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Letter to the Editor: Smelling Roses

By Dr. Mildred Dalton Henry

Last week, while attending a Careers Day at Dr. Mildred Dalton Henry Elementary School in San Bernardino, I was asked by a young female probation officer, ”How did you get a school named after you?”  I replied, ”Good question because I, too, have wondered.”

Many individuals think I am too fervent  about Black History, however, I firmly believe that it was Black History that placed me in San Bernardino impacting hundreds of thousands of lives along my journey. Perhaps it is because those teachers in all-Black Merrill High School, Pine Bluff, Arkansas told me to learn the contents of ragged, used books brought to our school from across town and one day I would rise above the inequities and insults we had to endure in that segregated society. Henry Elementary School in San Bernardino has stacks of new books for the youthful scholars. They use brand new books to live up to their slogan, ”I am smart, I am intelligent, I am full of greatness.”

Perhaps it is because schools were closed for Black children four months of the school year in the rural areas, forcing parents to send their children to live ”in town” to get a nine months education. Great sacrifices had to be made and we learned how to survive.

Perhaps it is the work ethic ingrained in us as we toiled in the cotton fields realizing that one must work for everything one gets. Nothing was free.  Perhaps it is the realization that no man is an island, and we were taught to be our brother’s keeper. Perhaps it is because Booker T. Washington said “Put down your bucket where you are”, that I founded the PAL Center in San Bernardino to provide education and vocational training in the communities where the people reside. The PAL Center has operated continuously since 1985.

Perhaps it is because our predecessors toiled from sunup to sundown, and beyond, that Lawrence Hampton, Tammy Amis, and I worked numerous nights to rush a proposal to the dock of the post office to be postmarked just before the midnight deadline. Because of these efforts to obtain grants, thousands of individuals have benefited.

Perhaps it is because Sojourner Truth said, ”Ain’t I a woman?”, and demanded respect, that I was taught to sing James Weldon Johnson’s “Lift every voice and sing… Let us march on ‘til victory is won”.  We marched in Fontana when the Ku Klux Klan said we could not march and honor Dr. Martin Luther King.

Perhaps it is because we were taught to roll up our sleeves, get busy, and fulfill a need that exists. Hence, the PAL Center has not only provided high school diploma, GED, and English as a second language certificates, but also programs for youth training and employment, adult employment preparation, welfare reform training, homeless youth shelters, gang and drug intervention and prevention, childcare, college preparation programs, and numerous other community-based services. Roses to Alonzo Thompson, and numerous others who pioneered these community-based efforts.

As we celebrate women’s contributions to history, I salute Harriet Tubman, Ida B. Wells-Barnett, and other women who paved the way for me to contribute to history in San Bernardino.

As the first African-American to be Tenured, Full Professor, and Professor Emeritus in the College of Education, California State University San Bernardino, I stand on the shoulders of Dr. W.E. B. Du Bois, Dr. Mary MacLeod Bethune, my mother, Mrs. Alma  Dalton Gates, numerous other educators, and empowered individuals in various other fields of endeavor.

Roses to the Precinct Reporter, Black Voice, Westside Story, San Bernardino American News, San Bernardino SUN, and other newspapers and columnists who supported our efforts to harvest the Arkansas values from the California soil.

Why does a school carry my name?  I continue to ponder the blessing , and I am most grateful to those who had any part of giving me roses while I can smell them.

PAL Scholars Honor Black History

SAN BERNARDINO, CA- In a pair of unlikely events, PAL Scholars made history while honoring Black History.

On Saturday, February 25, 2017, two teams comprised of eight students in total represented not only PAL Charter Academy High School but the entire city of San Bernardino as they competed in the African American History and Knowledge Bowl hosted by the Phi Rho chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Incorporated at the University of California Riverside. Embarking on uncharted territory, Coach Christopher Love was able to prepare PAL Students: Lizbeth Aleman, Danielle Colley, Kenyatta Deshozier, Michelle Estrada, Jesse Hamilton, Edward Orrego, Angelina Robles, and Shamiya Tucker for competition in the weeks leading up to this event.

 “This was fun, we definitely will be ready next year” reported student participants Jesse Hamilton and Shamiya Tucker. “These students have made us proud today as they competed with high school students from all over southern California. We banded together and made it happen. They have made me proud!” Coach Love added as he recapped the event. Unfortunately, neither of the PAL teams were crowned History experts on this day, but they have certainly laid the foundation to be a force to be reckoned with in next year’s competition of this annual event.

            Equally as impressive was PAL Arts & Athletics uniting to support Cajon High School’s BSU Inaugural Black History Celebration on Monday, February 27, 2017. The collaborative effort allowed PAL scholars to showcase their artistic ability amidst the crowd of over 100 spectators. PAL performed their hit skit, “Have Faith” which was written and directed by Mr. Alex Avila of Avila Production (AP). This powerful piece was back by popular demand and Lizbeth Aleman, Devyn Graves, Jesse Hamilton, Brent Matthews, and Edward Orrego offered yet another stellar performance.

Coach Domonique White, PAL’s Athletic Director offered the following statement, “Faith was the culmination of the celebration of Black History. Our students were asked to do that which would stretch them from their comfort zone. They not only accepted the challenge but excelled in the opportunity and are eager to be challenged again. This has been a great way to conclude black history month at PAL.”

What It Do With the LUE: The Hip Hop Shop

Hip Hop ShopBy Lue Dowdy

The Hip-Hop Shop featuring Joesph Reed, Melanie Cesarez, Camryn Stanfield, and Troy Wilbert is WHAT IT DO! Just recently Edwin Johnson, founder and CEO of Chords Youth Enrichment Program, along with youth from San Bernardino High School and the CHORDS Program came together to produce a new school song for San Bernardino High School.  A video was shot at the school and has already received 1,000 shares and 55,000 views.

Not being afraid to walk away from tradition, they decided to change it up by adding Hip-Hop and Rap. Let me tell you, the youth were not playing when it came to those barzzz on the mic. We live in an urban community which is saturated with Rap, R&B, And Hip-Hop, so kudos to Joesph Reed, Melanie Cesarez, Camryn Stanfield, Troy Wilbert, and the entire team that worked on the project. Make sure to check out the video on YouTube. Please support our YOUTH & MUSIC!

Until next week L’z!


About The HIP HOP SHOP & Edwin Johnson:

Edwin Johnson has been working in the social service field with children and families for the past 16 years. His expertise consists of behavior modification, counseling support, family stabilization and management. He oversees groups such as anger management, domestic violence, substance abuse, gang awareness training, cognitive behavioral therapy, (Thinking for a Change) to inmates and parolees. He’s supervised inmates, parolee’s youth and their families providing them with the tools and support needed to be successful and stabilized upon reentering society.

Mr. Edwin has worked in institutions, crises homes for youth, group homes and as a community partner assisting families with resources for their youth. Having the ability to connect with the individuals he serves is crucial. His approach is strength based which allows him to meet the individual where they are and build off strengths they may not know existed.

In 2012 Mr. Edwin founded his own nonprofit titled “CHORDS Enrichment Youth Program” for youth in the city of San Bernardino which continues to serve at risk teen and their families.