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#SchoolsNotPrisons Arts, Music Tour Comes to San Bernardino August 25-27

SAN BERNARDINO, CA – The statewide 2016 #SchoolsNotPrisons Arts and Music Tour is coming to San Bernardino Thursday, August 25 to Saturday, 27, calling for less spending on punishment and more investment in education, health and support for young people. 

“We are spending money on the wrong things,” said Ayla Lopez, a senior at Arroyo Valley High School and an Inland Congregations United for Change (ICUC) Student Leader. “Schools, not prisons, are what will keep our communities safe. The best thing we as a community can do to make positive changes is to vote.”

The week’s events will highlight three areas of action for the San Bernardino community: 1) Replacing harsh school discipline like suspensions with positive discipline that keeps kids in school; 2) Offering increased health services in schools, especially mental health; and 3) Increasing San Bernardino County’s investment in youth programs and services. 

“We spend $144,000 a year to lock up a young person in San Bernardino County, but only $10,300 per K-12 student,” said Dina Walker, President/CEO BLU Educational Foundation. “That needs to change so our young people can thrive and reach their full potential.” 

The week’s events are supported by a coalition of San Bernardino County organizations, including Time for Change Foundation, BLU Educational Foundation, COPE, ICUC, Life Center Church, United Nations of Consciousness, and Youth Action Project.

The week’s activities will begin Thursday, August 25, with a community roundtable bringing together school and city officials to discuss how San Bernardino can shift more public spending from punishment to prevention in schools and communities. The roundtable will be held at Inghram Community Center, 2050 N. Mt Vernon Ave., San Bernardino, CA 92411 and will begin at 11:30 a.m.

On Friday, August 26, ARTIVISM will take place at Anne Shirrells Park Community Center, 1367 N. California St., San Bernardino, California 92411 at 5 p.m. The youth exhibition, which will combine both art and activism, will provide local youth the opportunity to visually express their ideas for how to create safe and healthy communities.

The week’s events will be capped off by Saturday, August 27 with a arts and music festival at California State University, San Bernardino’s Santos Manuel Student Union. The festival will begin at 5:30 p.m. and will feature art, food, music and community presentations. There will be performances by Audio Push, Mistah F.A.B., The Occupation, Jasiri X and Low Leaf, along with local artists and special guests. All in attendance will be encouraged to vote and get involved in their communities.

“We’re hyped to be a part of this tour because we get to really stand behind something with substance,” said Oktane of Audio Push. “This isn’t just a concert for the money and a good time and then everybody leaves. This is really speaking for something bigger than all of us on that stage, and that’s always been what we’re about. A bigger purpose. We’re excited for what’s to come!”

The tour will support campaigns by San Bernardino youth and community leaders to create thriving, healthy and safe schools and communities. Right now there is too much harsh punishment in schools that’s harming San Bernardino’s young people, especially youth of color who are suspended most often. Last year, San Bernardino County schools suspended more than 22,000 students – that’s more students than attend California State University, San Bernardino.

Even one suspension increases the chances of dropout and getting in trouble with the law, and San Bernardino students need positive supports to help them when they get off-track.

A primary focus of the tour will be to increase peaceful activism and voting among California’s young people whose opportunities are being cut short by the overuse of punishment and overspending on jails and prisons. 

“This week of activism will give our community an opportunity to share its vision of real safety with our elected leaders,” said La’Nae Norwood, Executive Director/Founder of United Nations of Consciousness. “Young people must be part of the decision-making process, and when youth vote, we see the power of their voices.”

The week of action is a time for San Bernardino to unite around the goal of strengthening our communities, said San Bernardino City Unified Superintendent Dale Marsden. 

“We are grateful our community can come together to strengthen our systems of support for students,” said Superintendent Marsden. “Together we can make hope happen for every child.”

The #SchoolsNotPrisons Arts and Music Festival will be a free, all-ages event that will include art by San Bernardino youth, food and more. The event is free of drugs and alcohol. To attend the event, participants can RSVP at www.eventbrite.com/e/schoolsnotprisons-tour-san-bernardino-tickets-27058699298

High Life Music Festival Postponed Due to State of Emergency

Due to the extreme fires in San Bernardino County, The High Life Music Festival made the decision to postpone their music festival today when Gov. Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency in San Bernardino County. Wildfires are currently raging throughout communities with evacuations ordered to 82,000 residents in the area, making transportation to the region also difficult. 

The festival was to take place at The San Bernardino County Fairgrounds on August 20th and 21st, 2016, but is currently being used as an evacuation and animal shelter. As a result of this postponement, High Life Music Festival will continue to grant ticket holders admission to a future date once determined. 

