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Interview with Corey Benjamin: Former NBA Basketball player

IMG_9685By Nia Turner Moreno 

Where are you currently living at?

San Bernardino County, CA

Growing up did you ever think that you would play for the NBA?

Yes, that was my main goal in life. As a kid I used to dream of playing for the Chicago Bulls. I used to dream I was Michael Jordan when I was younger. And my dream came true because I actually was able to play with him when I joined the Chicago Bulls.

How old where you when you started playing basketball?

When I first picked up a ball and started playing I was 4 years old. I was going to Oregon State for 2 years, and I got drafted at 20 years old.

What did you like most about playing for the NBA and what did you like least?

There was really nothing that I liked least about playing for the NBA. Dreams come true so for me being in the NBA was an accomplishment

Do you still play basketball in your free time?

No, I don’t play, but I’m a basketball trainer for the Inland Empire. I train kids at Etiwanda High School and Fontana High School and middle schools in San Bernardino County. I’m also a mentor for nine Elementary Schools.

What have you been doing since you retired?

I’m a role model in our community and I have personal relationships with young boys and girls. There’s a lot of kids out there that need a good mentor. I’m a mentor for a lot in the San Bernardino community, especially the youth that are going off to college. I do my best to be there for them. Growing up in the environment I lived in, I didn’t have any good role models or guides to help me, so I pretty much just had to find my own way. I want these kids to have some kind of help; someone to set a good example for them.

Do you have any other hobbies beside basketball?

I fish when I have free time and I love spending time with my family and being a father to my five kids, 4 girls 1 boy. I’m busy most of the time, so it’s nice to spend time with them. Family is a very important part in my life.act_corey_benjamin

Is “Basketball Legende” still an ongoing program for the youth?

That’s the name of my program for the kids in the community. Legende is Legends in French. I played overseas in France and I like to incorporate my professional basketball background into the things I do now. A part of the things I do in the program is basketball training and I talk to the kids about keeping up good grades, as well because that’s a big part of playing basketball.

What would you say to the youth or anyone that is striving to reach their goals?

I tell all the kids that “dreams do come true it all starts with yourself”. Work hard, the harder you believe in your goal, whatever your goal is it can come true. What I tell my kids is if you want to be a doctor, find the best doctor there is and apply that to yourself. If you want to be a basketball player find the best basketball player there is and apply that to yourself.  Whatever it is that person did to make it where they’re at, apply it to the qualities that you already have. You have to put your goals first. Life is like a merry go round you’re up, you’re down; you’re not always going to be happy but you just have to believe in your goals if that’s what you want. There are other programs out there to help young kids, but if I can also help them that’s what I’m going to do. Kids are our future so I do my best to help out.

Is there anything else that I might have left out that you would like for people to know about you?

I’m a mentor. I’m a trainer. I’m a life coach. I speak for D.A.R.E programs, high schools, middle schools and elementary schools. I consider myself a disciple; I’m one of God’ called people.

 

 

Riverside Celebrates 36th Annual Black History Culture Parade, Expo

Article and Photos By John Coleman

RIVERSIDE, CA- In 1965/66, Riverside was the first largest school district in the US to voluntarily integrate their schools and to go forward despite, weeks later, the arson burning of its Lowell Elementary School. The 2015 Riverside Black History Parade and Expo will, in part, celebrate the 50th anniversary of that decision and the part it continues to play in Riverside’s becoming a ‘world class city’.

Dignitaries who participated in the 2015 Black History and Culture Parade included:   Rusty Bailey, Mayor;    Sergio Diaz, Police Chief;    Michael Moore, Fire Chief;   David Hansen, Supt, RUSD;     Stan Sniff, Sheriff;     Richard Roth, State Senator;     Jose Medina, Member, State Legislative Assembly.

Other Parade participants included:  community leaders, educators, business owners, ministers and members of their churches,   college and youth groups,   community service and activity programs,   NAACP,   Tuskegee Airmen,   Prince Hall Masons and Shriners,   car clubs and their prize auto collections, and many other people who march with their organizations to have fun.

There has to be recognition for those crowd pleasers that have their own ‘groupies’ who follow them whenever they parade, these include   The Ex-Plosive Drill and Drum Squad;

The Black Diamond Step Team; Black Diamond Cheer and Dance Team; and of course the San Bernardino Westside Steppers Drill and Drum Team.

Craig Goodwin, Wanda Scruggs, & Jeanie Gaines were announcers at the viewing stand, across from the historical County Court House.

 

BOTTOMLINE… Institutional Racism Requires Black History Month

Publishers Commentary by Wallace J. Allen

Crispus Attucks

Crispus Attucks

Black History Month is an acknowledgment of the fact that “Black Lives Matter”! The history of the planet and its people is peppered with accomplishments of adventure, creativity and tenacity by men and women of color.  The need to provide special attention to the importance of Black people in the development of the planet and Western Civilization is based on the institutional justification of Black enslavement. The Western Civilization economic needs justified a policy of Colonization that time has lived to determine as racist and exploitive. America’s greatness is tainted by our history of slavery and denial of reparations for the enslaved and their children’s, children’s, children.  The first official blood spilled for America’s freedom was that of Crispus Attucks, a Black man. Despite the hate constantly heaped upon Blacks in America, supported by the laws and policy of America’s institutions, Black people have served, contributed and earned the right to be respected and honored as a golden thread in America’s fabric.

Black History Month is a time that the institutions of America need to step up and acknowledge the equality gap. The elected officials, especially those who are in place because of Black elective support, as the representatives of the institutions that still get it wrong, should use BHM as a time to address the Black Community and express concern for the inequality that still exists. They need to attend events and place advertisements in the programs that are advocating for equal access and opportunity for the least served.  Though we applaud the accomplishments of Alexander Dumas, we cannot forget that Blacks are statistical victims in America’s education system.  Our elected officials are in charge of the schools that fail our children and the society that could benefit from another great Black scholar. They are in charge of our cities and counties where public safety and other government jobs are issued to the family members and friends of the “all ready employed good ole boys”.   There are still many individuals who have racist tendencies, but it is the institutions that have the power of policy that causes havoc to race relations in America.

Black History Month is the time that allows for image correction. The Black image is in need of an upgrade from both, the inside and outside… Black folk cannot afford to have “a season of pride”.  We should regard pride as a lifestyle not an occasion.  A lifestyle of pride requires us to realize that what we do today will be what our children’s children will regard as their history.  We will want them to know that we held our elected officials to a standard of service and respect that earned our votes.  The need for remembering Black people’s historical contributions will continue as long as our elected officials continue to allow and promote policies such as “war on drugs” and “three strikes”. Those policies are racist and they develop the statistics that make Blacks appear to be a social problem as opposed to the benevolent contributors that history proves.

Register to vote and vote! Take your children to a City Council, a School Board or County Board of Supervisors meeting, and explain how the officials get there and how they are replaced by election or recall.  Who you and I voted for and where you and I spent our money will become important personal history that has social implications for our children.  Let us get it right!