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Author Archives: WSS News

Bully Awareness Network, Dr. JJ Spinner Bring Awareness to End all Forms of Bullying with the Move 2 Improve Tour

Dr. Spinner

Dr. Spinner

LOS ANGELES, CA- Happening on Saturday, November 7, at the Chucos Youth Justice Center, in Inglewood, the Bully Awareness Network will launch its Move 2 Improve Tour, which consists of a series of events that seeks to empower the youth and encourage them to mirror and exemplify positive behavior. Dr. Spinner, the organization’s founder and president, believes that this is the first step to ending all forms of bullying is to change the behavior of individuals positively.

The Bully Awareness Network’s events have been called memorable and epic and have captured the city by storm as reported in CNN ireport, and the organization, a non-profit, has drawn rave reviews that have touted its president, Dr. Spinner, as the “Black Pope.”   Dr. Spinner has gone into schools, churches and communities, to preach his mantra, “end all forms of bullying.”  His passion stems from wanting to see all children, teenagers and young adults to be in environments that are free from bullying.

His noted book, A Systematic Approach to Ending Bullying caught the attention of Lou Gossett Jr. , who considers this book to be a must read and the methodologies discussed in the book essential to end bullying in our society.  Bullying is not only one person’s problem; it is everyone’s problem to come together as a cohesive unit to resolve this travesty.  The Bully Awareness Network’s supporters include: students, parents, community leaders, government executives, city officials, celebrities, professional athletes and others; noted individuals include: Senator Holly Mitchell, Ambassador Diane Watson, Lou Gossett Jr., John Amos,  the legendary Supremes, Jewel Diamond Taylor, Lisa Nichols, and Reverent June Diamond Taylor.

The thing the separates the movement from others is what it represents.  According to Dr. Spinner, “We strive to be a true network, like Gumbo, a lot of ingredients that forms a cohesive, savory taste. We welcome other organizations, share our resources, and bring a platform of unconditional love and unity.”  The Bully Awareness Network’s mission is to end all forms of bullying by purposefully seeking to teach and spread the core building blocks of its anti-bullying program: unity, knowledge, entrepreneurship and leadership.

The organization’s November 7 event will allow the youth to showcase his/her unique and special talents in dance, rap and signing in front of the industry’s best to encourage the youth that being gifted, talented and uniqueness should never be the basis of being bullied but the basis of the evidence of one’s greatness, which is why our creator only could make only one of me.  Some of the judges for the dance battle include Shane Sparks from America Can Dance Contest, one of the top Choreographers in the world; Ceasare Willis from the dance film Rize; and Kio from Dancing with the Stars; and Boogaloo Shrimp, one of the originators of the dance battle.   The judges for the signing portion include Kevin McCall, a Grammy award winner songwriter/singer who has written hit songs for Chris Brown; Cheryl Cooley of the fabled group Klymaxx; Dorsey Fuller, the head director for the beat and manager for the Grammy nominee Angie Fisher; and Kurupt.

The Bully Awareness Network is pleased to have Jerome Ro Brooks, an actor in Tyler Perry’s the Haves and the Have Nots, and Victor Battle, a national casting director, as presenters to speak to the youth about acting and getting casted.  In addition to the talent showcase and presentations, the youth will hear many positive messages in alignment with the organization’s mission from the best speakers, attorneys, city officials and school officials and more. There will be number of noteworthy celebrity speakers such as Gary Gary, director of the hit sensation movie Straight Out of Compton. The event will end with a comedy show, starring Wild ‘N Out very own funny woman, Aarona Lopez; Lester Barrie, a renown actor and comedian, and a host of others.

The Move 2 Improve tour will continue on December 22 with its toy give-a-way and Christmas Extravaganza at the Bradley Source Family Center. Selected contestants from the November 7 event will receive the opportunity to perform at the event in front of prominent city officials, celebrities, and elected guest.   In January 2016, the Bully Awareness Network has been selected to be a part of the Martin Luther King Parade, as a recognized non-profit organization for its service to the community.

Grand Marshall Raymond E. Rincon Will Be Honored In The 16th Annual Veteran’s Day Parade

Veteran parade & car show

First Sergeant Raymond Rincon

First Sergeant Raymond Rincon

SAN BERNARDINO, CA- The 16th Annual Veteran’s Day Parade & Car Show will be held on E. Street in San Bernardino on Saturday, November 7.  The parade will begin at 10 a.m., beginning at San Bernardino High school and end at the Inland Empire Military Museum and McDonald’s Museum at 14th and E. Street, which is historic Route 66.  In addition, the E Street Cruizers Car Club will hold a car show on E Street.  The street will be closed to through traffic from the high school down to Baseline. The parade is sponsored by Juan Pollo and the Inland Empire Military Museum. This family event of cars, food, and music will take place from 8 a.m. till 4 p.m.

