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Congressional Black Caucus Foundation Observes World AIDS Day 2014

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WASHINGTON — On December 1, the global community observes and honors World AIDS Day, remembering all those affected by HIV and AIDS.  Since 2009, the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, Incorporated (CBCF) and 18 national black and Latino civil rights organizations have worked as Act Against AIDS Leadership Initiative (AAALI), a coalition funded by the Centers for Disease Control. AAALI partners have implemented 2,400 HIV/AIDS related events in collaboration with their 400 chapters and collaborative partners, which yielded more than 3.6 million attendees.

“World AIDS Day serves as an opportunity to educate the public on key issues driving this epidemic,” said A. Shuanise Washington, president and chief executive officer, CBCF. “Unfortunately, African Americans represent the highest rate of new HIV infections. The CBCF and its partners will continue engaging the public to reinforce that knowledge is our strongest weapon against the disease.”

The CBCF has also been a key partner working with Howard University Hospital in organizing the International Stigma Conference, currently in its fifth year.  “Stigma is one of the leading causes of people not getting and staying in treatment,” stated Washington.  “In order to have an AIDS-Free generation, we must not only educate, but work on how to change behavior.”


 

ABOUT CBCF

The Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, Incorporated, established in 1976, is a non-partisan, non-profit, public policy, research and educational institute intended to broaden and elevate the influence of African Americans in the political, legislative and public policy arenas.

Dominguez Elementary School Grand Opening and Partnership Ceremony

Ms. Dorene Dominguez with student tour guides from H. Frank Dominguez Elementary School

Ms. Dorene Dominguez with student tour guides from H. Frank Dominguez Elementary School

Dominguez & Vanir Leadership" - (left to right): -- Ms. Terri Anderson-Cardinal, Program Facilitator, H. Frank Dominguez Elementary School -- Mr. Alejandro Hernandez, Principal, H. Frank Dominguez Elementary School -- Ms. Dorene Dominguez, Chairman, Vanir Foundation -- Ms. Adrienne Cisneros-Selekman, President, Vanir Foundation

Dominguez & Vanir Leadership” – (left to right):
– Ms. Terri Anderson-Cardinal, Program Facilitator, H. Frank Dominguez Elementary School
– Mr. Alejandro Hernandez, Principal, H. Frank Dominguez Elementary School
– Ms. Dorene Dominguez, Chairman, Vanir Foundation
– Ms. Adrienne Cisneros-Selekman, President, Vanir Foundation

SAN BERNARDINO, CA-Dorene Dominguez, Chairman of The Vanir Foundation in Memory of H. Frank Dominguez, San Bernardino Unified School District Superintendent Dr. Dale Marsden and the Vanir Foundation Board of Directors celebrate the grand opening and partnership of the H. Frank Dominguez Elementary School. The festivities included a school adoption by Cross Walk Church, first grade singers, and a special presentation of the H. Frank Dominguez plaque by Dorene Dominguez. After the ceremony, a mariachi band led guests to a reception followed by school tours by Dominguez Elementary school students.

The Vanir Foundation is pleased to announce their new partnership with H. Frank Dominguez Elementary School. As stated by Ms. Dominguez, “Since its inception in 2004, the Vanir Foundation has helped thousands of students by brining academic enrichment programs to our partner schools.” The Vanir Foundation has provided funding for:

  • Apple iPad Airs for use of technology in the classroom;
  • Science & College focused field trips to enhance learning outside the classroom;
  • Honor Roll incentives to encourage student achievement;
  • School Uniforms;
  • and the highly successful “Engineering is Elementary” Program which exposes students to engineering concepts through a hands-on workshop approach.

This partnership will engage students in learning activities that stress critical thinking, problem-solving and analytical skills that are required for success in high school graduation, college, career, and life. Principal Alejandro Hernandez said, “We’re a 21st century skills school, planting the seeds of Hope, Inspiration, Knowledge, and Relationships.”

The Vanir Foundation, a non-profit 501(c)(3), is dedicated to partnering with schools in underserved communities by promoting achievement in math, science, language arts and engaging students in the field of engineering.

For more information and to donate to the Vanir Foundation, please visit www.VanirFoundation.org.

