demand for enrollment led Fontana Unified officials to select students through a random drawing that included 600 applicants.

The academy’s vision was a collaborative effort, with a council of 15 to 20 parents helping to develop the school’s beliefs, logo and vision, which is “Academic excellence and global compassion through innovative and multilingual education.” The academy’s international flair will be on display in the school’s foyer later this year when flags from multiple countries will hang to acknowledge the diverse heritage of the students.

The academy’s dual-language classrooms include a mix of native English and Spanish speakers so students can learn from each another.

Dual-language students receive 90 percent of their instruction in Spanish and 10 percent in English in kindergarten and first grade. As they progress through the grades, the percentage of English instruction grows until lessons balance equally between English and Spanish in fifth grade.

The Pre-International program will provide K-5 students with a challenging course of study to prepare them for enrollment in high school IB programs, which feature college-level coursework. Fontana Unified offers an IB program at Jurupa Hills High School.

“The international program here at the academy will put our students on an advanced track to achieving their academic goals,” FUSD Co-Interim Superintendent Randal Bassett said. “The bright and talented students of this school are our true dignitaries. They will be building our future.”

Letter to the Editor: I WILL Vote

By Mildred Henry

I read the headlines in total disbelief!

A professed leader in the Black Lives Matter  (BLM) movement reportedly said,  “I ain’t voting until Black Lives Matter“.  I cannot believe that any informed,  self-respecting African American will openly proclaim that he or she will not vote! This is a gross indignity because of the sacrifices and lives lost by our predecessors in order to gain the right to vote.  This misguided individual tramples on the graves of Sojourner Truth; Fannie Lou Hamer; the Mississippi Freedom Riders; Barbara Jordan, Dr. Martin Luther King, and the sacred graveyard list goes on and on.

Supporters of the “I ain’t voting” cognitive dissonance trample on the grave of my mother who was told she would lose her teaching job if she joined the NAACP and conducted a voter registration drive. She joined, became a lifetime NAACP member, and the family survived. 

We survived in spite of the racists who burned our family cotton gin (3 times) and general store to the ground.  Our family provided merchandise, and rides for neighbors to go to town, to register, to vote, to shop, and to conduct business. Comradery existed whereby you picked up and provided a ride to someone walking by the side of the road.   

 We survived in spite of the fact that schools for Black children were closed 3 and 4 months of the school year to work in the cotton fields. We survived  in spite of having to walk 10 miles to school while school buses for white children threw dust up in our faces.  We survived many adversities in order to be where we are today.  I WILL vote.  

Black people were castigated, tortured, lynched and suffered terrible deaths for just expressing the desire to vote.  It was through the power of the vote that we defeated segregationists George Wallace of Alabama, and Governors Lester Maddox and Orville Faubus of Arkansas.  If one of the reported leaders of the BLM is an attorney, as reported, he should be well aware of the court battles of Attorney and Chief Supreme Court Justice, Thurgood Marshall. As an Arkansan, I watched Attorney Thurgood Marshall and local attorneys like Attorney George Howard, engage in battle on behalf of the Little Rock Nine students’ effort to get an education at Central High School.  Mrs. Daisy Bates and the State Press Newspaper (distributed by my mother) espoused the power of the vote to change the segregationist structure in Arkansas. These students (and many others)  endured insults, life threats, personal danger, and loss of life to get a competitive education and learn that using the word “Ain’t” was not acceptable in the competitive corporate world.  We fought for a competitive education and the right to vote in order to right the wrongs.  I WILL vote!

Rhetoric is cheap. BLM threatens to give the presidency to Donald Trump. Why? I am amazed at how gullible some people are to the unfounded promises uttered by this individual. He promises jobs but he makes products abroad and sells them to consumers in America. How will providing jobs abroad “make America great”?  He can begin by bringing those jobs to America, and assure that ”Made in America” is on all of his products.  As a businessman, carefully scrutinize his business record and his tax return (which he refuses to release).

He speaks of diversity but uses the terminology “my African-American“ which to me equates to the slogan, “My Nigger,” so frequently used in my youth. 

Donald Trump uses negative slogans, personal insults, and exhibits totally unprofessional, crass behavior, unrepresentative of the values taught us as children.  How could any self-respecting African-American, knowledgeable of our ancestral history, threaten to vote for a self-aggrandizement individual who exhibits such unethical behavior?  We should not jump from the frying pan into the fire.  This is not a game of marbles between children. This is a serious world event which will impact the future of every human being on this earth, especially those of minority ethnic background.

