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The California African American Museum Celebrates National Children’s Book Week with Heads are Turning, Children are Learning Literacy Event

CAAM kids

LOS ANGELES, CA- The California African American Museum (CAAM) will host a free event for children with special celebrity book readings, writing workshops, art and more. Heads Are Turning, Children Are Learning Literacy Day will take place on Saturday, May 23, 2015 at CAAM from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Actor Donis Leonard Jr. from Showtime’s House of Lies will serve as the host.

The youth literary event will feature local Los Angeles authors including Valerie Woods author of Katrin’s Chronicles: The Canon of Jacqulene Dyanne Vol. 1, a young adult mystery novel set in 1968 Southside Chicago. Dawn Comer Jefferson and Rosanne Welch will present their book The Promise, a 1850s slave narrative based on a true story. Amiekoleh Usafi will be reading her children’s parable Gladstone. Yasmeen Christian is bringing Ava Had a Bad Hair Day, a children’s book with fun illustrations.

Heads Are Turning, Children Are Learning will have writing workshops for children lead by featured authors. Youth and chaperones can also have their books signed by their favorite authors, participate in arts and crafts activities, listen to kid-friendly music and receive free books.  Food will also be available for purchase from a delicious food truck.

“Literacy Day will be a refreshing break for children and families from recent news and civil unrest.” said Program Organizer Babe Evans. “Attendees will create positive, creative and fun memories with CAAM and leave with a renewed appreciation for literary art.”

Adults and children of all ages are encouraged to join CAAM for Literacy Day. CAAM’s events, programs and exhibitions are free for the public to attend. CAAM is located at 600 State Drive, Exposition Park, Los Angeles, CA 90037. Hours of operation are Tuesday to Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and closed Mondays.  Parking is $10 in the lot adjacent to CAAM at 39th and Figueroa streets.  For more information about CAAM and its exhibitions, programs and events, please visit: http://www.caamuseum.org or call (213) 744-7432.  Follow CAAM on Twitter and Facebook: @CAAMinLA.

District Attorney’s Gang Resistance Intervention Partnership (GRIP) celebrates first graduation ceremony in San Bernardino City Unified School District

GRIP-(HUNT)---7 (2nd GRADE)

SAN BERNARDINO, CA- The San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Gang Resistance Intervention Partnership (GRIP), in partnership with the San Bernardino City Unified School District, hosted a graduation ceremony for second and fifth grade students from Hunt Elementary School in San Bernardino today.

“This is a proactive partnership between our educators and students that allows us to make a positive impact in the lives our children,” District Attorney Ramos said. “By effectively using time and resources today to teach our students, we can steer them away from the dangers and influences of gangs tomorrow.”

During the graduation celebration, 200 students received certificates and a GRIP backpack filled with supplies. After the graduation, students were treated to a surprise visit and photo session with Inland Empire 66ers mascot Bernie. Each graduating student received two complimentary baseball tickets donated by the Inland Empire 66ers organization.

The second grade students who participated in the program successfully completed a 7-week course, while the fifth grade students completed a 9-week course. Both curriculums—which focus on the dangers of gangs and drugs, positive choices and respect for others and property—were instructed by school security officers with the San Bernardino Unified School District.

“We are pleased to partner with the San Bernardino County District Attorney and San Bernardino City Unified School District in preventive efforts that focus students on positive behaviors and keep them engaged in school and their communities,” County Superintendent Ted Alejandre said. “The GRIP program has had great success and is making a positive impact in the lives of students and families.”

The GRIP Program is now in its fifth year and has graduated over 4,500 students.

“We need to be proactive, and intervention and prevention is the best way to get the job done,” District Attorney Ramos said.

GRIP-(HUNT)---1 GRIP-(HUNT)---3 GRIP-(HUNT)---4 GRIP-(HUNT)---5 (5th GRADE) GRIP-(HUNT)---6

Part 2 of the Rialto Drop-In Jazz Fest Review

Sheila E.

Sheila E.

By Anthony Garcia

11174934_1607561346157968_4992549697075868977_nThe group Latin Express had just finished their performance for the Rialto Jazz Festival on Saturday, March 25th. This seemed to be the perfect time to speak with some of the musicians performing.

Pete Ortega, saxophonist performing with the Sounds of Sunrise Group. A musician “gunslinger” mentioned to me he recently was on the road with Stevie Wonder’s USA tour band. Mr. Ortega is an excellent player and a gentleman’s musician.

From The Frenz Band, Sir Ronnie Wells (guitar player) and Gabriel (trumpet player) were happy to perform at the festival and felt positive of their performance. Concert goer Gabby agreed.

The David Benoit Trio, world class musicians were absolutely amazing. The trio was on a roll when the Eisenhower High School choir stepped onstage, the rain stopped and the sky turned a beautiful spring blue with puffy white clouds. A beautiful, exciting performance. David Benoit is a class act on and off the stage.

Sounds of sunrise, aspiring performance, good music and vocals.11155015_1607561429491293_4727270569257504152_o

The Latin Society Orchestra local IE music legends have been performing for at least 30 some odd years. They are one of the Inland Empire’s favorite groups. Moe (bass player and leader of the 13 piece Latin group), mentioned his drummer Mike Coyazo has been with the band for over 20 years. Richard Ramos (horn player extraordinaire) is second in seniority. They are the heartbeat of the group. Legendary Latin Society 13 piece orchestra; well tuned orchestra, two trombones, great rhythm and singing English and Spanish.

Now to the headliners! Byron Millers Tribute to George Duke All Star Band were funky, funky, funky. The band consisted of some of the music industry’s most sought after hired guns. George Duke himself would be proud of their performance. I met Byron Miller and Sheila E. in Sao Paulo. Brazil. They both were in George Duke’s band. I was playing bass for Raul De Souza’s Jazz Funk Brazilian Band. Byron and Sheila E. were amazing then and even more so now.

10404122_1607559122824857_3304688476344126042_nThe all star performance this evening was an overwhelming musical treat. The audience seemed to be digging the tribute to the master George Duke. Byron took time between tunes to mention that Stevie Wonder was with George Duke when he passed. They were best of friends. The band played one of Stevie Wonder’s songs. Byron also mentioned he performed with Luther Vandross for 15 years.

My schedule did not allow me to catch the beginning acts of the festival, but I spoke with many people who saw the early acts snd were more than satisfied to have such an event in their own backyard.

Sheila E., one of the premier percussionists in the music world, has performed with Prince, George Duke, her father Pete Escovedo, her godfather Tito Puente, and many more legends of Jazz throughout her successful career. She is no stranger to the big stage, and took control of the final set. I have to admit the audience was graceful, patiently tolerating the elements. Rain, wind,and mud could not drive them away. Sheila E., who started an hour late on this cold, wet day, had us die hards ready and pumped up. She had an awesome backup band, catering to her every move. Halfway through the show, she stopped and asked why were there people behind the white picket fence. These were the general admission seats. She then asked the promoters if it would be OK if these people could come up to the VIP section. Soon after her request was granted. Now that’s the Sheila E. I remember. From that point on, her performance was awesome. Performance for the people.Hosted by Tommy Davidson and Josefa Salinas made possible a successful evening of important and beautiful music.

Rumor has it the next festival will be a 3-city project with the Mayors of The City of Colton, Rialto and Fontana merging for the cause.