SBCUSD Students Reminisce About Participating in Local History

Vice President Joe Biden (Photo Credit Angela Coggs)

Vice President Joe Biden (Photo Credit Angela Coggs)

By Angela M. Coggs

How often can someone say they attended an event in their own backyard where the current sitting Vice President of the United States was a speaker? Most people can go their entire life without having such an opportunity. But two students from the San Bernardino County Unified School District had the chance to do just that. On Saturday, November 1st at a “Get out the Vote” Rally at Colton High School, Yonathan Habtemariam (8th grader- Richardson Prep Middle School) and Jonathan Rodgers (9th grader- Cajon High School) were two students in a sea of several hundred adults in the Colton High School gymnasium. Both young men attended the event with their respective mothers, both whom are officers of the SBCUSD District African American Advisory Council (DAAAC), whom were also elated to see history up close and personal.

Vice President Biden was on the campaign trail for then candidate Pete Aguilar. Aguilar, the former Mayor of Redlands, went on to win his election bid for the 31st Congressional District seat held by the retiring Rep. Gary Miller, R-Rancho Cucamonga.  The 31st district stretches through San Bernardino County from Rancho Cucamonga to Redlands.

Joe Biden arriving to event. (Photo taken by Izaiah Frazier)

Joe Biden arriving to event. (Photo taken by Izaiah Frazier)

During the rally, Biden referred to Aguilar’s childhood and being raised in a working-class family in San Bernardino. He also mentioned how Aguilar paid his way through college with two jobs and federal grants and loans. Biden urged the attendees in the Colton High School gymnasium to “pick a son of America who understands what it’s like to work hard, who understands what it’s like to put a family together, who understands what it means to struggle and get through school, who understands that every single solitary child out there deserves the same chance he had.”

“I never thought I would have an opportunity to see the Vice President in person. I didn’t believe it was really happening until he walked on stage. We were so close,” said Yonathan Habtemariam, who was taking pictures on his phone for proof. “Nobody will believe I was actually here. I can’t believe that I’m in the same breathing space as the Vice President”.  When asked what he remembered most about Biden’s speech he stated, “It was sad to hear how he had to move in with his grandfather and his father had to leave the family for a year just to find work. He also could not get a loan to send him (Biden) to college. Even though he was really good in baseball and football, it wasn’t enough to pay for school. That’s why he (Biden) is in favor of Pell grants. Having a Pell grant helped him get through college and he said everyone deserves an equal chance.” Hearing the speakers talk about the future in regards to making college an equal opportunity reality really resonated with Habtemariam who will be a high school freshman next year. “Anyone who wants to go to college should have the opportunity. I look forward to going to college, like my sister, in a few years.”

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Yonathan Habtemariam, Angela Coggs, Jonathan Rodgers, and Gwen Rodgers

For the self-declared future civil rights attorney Jonathan Rodgers, having an opportunity to see Vice President Biden at this time in his life made him think about what more lies ahead. Rodgers was equally impressed with and motivated by what was said during the rally.  He had the chance to hear firsthand what the Aguilar political platform was and how Aguilar plans on achieving it.  “It was a once in a lifetime experience. Knowing that I’m 15 years old, and I got to be in the same room as the Vice President. I think waiting in the rain was worth it for the reward.” Rodgers is planning ahead because he knows that college is in his future. “I’m grateful to have that moment at such a young age.”

Another student on the scene was 10 year old Izaiah Frazier. He was given a “special assignment” from his grandmother, Cynthia Frazier, to figure out where to position himself to get pictures of Biden’s motorcade. After strategically studying his environment, he decided to stand on the corner of Valley Blvd and Rancho Avenue across from the 10 freeway exit ramp. Although he did not know what direction the Vice President was travelling to the event, he believed that the corner he stood on would allow him an opportunity to get a good picture. Frazier was baffled and bewildered that local residents had no idea that the Vice President of the United States was due to arrive in their neighborhood. “It was awesome to see the Vice President and his motorcade. It is something that I will remember when I grow up,” Frazier said. Frazier was correct about is location. Minutes later after an initial police escort, the official motorcade exited the freeway and Frazier was able to take a few good pictures as he waved at the limo in hopes that Biden would see him. Even at such a young age, he knows the importance of voting and that he had a rare opportunity to see a Vice President in his community.

A valuable lesson these three young boys learned is the importance of getting involved in community events no matter what one’s age is. Another lesson they learned is that it is important to allow one’s voice to be heard at the ballot box.  Although the opportunity to attend the rally was not available to many young students, the message conveyed clearly resonated with these three.