This year’s Grand Marshall is First Sergeant Raymond Rincon.   “I joined the U.S. Army in 1966. I was stationed at Fort Campbell, Kentucky and assigned to the 101st Airborne Division, 501st Infantry. I went to Viet Nam in November 1967 with the 2nd and 3rd Brigade on C-141 Jets, not knowing if we were going to land or parachute in”, said Rincon.

Rincon was awarded The Purple Heart after being injured in the war. In addition to his Purple Heart, Rincon received a Bronze Star with “V” Device; Vietnam Service Medal; Combat Infantry Badge; Airborne Jump Wings; Air Assault Badge; and 18 other ribbons and badges from the U.S. Army, National Guard and the State Military Reserve. He served in the State Military Reserve for 20 years working with the National Guard. Rincon retired as a First Sergeant with 24 years of Military Service.

The day’s festivities also include special guest Richard Hanna, a World War II Marine Corps Veteran.

Participating Veteran’s organizations are Catholic War Veterans Post 762; I.E. Vietnam Veterans Chapter 47; Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 8737; I.E. Airborne Association; and the American legion Post 772.

For the last 4 years, muralist Phil Yeh has been painting a massive mural on the walls of the historic site of the first McDonald’s. Along with Rory Murray, Beth Winokur, Jan Windhausen, Sandy Cvar, and others, these murals show the history of San Bernardino on one side and California’s Route 66 on another wall. Now, Murray and Yeh have just about finished the front of the building. They have painted some noted cars and an image of the original 1948 McDonald’s. Sandy Cvar came out this year to do a portrait of Richard and Maurice McDonald.

The McDonald’s Museum is located at 1398 N. E. Street in San Bernardino and is open daily. The Inland Empire Military Museum is open on weekends. Admission to both museums is free.



Stop the School-to-Prison Pipeline: Educate not Incarcerate (Part 2)

Rally- State Prison 2

By Angela M. Coggs

On Tuesday, October 20th at 5pm an important rally took place at the San Bernardino City Unified District Board meeting in support of a new discipline policy. The community asked the school board to institute new policy that will ensure new discipline practices, such as Restorative Justice and Positive Behavior Support to be implemented IMG_0487throughout the district. The rally was attended by activist, students, parents, community members, and elected officials.

Restorative Justice is defined as a system of criminal justice that focuses on the rehabilitation of offenders through reconciliation with victims and the community at large. Positive Behavior Support is based on understanding why problem behaviors occur – the behavior’s function. This approach to behavior can occur on a school-wide level, in a specific setting, classroom, or with an individual student.

San Bernardino Unified School District ranks the 14th highest in suspension rates among African American students in California. Also, San Bernardino is 44th in the state with the highest number of willful defiance suspensions. This translates to the increase: 614 Latino and African American student related arrests, and the direct decline: 274 African American and Latino students who graduated this year college ready. The cities of San Bernardino and Rally- OutsideStockton made over 90,000 arrests from 1997 to 2013. These numbers are inconceivable.

What is the school-to-prison pipeline? The “school-to-prison pipeline” refers to the policies and practices that push our nation’s schoolchildren, especially our most at-risk children, out of classrooms and into the juvenile and criminal justice systems. This pipeline reflects the prioritization of incarceration over education. For a growing number of students, the path to incarceration includes the following: failing public schools, zero-tolerance and other school discipline, policing school hallways, disciplining alternative schools, and court involvement and juvenile detention.

This failure to meet educational needs increases disengagement and dropouts, increasing the risk of later court involvement. Some school districts have embraced zero-tolerance policies that automatically impose severe punishment regardless of circumstances. Overly harsh disciplinary policies push students down the pipeline and into the juvenile justice system. Many under-resourced school districts become pipeline gateways by placing increased reliance on police rather than teachers and administrators to maintain discipline. Students pushed along the pipeline find themselves in juvenile detention facilities, many of which provide few, if any, educational services. Students of color are far more likely than their white peers to be suspended, expelled, or arrested for the same kind of conduct at school. Though many students are propelled down the pipeline from school to jail, it is difficult for them to make the journey in reverse. Students who enter the juvenile justice system face many barriers to their re-entry into traditional schools. The vast majority of these students never graduate from high school.

