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#METOO: A Conversation About Sexual Assault and Harassment

On Saturday, December 2, Pastor Michael B. Kelly, II, International Speaker and Pastor of the Mt. Rubidoux, SDA Church in Riverside, along with Kevin Carrington, CEO and Founder of Carrington Case, and guest speaker Dina Walker, President and CEO of the BLU Educational Foundation, held #METOO: A Conversation about sexual assault and harassment.  Within the last few months, this hashtag became ubiquitous on all platforms of social media, which sparked the discussion to be held on the church platform.  The hashtag #churchtoo became prevalent, and thus was a must that this discussion take place in a safe environment.

Due to the nature of the content of the discussion, with approximately 90 percent of the participants in the venue being women, during the introduction, Pastor Kelly and Kevin addressed what they called, “the white elephant in the room,” by being two men who were compelled to lead this conversation on behalf of so many women who have endured harassment and assault.  They led the conversation with poise and respect for everyone there who told their truths, in such an open forum.

Per the American Association of University Women, sexual harassment is described as “unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature.” The Huffington Post notes that every 1 in 3 women experience sexual harassment or sexual misconduct at work, with 29 percent report such heinous advances, while a whopping 71 percent never report.  During the conversation, Kevin noted that every 98 seconds in America, someone is sexually assaulted and the number of victims are increasing at an alarming rate.

Speaker Dina Walker stated that in an uncomfortable situation, the primary issue that most women have is feeling empowered to say something. She asked the questions, “What happens to your opportunities if you say something?” “What makes you uncomfortable?”  Ms. Walker had experiences in the workplace that she shared, and she also discussed how women need to be alert and cognizant more so than men.

During the question and comment portion of the evening, a few women and a gentleman stood up to speak their story, experience, expertise of sexual assault and harassment.  One comment in particular that stood out to me was

“Traditionally, we are brought up to hug family members whether we want to or not.  Listen to the “uh oh.” We have to teach our children to trust their instincts and if something doesn’t feel right, empower them to say something.” 

Another participant stated how much of a cultural and societal issue sexual assault and harassment really is, particularly being in the entertainment capital of the world.  In addition, another participant provided a solution in that, “We teach people how to treat us by creating strict boundaries for ourselves.”

This will be an ongoing discussion since there are men and children who experience these unspeakable acts as well.  We must be open to hearing one another to come to a consensus on how we can solve these pertinent issues in our society.

You can contact Pastor Michael B. Kelly through the Mt. Rubidoux church secretary’s office at (951) 276-8374 or you may visit www.mtrubidouxsda.orgKevin Carrington of Carrington Case at www.carringtoncase.com/contact/Dina Walker of BLU Educational Foundation at 909.685.9995 or email, info@bluedfoundation.org or you may visit their website at www.bluedfoundation.org/contact-us

The Mt. Rubidoux SDA church is focused on going beyond the walls of the church to satisfy the needs of the community whether they are members of the church or if they have never stepped foot inside of a church.  The church’s motto is to Love, Grow, and Serve, and impact initiatives, such as the mega-clinic, helps the church to achieve the goals and vision of the pastoral staff along with the members in the congregation.

LLU Children’s Hospital Patients Create Gingerbread Masterpieces

LOMA LINDA, CA-Patients at Loma Linda University Children’s Hospital (LLUCH) got into the holiday spirit this week by creating a gingerbread village display in the hospital lobby.

Both in- and out-patients were invited to visit the hospital lobby on Monday, December 4 to build and decorate a gingerbread house of their own creation. Patients who were unable to leave the units were given everything they needed to make a house in their rooms.

The annual event is made possible by the Big Hearts for Little Hearts Loma Linda Guild, along with the generosity of two community supporters, Alta Vista Credit Union, which donated $3,200 toward the event; and Costco Wholesale, which donated over 130 gingerbread house kits.

Lynn Sleeth, president of the Loma Linda Guild, enjoyed watching the children assemble the cookie houses and festoon them with white frosting roofs and assorted, colorful candies. Whenever a house was completed, Santa or one of his helpers placed it on a large display structure designed to evoke the shape of a Christmas tree. Patients were also able to take a teddy bear and book of their choice.

Members of the Loma Linda Fire Department also came out for the event to assist patients with building and decorating.

“We are so blessed to have friends who believe in what we are doing for the children


The Soulful Sounds of Christmas Concert Features DeNetria Champ, Comedian Jay Lamont

DeNetria  Champ is featured artist in The Soulful Sounds of Christmas Concert along with Host Jammin Jay Lamont from Def Comedy Jam & Comic View

When: Saturday, December 9

Where: Steelworkers Auditorium, 8437 Sierra Avenue, Fontana

Time: 7 p.m.

Tickets: $35 (Advance) $45 (at the door)

Los Angeles native DeNetria Champ has the pipes. Boy, does she have the pipes!

DeNetria Champ is often compared to Aretha Franklin and spent a large amount of her career providing background vocals for James Ingram, Barry White and Patti LaBelle. However, her vocals are so strong and distinctive that it was clear that she would eventually move beyond a backup role to shine as a lead vocalist and solo artist.

Champ was signed to JDI Records and released her solo debut album I Really Love You in 2006. The project featured a powerful, motivating, and inspirational collection of song that earned Champ a Stellar Award nomination for Best New Artist. After Oprah Winfrey heard her angelic voice, she swiftly invited her to sing at the Oprah Winfrey Legends Ball. Winfrey said, “DeNetria Champ is simply incredible and I absolutely love her!”.. She has enjoyed a career as an actress, most notably in TD Jakes’ Not Easily Broken and This Christmas starring Chris Brown, Loretta Divine and Idris Elba. For tickets visit HayesEvents.org

Oprah Legends Ball,  DeNetria is in the 1st 40 sec

Norm Hutchinson & DeNetria