I ask those who thought the Democratic inclusion of mothers of slain Black men was just “political theater”, what did the Republicans do to indicate the importance of this issue?  How did they show the seriousness of the Black Lives Matter movement?  News reports indicate “BLM Threatens to Hand Trump the Presidency”.   Why?  What has he done to earn it? This is not a TV show. This is survival.   I sincerely hope that self-grandiose individuals will not be successful in spewing their venom and preying on the sensibilities of the uninformed.

I WILL vote, and I urge every eligible voter to become adequately informed, VOTE, and Don’t Forget The Bridges That Brought Us Over!

Police Abuse Debate Is More Than A Black-White Issue

By Luis Vasquez-Ajmac, Urban News Service

While the national conversation on police and race seems like a black-and-white issue, many Latinos say they also feel mistreated by cops.

“I grew up in East L.A., in an economically depressed neighborhood,” said Long Beach Police Chief Robert Luna, the first Latino to lead the Los Angeles area’s second largest law-enforcement agency. “I did not have the most positive contact with the police or the people around me. I very much understand the concerns.”

Many Latinos report abusive experiences and negative opinions toward police, similar to those that numerous African-Americans have expressed nationwide, according to a survey by the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. 

“Excessive police use was a huge issue for the Hispanic-American community,” said Jennifer Benz, AP-NORC’s deputy director. Beyond answering this study’s specific questions, some respondents volunteered that “they or someone in their family was harshly treated by the police at far higher levels than whites,” Benz said.

This is not just a white-and-black issue, according to Benz. “Across the country, roughly four in 10 Americans believe the reason for police violence is overall problems with race relations in our society,” she said. “Three-quarters of Americans think it would be more effective to have diverse police forces nationwide.”

AP-NORC polled 1,200 white, black and Latino Americans on these topics in July 2015.
Law enforcement “has a lot of work to do, to continue the dialogue and talk about the excessive use of force,” said LAPD Captain Tina Nieto, incoming president of the Hispanic American Police Command Officers Association.

The L.A. native echoes those who advocate closing racial disparities by recruiting and hiring more people of color. “It’s very important to make an attempt to have a police force that reflects the community that you are servicing,” Nieto said. “I believe when your police force reflects the community, there are better outcomes.” 
Bryan Stevenson, executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative, said that where officers reside affects these matters. “We need officers to live in the communities where they police,” he said. “When they live outside the cities that employ them and commute in from neighborhoods that have very different, less diverse demographics, problems are aggravated.”  

The Manhattan Institute’s Heather McDonald disagrees.

“This is an irrelevant consideration. It’s the classic Black Lives narrative that embraces the white cop/black victim line-up,” said the author of the new book, “The War on Cops.”

“The Justice Department came out with a report last year in Philadelphia. It found that black and Hispanic officers were far more likely than white officers to shoot an unarmed black suspect. I think the inquiry of an officer’s skin color is largely a side show,” she said.

Rene Galindo, a telecom network engineer for 2talk, grew up as a Mexican-American in South Central L.A. He said there are two systems of law: one for whites and another for people of color.

“You thought it was normal for cops to stop you for no reason, check your personal property under no suspicion at all,” Galindo said. “I’ve been held for no apparent reason, just for walking home from a friend’s place at night.”  Nieto, however, said police do not confront people willy-nilly. “I know we are not just stopping you because we want to stop you,” she said. “We are way too busy in the city of L.A. Citizens can always request a supervisor to the scene if you believe officers are doing something they are not supposed to do.” 

“Many people of color do not see cops as protectors, but we see the opposite,” said Dolores Huerta, co-founder of the United Farm Workers union, which represents thousands of Mexican-American agricultural laborers. “They harass, intimidate and brutalize people of color and kill.” 

White Americans have it different, some say.

“In most situations, white people are not presumed dangerous or guilty,” said the Equal Justice Initiative’s Stevenson. “Because most police officers are white, this means that white people face a different level of threat and risk when they encounter the police.” 

Despite racial gaps in perceptions of law enforcement, most Americans say they want more diverse police forces to ease ethnic tensions.

“It’s not surprising for those of us aware of how the Latino community across the country has been treated by police,” said Thomas A. Saenz, president of the Mexican-American Legal Defense and Educational Fund. “We need to recruit a more diverse police force.”