Rally- Sam, Tom, And AbigailSchools that neighbor a state or federal prisons are more likely to have higher suspensions. San Bernardino City Unified School District is one of two districts in California to have the authority to arrest students and administer citations on their permanent record. The determination of organizations such as C.O.P.E (Congregations Organized for Prophetic Engagement), Youth Action Project (YAP), and I.C.U.C. (Inland Congregations United for Change) have played a vital role in organizing community leaders, parents, and students in rousing their mutual voices in implementing policy change. A direct result of this groundbreaking progress is the decline in overall suspensions from 11% to 5%, and the significant number of willful defiance suspensions from 7001 to 1371.

The criminalization of youth of color remains a threat, especially to African American students who continue to experience significantly disproportionate discipline for disruption/willfull defiance and face higher rates of school related arrest and referrals to law enforcement than other subgroups of students. Research has shown that when committing the same or similar subjective behavior offenses, African American students are inclined to receive more severe disciplinary consequences (Noltemeyer & McLoughlin, 2010a; Noltemeyer & McLoughlin, 2010b; Skiba, et al., 2002). African American and Latino students combined experience school-based arrest at a higher rate than those who complete A-G course requirements and are prepared for college and career.

“My prayer is for all students to have an equal opportunity to access information and skills that will prepare them to be whatever they wish to be and to make a significant contribution in the communities they will inherit. I commend C.O.P.E. and ICUC for identifying all current barriers that prevent students from that goal or divert them toward a negative outcome, particularly one that leads to prison,” said Carolyn Tillman, Special Assistant to the Superintendent, San Bernardino County Superintendent of Schools. “I commend C.O.P.E. and ICUC for their commitment to educate, monitor and hold accountable all institutions and individuals who contribute to or uphold the status quo for conditions that are counter to creating positive outcomes for kids. A rally is a good start; still we must do the daily intentional work to divert a pipeline from failure to success.”

San Bernardino City Unified School District board member, Danny Tillman, spoke from his heart in regards to the issue of the school to prison pipeline. He explained what the real intent for the citations has been misconstrued. He also stated that he is proud of the San Bernardino City Unified School District Police Department but they were put in place to “keep our students safe and benefit them. It was never meant to put our kids at a disadvantage because of a citation we give them which happens to be from a sworn police officer or sworn peace officer of the state of Rally- Edward BrantleyCalifornia. So whatever it takes to fix that, that’s what we must do.” He also mentioned an incident in his youth that could have been detrimental to his future if he was subjected to what many children are faced with today in our schools. “I would not have been able to achieve what I have if I had a citation given to me with the same repercussions.”  His comment spoke volumes. It was an honest response to the facts that were presented to the board.  His passion has felt by many of the parents and students in the room.

“The school to prison pipeline has been a concern of mine since I heard a hip hop album called, ‘No More Prisons’ by Raptivism in the late 90s and most recently I consider it to be one of the foremost issues of our time after reading the New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander.  San Bernardino area groups and coalitions like COPE, ICUC, WAG, The Fellas and the African American Education Collaborative are doing to highlight the fact that if we can reduce student suspensions and arrest, we have a greater chance of keeping students in the classroom and on a path to graduate and accomplish career goals. I know other determinants like having multiple teaching methods and deeper cultural awareness trainings for teachers and staff assists in the cause,” stated Jonathan Buffong, Buffong Consulting Solutions, a Consulting Group that work with local educational providers in the areas of leadership and program development.

“I also know that the desperate increase involvement by the families of students play large role in dropping those numbers but the of show concern this past Tuesday evening at the school board was geared to the San Bernardino Unified School District and their implementation of policies that will ensure that the current numbers drop. My hat goes off to this effort because I believe it is a step in the right direction. We also must support these efforts by educating our students and parents to understand that our schools should not have to put up with anything that distracts our children from learning so that they can accomplish their goals,” added Buffong.

Several board members participated and mingled with the community members during the rally prior to the school board meeting. The energy of the crowd was positive and uplifting. However, once the subject of citations was up for Rally- Standing Room Onlyboard discussion the mood in the room was turned quickly to serious business. It was a call to action. “As a lifelong resident of San Bernardino it was nice to see so many community members and activists come out and voice their concern for our students with a very supportive board who always keeps the best interest of our students in mind,” said Trimonisha Singer. “I am positive that they will do what is best for our community.”

This was just the beginning of what’s more to come. The board members all appeared to agree with what was presented to them that evening but only time will tell. Superintendent Dale Marsden suggested a subcommittee be convened to research what others districts are doing. However, Tillman and Flores both pointed out that C.O.P.E. and ICUC have already done the work for them. The community will not let this issue fall by the waist side. It is too important. “C.O.P.E. and ICUC has brought this to our attention, that we have to do more,” said Flores. “I admit it, we’ve come a long way but we need to do more.”