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Ernest J. Wilson, III Joins Cal Wellness’ Board of Directors

unnamed (4)SAN BERNARDINO, CA- The California Wellness Foundation’s (Cal Wellness) Board of Directors elected a new member, Ernest J. Wilson III, who is Dean of the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism at the University of Southern California, a professor of political science and a faculty fellow at the USC Center on Public Diplomacy. His service is effective immediately.

“We are excited to welcome Dr. Wilson to the Board and believe he will bring new expertise to the Foundation,” said Elizabeth M. Gomez, Cal Wellness’ Board chair. “He has a fresh perspective from his work related to academia, communications and political science. We are all looking forward to working with him as Cal Wellness implements its Advancing Wellness grants program.”

Wilson is the Walter H. Annenberg Chair in Communication at USC’s Annenberg School, a renowned higher education institution that offers multidisciplinary approaches to the study of communication and journalism. He also heads USC Annenberg’s Third Space, an initiative that helps create a talent pool of next-generation leaders who will shape the future of media, communications, entertainment and business.

He holds a doctorate in political science and has served as director of international programs and resources on the National Security Council at the White House; director of the Policy and Planning Unit for the U.S. Information Agency; deputy director of the Global Information Infrastructure Commission; an advisor for President Barack Obama’s transition team; and a board member and board chair of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

The 24th Annual Pan African Film Festival Opens its Call for Submissions

LOS ANGELES, CA- The Pan African Film Festival (PAFF) is ready to take moviegoers on a cinematic journey with international film screenings from around the globe with the announcement of its Call for Submissions. The 24th annual PAFF, the nation’s largest and most prestigious Black film festival will be held on February 4th to the 15th, 2016 in Los Angeles. Over the years, it has showcased films from all parts of the world, representing such countries as Angola, Nigeria, Jamaica, New Zealand, Rwanda, Canada, Egypt, Ethiopia, Brazil, Kenya, Mexico, South Africa, England, Mexico, Japan, France and of course, the United States. With the pulse on the international film market, PAFF has opened the minds of its audiences, and transported them to faraway lands and back home again.

“Over the years, the filmmakers from around the world have become more sophisticated in telling their stories,” says Asantewa Olatunji, the director of programming for PAFF. “In our ever shrinking world, it is so important to understand the experiences and points of views of other peoples and cultures.”

Last year, more than 40,000 people attended the film festival, which has long been a highly anticipated event in Los Angeles attended by local, national and international guests. Currently, PAFF is accepting submissions of features and shorts; narrative and documentary films made by or about people of African descent. You can currently apply by going online to the PAFF website at www.paff.org and clicking onto “Submit Film”. Fill out the online application and either upload your film with your completed application or send in a DVD to PAFF at 6820 LaTijera Blvd. Ste. 200, Los Angeles, CA 90045.

PAFF is currently accepting applications for films and videos made by and/or about people of African descent. (Please note: the filmmaker need not be of African descent.) Preferably, films should depict positive and realistic images and can be of any genre – drama, comedy, horror, adventure, animation, romance, science fiction, experimental, etc. PAFF accepts features and shorts both narrative and documentary.

The PAFF competition categories are: Best Narrative Feature, Best Narrative Short, Best Documentary, Best Director – First Feature, plus a variety of Audience Favorite Awards. Films in competition must be copyrighted no earlier than 2014. With the exception of Audience Favorite Awards, films are judged by industry professionals. In addition to competition awards, other programming and festival special prizes will be awarded.

For information about the festival, submission procedures, fees and registration, click www.paff.org or email submissions@paff.org. Early submissions will be accepted beginning July 20 through August 7; regular submissions begin August 8 and run through October 2, 2015. Late submissions will be accepted from October 3 to October 31

Board of Education Takes Action to Close the Digital Divide for Needy Families

SAN BERNARDINO, CA- Thanks to an initiative first recommended by Board of Education member Danny Till­man, with full support from fellow Board members, 5,000 socio-economically disadvantaged families in the San Bernardino City Unified School District (SBCUSD) will receive 21st Century technology through a program designed to close the digital divide.

SBCUSD is offering the Family Chromebook Initiative beginning July 6 in partnership with California Emerging Technology Fund (CETF). CETF is providing $100,000 in funding, as well as its School2Home curriculum in support of the Initiative. Through the Board of Education’s Family Chromebook Initiative, SBCUSD will provide free Chromebook computers and T-Mobile Internet service to 5,000 SBCUSD families. Eligible families were contacted by the SBCUSD automated phone system to identify those interested in the program. About 5,000 were willing to participate in the pilot program.

“So much of our society is going digital and we want to provide families who don’t have devices and Internet access at home the resources they need to help their children be successful,” said Barbara Richardson, the director of Accountability & Educational Technology for SBCUSD. “The Chromebook Initiative and School2Home program help provide those with the most need and the fewest resources a chance to even the playing field.”

As part of the Board-led Initiative, one adult and one student from each family must attend the School2Home training program in July. The Board of Education felt the program would only be successful if it included a training component for students and parents. The initial training focuses on basic computer literacy skills and helps participants set up a free email account and connect to Internet-based educational services, such as the SBCUSD Parent Portal. Additional, optional School2Home computer training will also be offered throughout the school year to help parents and students develop their computer skills and build a closer connection to the school community.

All School2Home training will be provided in English and Spanish. Parents and students who need additional accommodations, including services in other languages, will receive those services upon request. SBCUSD will loan participating families one Chromebook and provide limited, home Internet service for one year, as long as they attend SBCUSD schools. The home-based Internet access will have the same protections as school-based Internet access.