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San Bernardino County Diversion Program Only Helps Rancho Cucamonga Offenders

By Renea Wickman

Last Tuesday, the Inland Empire Concerned African American Churches held a community forum with the San Bernardino County Public Defender and District Attorney’s office. The topic of discussion was the diversion program for non-violent misdemeanor offenders. It was implemented as an effort to reduce the case loads of misdemeanors by upwards as 25 percent.

The diversion programs is a four month program at a cost of $400 run by the private company Corrective Solutions. To qualify for the program you must be charged with a misdemeanor, have no prior record, live in Rancho Cucamonga, pay $400 for the Corrective Solutions program and volunteer for the program.  The San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors approved the program last month.

The issue that concerned the African American community included a number of things. The issues at hand are the program’s cost of $400 run by a private corporation; other possible costs could be incurred for drug testing, alcohol and drug classes, anger management classes and other classes if suggested by the Judge, DA or Public Defender to complete the program.  The DA says the cost of $400 to low income families is on a sliding scale, but not the additional classes that may be required. In addition, concerns that the program only applies to Rancho Cucamonga residents and those who have no prior criminal record were also raised because the African American community has a disproportionate number of community members with prior convictions. The DA also mentioned that it is at the discretion of the DA and Public Defender if a person with a non violent record can be allowed to voluntarily enter the program. For this reason the concern was that fair discretion is rarely given to an African American in the criminal court system. Lastly, the concern was that the community members of the City of San Bernardino would best benefit from such a program. However, the DA stated that Rancho Cucamonga had the most misdemeanors of any city in San Bernardino County. The IECAAC asked the Public Defender and District Attorney’s representatives to include racial stats of all qualified cited individuals weather they volunteered for the program or not.

If the program is completed the individual would not have any record of the charge what so ever on their record. The DA added that the program is a pilot program and reviewed every six months and will last 3 years. If you have more questions or concerns about the Diversion Program you can contact the San Bernardino County Public Defender and District Attorney’s Offices.

KhyKel Music Enterprises and the Beat Series Present the “Music is a Part of Everyday Life” Toy Drive

LOS ANGELES, CA- Music is a part of everyday life! We hear it on TV, radio, even the sounds of traffic produce music. With music all around us, Torrey Adams, founder of KhyKel Music Enterprises and The Beat Series, has started an initiative to expose children to the positivity of music by way of the “Music is a Part of Everyday Life” Campaign.

On Tuesday, December 22, they will contribute to the initiative with a toy drive giving to non-profit organizations, which include House Full of Toys, the Boys and Girls Club of Carson, the Fernando Pullum Community Center and Christ Centered Community Church. Not only will the event tie music to everyday life, but it will also show children the importance of philanthropy.

Held at the Carson Community Center from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., the first annual “Music is a Part of Everyday Life” Toy Drive will include engaging elements such as a talent contest, a photo booth, live performances and more. All attendees are urged to participate in the philanthropic efforts by bringing an unwrapped toy, canned goods, or used musical instrument(s) and/or equipment to donate to any of the participating non-profit organizations.

The campaign was kicked-off last month with a music workshop hosted at Imperial Square Music Studios in Santa Fe Springs, CA. The workshop educated the attendees on the behind-the-scenes magic that happens during the music-making process. All in attendance learned about music terminology, the dynamics of the studio (from its geometric layout to the placement of the instruments) and participated in a live recording session. The next workshop is scheduled to resume early 2016.

Bringing Love to Mourning Families for the Holidays

VICTORVILLE, CA- On Sunday, December 20, Recording Artist Justified and Men of Faith In Action, will be teaming up with non-profit organization Living Life After Death, which out to Families who are in mourning after losing a loved one.

“It’s rough during these holidays without my wife,” Justified stated. “I know my kids go through it, and I just want to be a blessing to this charity and help them raise money so they can continue to bless other families going through what I’m going through.”

Together, Justified and Living Life After Death, will be hosting a Holiday Giveaway at the High Desert Performing Arts Center located at 15615 8th Street in Victorville. They are excepting the community to get involved and come out with unwrapped blessings to bless the less fortunate. Although this is typically a toy drive, Justified and partner Terry Boykins, CEO of Street Positive, want to encourage people to bring out a blessing that can bless other households during this season, these items include the basic necessities, such as toilet paper, paper towels, diapers, baby supplies, and more.

During the event tickets will be sold for the “Dinner with Dad” event that will be held on Thursday, January 7 at Hometown Buffet located at 14689 Valley Center Drive in Victorville from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Street Positive has agreed to pay for up to 100 children’s meals for “Dinner with Dad”. For each ticket sold at the holiday giveaway event, up to four children’s meals will be covered accompanied by the adult with the dinner ticket. Justified has a strong faith that the community will come out and support both of these events and be a blessing to the City of Victorville.