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Funeral Slated for South L.A. Presidential Citizens Medal Honoree

Myrtle Faye Rumph with President Barack Obama at the Presidential Citizens Medal awards ceremony at the White House in 2010.

Myrtle Faye Rumph with President Barack Obama at the Presidential Citizens Medal awards ceremony at the White House in 2010.

SOUTH LOS ANGELES, CA- Myrtle Faye Rumph founded a youth center in 1990 in South Los Angeles and named it after her son, killed in a drive-by shooting. Twenty years later in 2010, President Barack Obama presented the then-Inglewood resident with one of 13 Presidential Citizens Medals, our nation’s second highest civilian honor, for her work providing education and recreation for more than 5,000 youth in grades 3-12.

Rumph, founder of the Al Wooten Jr. Heritage Center, passed away on Wednesday, January 7, 2015, at Community Hospital Long Beach after suffering cardiac arrest. She was 83. She was living in Long Beach with her son-in-law and daughter Michael and Barbara Clark.

“My mother was a quiet but passionate woman filled with compassion for all people,” Barbara said. “She dearly loved God, her family, and the children at her center. Her life has left me with such a legacy of how to live life to the fullest.”
A memorial with family and friends, Wooten students and alumni will be held on Monday, January 12, 6 p.m., at the Wooten Center at 9106 S. Western Ave., Los Angeles. Participants are planning a lively home going with candles, posters, horns and a flower-planting in front of the center.
Funeral services will be held on Friday, January 16, 11 a.m. at Faithful Central Bible Church, 400 W. Florence Ave., Inglewood. Rumph will be buried at Inglewood Cemetery Mortuary next to her husband Harris Rumph and eldest son Al Wooten, Jr., who died on January 19, 1989.

Myrtle Faye Rumph was born on February 21, 1931 on the Griffith League sharecropping farm in Chisholm, Tex. She was the fifth of 10 children born to Rev. Enoch and Adell Ross.

Rumph worked as an independent seamstress for many years as a single parent in Watts, where she lived in the Imperial Courts Housing Project with her three children after a divorce to Al Wooten, Sr., an Air Force lieutenant. She witnessed the beginnings of the Watts Riot in 1965 across from her business on 103rd and Central. Two months later, she married sanitation worker Harris Rumph and moved to a home in South Los Angeles. The couple owned and operated several businesses, including a lawn service, coin-operated laundry and 28-unit apartment building.

The Rumphs were owners of H&M Moving and Storage on 91st and Western when gang members murdered Al, a reported innocent victim of a gang initiation. After a year of meetings and planning with family and friends, Rumph rented a storefront next door to H&M for $400/month. Within a year, she sold her Inglewood home to help pay the center’s bills.

The Wooten Center opened in 1990 with four pre-teen boys, taggers who used to hang out on the corner in front of the Rumph’s business. The four boys now ages 30-plus are expected to attend the memorial and funeral.

Today, the Wooten Center provides afterschool, summer, gang prevention, SAT-prep and other college readiness programs for more than 500 students in grades 3-12 at the center, local schools and other community sites. For more information, call executive director Naomi McSwain at (323) 756-7203, x28, or visit their Website at www.wootencenter.org.

High Desert Martin Luther King Celebration Events

IMPORTANT DATES

Monday, January 19th 2015

DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. PEACE MARCH /

       CIVIL RIGHTS MEMORIAL DEDICATION

 Presented by Victor Valley NAACP Branch 1082

 Join us in the commemoration and Dedication !!!

 Hear brief updates on the issues and concerns of the community from Honorable Darren Parker, San Bernardino Sheriff’s Department, and Victorville City Manager Doug Robertson presenting the Civil Rights Memorial.

 

Date & Time: 10:a.m.

 MONDAY, JANUARY 19, 2015(MLK Holiday) 

Location : Corner of Seneca Rd. and Civic Dr . near Victorville City Hall     

14343 Civic Dr., Victorville, CA 92393

 

This event is FREE to the public. ALL ARE WELCOME!!!!!!!

 

   For more information, call (760) 964-7364 
____________________________________________
Monday, January 19th 2015
 
11:30a.m. – 3:00p.m.
McKays Mortuary and High Desert-Inland Valley News will host Martin Luther King Day post Freedom March ‘Warming Station’. The event will feature guest speakers, poetry, freedom songs and music by talented local artists.
Vendors available, and delicious complimentary foods/beverages will be served.
Location:
McKays Mortuary
14444 7th Street
Victorville, CA 92395
Call (760) 887-3746 or (760) 951-4589 for information
_________________________________________________
Monday, January 19th 2015
5:00p.m. – 7:00p.m.
High Desert Black Heritage Committee
Annual King Day Celebration variety show and events. Commemoration service, musical artists, speakers.
Victor Valley College
18422 Bear Valley Road
Victorville, CA 92395
_____________________________________________

 

                  MLK HOLIDAY BLOOD DRIVE

The Diocese of San Bernardino-Catholics of African Descent and LifeStream have convened the coalition of community partners to conduct the 15th Annual “Blood of the Martyrs” Blood Drive on January 19, 2015 the Martin Luther King holiday.

