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Bottomline: Preparing for And Responding to Tragedy

Publishers Commentary by Wallace J. Allen

Some believe that we are defined not by the tragedies of life, but how we respond to them.  Tragedy is most often rendered quickly; however, its echo is multi-level and infinite to those directly and indirectly affected.  The response to tragedy is variable. It can range from numbness to heroic!

The beauty of living in San Bernardino Valley, ‘Beneath The Arrowhead’, is often challenged by the ugliness of tragedy… Steel Mill and Air Base Closing killing 20,000 jobs and uprooting families… fires destroying homes and businesses… City bankruptcy, terrorism and most recently, the school shooting!

The shooting at North Park Elementary School leaves a teacher and one of her students dead, another student wounded and a classroom of students traumatized for life based on what they directly witnessed.

The joy of the parents, who found that their children were not the shooting victims, was immediately replaced with pain, empathy and sympathy for the victims and their families.

The response from police agencies was only matched by the quick reaction of religious and community leaders, who quickly descended on the scene of the shooting, and dispersed with parents to CSUSB, and with students to Cajon High School where they were reunited with their parents.

The best medical and social resources for physical and mental recovery are available in the Inland Empire. The prospects for a family recovering from untimely and tragic death are very slim and we pray that it occurs. Our prospects of preventing or avoiding future tragedies, is even slimmer! Tragedy is going to occur. We must be prepared for it.

Our natural response is to sooth the pain, as best we can… I am suggesting that we improve our level of “best we can” to help in an emergency. Tragedies and emergencies are predictably unpredictable! We are all potential “first responders”! More critically, we are all subject to needing a “first responder”! I need for you to know how to help me just as you need me to know how to help you!

I am proposing that we, the residents, business owners, and visitors to the City of San Bernardino, take the leadership position in emergency preparedness! Our access to life in one of the most beautiful places on the planet demands that we meet the challenge to stay here! If not for the regular unexpected catastrophe, surely for the expected!  We know that we shall have an earthquake and that it will be inconvenient and unpredictable, but it will not be unexpected… So we should not be unprepared.

Becoming a certified emergency response team member is a highly-trained status that we all should aspire, but for practical reasons, cannot. But, becoming certified in CPR is attainable, and is one of the most important tools of a first responder.

I propose that we organize ourselves to reject the nation’s exposure to our tragedy as the symbol and image of our being… That we organize ourselves to demonstrate our resilience and determination to define and achieve the All-American Lifestyle that represents the beauty of “Living Beneath the Arrowhead” in beautiful San Bernardino Valley.

Our proposed campaign to learn CPR, though symbolic, is a very practical asset. CPR has value at home, work and play, in private and public places. Our campaign describes our passion and compassion for each other, as well as our arrogant love of life beneath the Arrowhead.

Will you join our campaign to learn and teach CPR?

National Black Grads Provide Scholarships, and Annual Cultural Recognition Ceremony

FONTANA, CA- National Black Grads (NBG) held their 2nd annual “It Takes a Village” Scholarship Breakfast which was co-sponsored by the Black Voice Foundation last Saturday. The Scholarship Celebration offered family members, educators and community members an opportunity to celebrate the accomplishments of Inland Empire African American students. 

Scholarship donors comprised of local organizations, businesses and individuals desiring to see Inland Empire students thrive in their educational goals were excited to meet the recipients of their $500 or $1000 scholarships and their families. Watching students during “The Reveal” (where students made final decisions on their college/university choice) was one of the ceremony highlights. “It was great to see the 7 or 8 little boys, under the age of 10 all run out and yell YES! When (Darrian Hunter of Eisenhower HS) announced his choice to attend Morehouse College” said Alise Clouser. “It was so great to see the little boys excited for and look up to the graduates.”

The NBG breakfast was well attended and guests included Fontana Mayor Acquanetta Warren, Riverside County Office of Education Chief Academic Officer Cynthia Glover, San Bernardino County Superintendent of Schools Ted Alejandre, and Assemblymember Mark Steinorth. Students received scholarships from Over 160 seniors from 73 different Inland Empire high schools applied to the “It Takes A Village” Scholarship Contest.

The Ontario Convention Center. The IE Black Grad which is the largest HS Black Graduation Recognition Ceremony in Southern California will host its largest crowd to date. This year it looks like we may have over 3,000 in attendance. Each participating graduate will receive an African Kente Stole to wear at their official HS Graduation. This year’s event is only $5.00 for guests and $10.00 for student participants. To register or purchase tickets for IE Black Grad 2017 please visit www.nationalblackgrad.org.

To learn more about NBG’s initiatives please contact us directly at nationalblackgrads@gmail.com.

CORRECTION: Pretty Ladies Ride Bikes Too!

image3By Naomi K. Bonman

In the March 30, 2017 edition of the Westside Story Newspaper there was an article that mentioned a motorcycle run to Las Vegas. It is our apologies for the misprint of information. The run was not a Las Vegas run, but a High Desert Unity Run that was inspired by a member of the “Free Style” Lady Riderz and Ladies, Debra Green. Ms. Green, a.k.a. Beautiful, invited the ladies to attend the church that she belongs to at Faith Ministries International Network of Churches Inc., in Apple Valley.

During the services, Apostle Rebecca Washington became aware of the Lady Riders Bike Club and was impressed that “pretty ladies” ride motorcycles and requested that the group visit the church. Yolondia Mayes a.k.a. Ms. Hannibal and President of Freestyle Lady Riderz & Freestyle Ladies, contacted other bike club presidents and formulated the “High Desert Unity Run” which included 29 clubs.  

The other clubs that were included in the High Desert Unity Run were Desert Brothers, Wolf Pack, 2nd II None, Black Knightz, Chosen Few, High Desert Deuces, Buffalo Soldiers, Silver Star, Enlightened Ministries LV, No Rules-No Dues, LV, Road Queens, Hub City Ladies, Tru 2 Fact, Kin Folks, Elite, and Rare Pearls.

During the event there was a special presentation where Ms. Hannibal honored a few individuals.

“It is motor tradition to hand out trophies to the largest MC Club supporting the event,” Mayes explained. “Which in this case, the Desert Brothers were honored.”

Other honorees included: “True to the Fact”, largest social club; and “Kin Folk”, largest low rider club. An honorary new member of Free Style Lady Riderz was given to Apostle Rebecca Washington-Berry and E-Mac, President of Wolf Pack, was given an award for Best Supporter of Free Style Lady Riderz. After the awards, Pastor Greg gave a blessing over each biker and their bike.

The Free Style Lady Riderz was started after Mayes has lost her daughter Louise Wheeler-Jones on June 14, 2009 to a tragic shooting. The motorcycle sets showed her a lot of love and respect and because of their actions it prompted her to start her own motorcycle club. The name “Free Style Lady Riderz and Ladies” was picked out by Susan Carter (Sapphire), Vice President, and Yolondia Mayes. The purpose of the club is to promote and secure healthy relationships within all members surrounding communities and the cities they reside in, as well as other cities and or states. Their motto is, “Building a sisterhood pure at heart.” And the mission is, “Loyalty is law.”

The next upcoming bike event will be the Black Knightz Annual Picnic on Saturday, May 28 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Prado Regional Park located at 16700 Euclid Avenue in Chino. The community cam also assist in upcoming charity events that the ladies participate in which include: a backpack giveaway for the Back to School season, a Feed the Homeless event for the holiday season, a blanket giveaway for the winter season, and a host of other chairyt events. To keep up with the ladies, please follow them on Facebook under “Freestyle Club-Free Style Lady Riderz”.