“The High Life Music Festival would like to send our thoughts and prayers to the High Desert community affected by the tragic wild fires. It is with great disappointment, but a necessary decision we had to make to reschedule this year’s High Life Music Festival.  Safety is a priority for our festival goers, vendors, patients, sponsors, exhibitors, and staff,” said High Life management.  “We also respect the governor’s state of emergency declaration and the safety of our community and first responders.  We apologize to those who had planned to visit the area this weekend and hope you bear with us as we continue to make arrangements for a rescheduled date.” 

For more information and updates or to contact festival coordinators please visit www.highlifemusicfestival.com

Berlin Wasn’t Just Jesse Owens’ Olympic

By Ronda Racha Penrice, Urban News Service

Gymnast Simone Biles. Swimmer Simone Manuel. Shot putter Michelle Carter. All three won gold medals at the Rio 2016 Olympics in sports not typically associated with black American athletes.

Eighty years ago, a grand total of two black American women athletes, Tidye Pickett and Louise Stokes, both in track and field, traveled to the 1936 Olympics in Berlin, where Jesse Owens won four gold medals. Because his victories debunked Adolf Hitler’s pronouncements of Aryan supremacy, many believe Owens was the only black American Olympian there.

“He wasn’t alone,” says filmmaker Deborah Riley Draper. “There were 17 other people.” Her documentary, “Olympic Pride, American Prejudice,” tells the stories of Pickett, Stokes and the other black American Olympians with Owens.

Nine of them also won medals in the Nazi capital. Some did so with Owens. Some competed against him. Some didn’t compete with him at all. 

Ralph Metcalfe shared the podium for gold with Owens after the 4×100-meter relay. Then Metcalfe won silver to Owens’s gold in the 100-meter dash. Jackie Robinson’s brother, Mack, took silver to Owens’s gold in the 200-meter dash.

In high jump, Cornelius “Corny” Johnson won gold, while Owens’s fellow Ohio State Buckeye, Dave Albritton, snagged silver. Archie Williams mined gold and James “Jimmy” LuValle bronze in the 400-meter run. John Woodruff won gold in the 800-meter run. Frederick “Fritz” Pollard scored bronze in the 100-meter hurdles, and Jackie Wilson earned silver in bantamweight boxing. 

Draper found their stories accidentally while researching the life of American trumpeter Valaida Snow, who shared her tale after being interned during Hitler’s rise. Snow’s positive comments about the black American Olympians in Berlin sparked Draper’s curiosity. It took the former advertising executive four years to put the puzzle together. That puzzle is chock full of stunning archival footage, interviews with some of the Olympians’ children, and even actual audio from Olympians Williams and LuValle. In fact, their words help narrator Blair Underwood, also an executive producer, tell the story.

“It’s remarkable to have their voices and to have them kind of guide you through their experience through Berlin. It kind of feels like you’re having that conversation with Archie or Jimmy,” Draper says.

Digging through the archives of the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, Draper found interview transcripts and then hunted down the corresponding audio. As demonstrated in her breakthrough black-model-focused 2012 documentary, “Versailles ’73: American Runway Revolution,” Draper has a knack for letting her subjects speak for themselves. That was easy in “Versailles ’73;” her subjects were still alive. It is decidedly more difficult when all the subjects are dead. But Draper is committed to letting black people speak, even if it is about the 1930s where their voices are harder to find.

“I don’t like anyone to speak for me, so I don’t want to take someone else’s voice from them because I don’t like my voice taken from me,” Draper says. “I think that’s a respect thing.”

This also speaks to the independent filmmaker’s work ethic. Louise Stokes Fraser’s son, Wolfie, recognized it immediately after seeing an early cut of “Olympic Pride.”

“He looked for seven years to find footage of his mother and was unsuccessful, and he was a cameraman for NBC for 30 years,” says Draper, who found the footage in archives in both Los Angeles and Berlin.

When he did see his mother, Draper says, “He cried a lot. He saw his mom on the boat, and he saw his mom getting off the bus. He saw his mom in the stadium, the Nazi stadium, sitting there next to Mack Robinson. His mother. And he said he was so proud. Just seeing her reminded him of just how amazing his mother was.”

That kind of response is what keeps her Atlanta-based Coffee Bluff Productions grinding. (Draper named the company after a historic stretch of her native Savannah.) “Olympic Pride” premiered theatrically in New York and Santa Monica on August 5. It is also available on Comcast’s Xfinity Streampix and can be pre-ordered on Amazon. A 10-city expansion is in the works for September.

If Draper and those like her hope to continue to buck the Hollywood mainstream, she says, the public will have to step up and massively support these movies.

“We need a movement to elevate the film in the consciousness of people who want to see this type of film. We need folks on Facebook (1936OlympicsMovie) to tell us they like the film,” Draper says.

“We have to convince distributors that there’s an appetite for African-American films,” Draper says. “People have to be convinced that African-Americans want to see something different.”