Blood donations will be made in honor of the man who gave his blood for this country and also increasing the incidence of bold donation among non-donors historically. Blood donations by African Americans have increased by 300% in the Inland Empire. Moreover the event will help keep alive the memory of Dr Kings for generations who were not born when the he was martyred.

All four official blood bank sites, flying the Blood of the Martyrs banner, will be manned by volunteers for the coalition who will encourage sign-ups prior to the holiday and recruit walk-ins to donate in honor of Dr. King. Sites will be open on varying schedules. Other sites, such as churches, will be serviced by LifeStream mobile units.

For donors who cannot donate on the holiday, may do so on any date for the balance of the month of January at the official sites.

Coalition members include fraternal, religious and service organizations in the Inland Empire such as Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inland Empire Black Nurses, Knight of Peter Claver& Ladies Auxiliary, St. Anthony Catholic Church, Eccelesia Community Church and the National Council of negro Women, both the Inland Empire Section and the Victorville Section.

For time schedules, directions and other information, call David Okwonkwo at the Diocese of San Bernardino 909-475-5194- or Don Escalante at Lifestream at 909-885-6503-. Donors may also call the various sites:
San Bernardino     909-8856503
Riverside               951-687-2530
Ontario                 909-987-3158
High Desert         760-849-9700

 

Free Associate’s Degree: A Solution, But Not the Solution

William E. Spriggs

William E. Spriggs

By William E. Spriggs

We should all congratulate President Barack Obama for pulling the education debate into the 21st century, or perhaps dragging it into the late 20th century, by proposing access to free education through at least an associate’s degree. But this merely restates the obvious.
As the White House documents supporting this policy point out, in the late 19th century and early 20th century, as the economy transformed into the modern era, Americans embraced the call of Progressives to extend public education from 8th grade to 12th grade. New job skills were required in the age that brought about automobile, telephone and airplane manufacturing and new occupations like electrician, motion picture projectionist, X-ray technician, truck driver, bus driver and radio operator-jobs that could not have been imagined in 1880.

So, too, common sense dictates that a high school degree in a world of computer processors and cell telephone communications cannot meet the needs of a changing world where webpage designers, “app” writers and cybersecurity specialists are in high demand.

The president is simply asserting the obvious in extending free associate’s degrees as a democratic right. The price of the basic ticket to the game has changed. That means the full access to society has a new predicate.

Unfortunately, we live with a dysfunctional democracy where anti-democratic forces are strong. There are those who are fighting hard to limit voting rights instead of the American ideal to protect and strengthen those rights. So it isn’t surprising that voices are being raised to limit economic rights, and to instead rail against “government” extension of opportunity. Of course, the movie “Selma” reminds us that small minds have sought to limit opportunity in America for a long time.
But beyond the obvious need to redefine the right to a basic education in a world in which “basic” has clearly changed, the rest of the president’s case is short on the fuller problems and issues facing America.

First is the notion that the extension of the educational right is a solution to the sagging earnings of Americans. At the beginning of this century, in 2001, the median earnings of American men was $42,755, but in 2013 they had dropped to $39,602. This was despite an increase in the share of men with associate’s degrees from 7.5 percent to 9.1 percent and declines in the share of men with less education than an associate’s degree from 63.4 percent to 58.1 percent. It also came despite an increase for those holding bachelor’s degrees or higher from 29.0 percent to 32.8 percent.

So, despite increasing educational attainment, the income of men fell. More to the point, the income of men holding associate’s degrees fell from $51,144 to $42,176. More emphatically, the median earnings of men with bachelor’s degrees fell from $65,769 to $58,170.

Second is the argument that a better educated workforce will lead to a more productive workforce. This is clearly the case. Productivity of America’s workers increased from 2001 to 2013 by 27 percent. And increases in productivity are traditionally the source of increasing wages. But wages did not increase.

The president’s proposal deserves immediate support. But it must be supported in the framework of extending rights and opportunities that is the hallmark of America-the nation that always looks forward. And we must fight against those who want to take us backward.

Still, as the AFL-CIO’s recent National Summit on Raising Wages highlighted, the United States is facing a more fundamental structural problem that must be addressed. We have a better educated and more productive workforce, but a workforce that is getting paid less. Those lower wages are not the workings of the market or some economic necessity. Those lower wages are the result of clear choices to feed corporate coffers at the expense of an economy that functions for all. As AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said, we must have policies that treat corporations as part of America, not above America.

We must commit ourselves to reinvest in America. Those who look backward will see costs; those who look forward see dividends.