Diana Parra-Garcia, Esaul Parra, Domonic Wilks, Hill Harper, Mia Henry, Trestan Fairweather, Bryce Bailey. Photo Credit: Daphne Bradford
The high school media crew signs their new book about their White House visit.
On Wednesday, March 21, the Crenshaw Digital Media Team (CDMT) held a press conference and book signing with actor and author Hill Harper at Crenshaw High School from 10:30am – 12:00pm in the Multipurpose Room.
The CDMT were signing their book, “Journey to the White House: An Educational Blueprint for Change in Action” and Harper signed his highly acclaimed and award-winning books, “Letters to a Young Brother: MANifest Your Destiny,” and “Letters to a Young Sister: DeFINE Your Destiny.”
Daphne Bradford is founder and CEO of the non-profit program, Mothers of Many (MOM) and certified Apple digital media instructor teaching classes at Crenshaw, Dorsey and Hamilton High Schools.
She is helping kids utilize technology with career skills to give high school and college kids a start in future careers. Bradford was recently made the official Organizing For America (OFA)-CA Photo Editor and has received many accolades and recognition for her work.
The CDMT got the chance of a lifetime visit to the White House in 2010. Their journey to the White House began in 2008 when Bradford and students from her Dorsey culinary class catered the Obama volunteers at the Crenshaw office.
Bradford was heavily involved in implementing President Obama’s agenda, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math), adding digital media training to the classroom as part of her program. “I implemented some of the things that he [President Obama] wanted, to have access to technology in the class room,” stated Bradford. They decided to try and reach out to President Obama.
In September of 2009, Bradford and the CMDT began a “Journey to the White House” campaign. Their efforts ended up with partnering with Mary Jane Stevenson, California State Director of OFA. Stevenson was able to help Bradford cover Barbara Boxer’s Fundraiser with the OFA in April of 2010. President Obama gave a speech at the fundraiser and Bradford got to meet him.
She was able to give information to Reggie Love, the president’s personal aide and the rest was history. Bradford was able to send 18 students to the White House made up of the CMDT, Hamilton students, the Dorsey culinary students and her college students.
The CMDT sat proudly behind the table as they signed books for their classmates and attendees at their first book signing. Some of the students commented on the event and book.
“The book talks about how the Crenshaw Digital Media Team started,” said Kevin Rivera, a member of the CMDT. “[The book] describes what we’ve been through, our up’s and down’s, what we had to do to get there and what we’re doing after the White House.”
“[I’m] glad that we’re getting our book [exposed] so people will know the accomplishments we’ve [achieved],” said Esaul Parra, a junior at Crenshaw and CMDT member.
In talking about the trip to the White House, Parra said his favorite part of the trip was the White House m&m’s he received from Love. “They were really good.”
“I never thought we would go,” said Mia Henry, CMDT member. “I was like, wow, we did it, we made it.”
When asked her most memorable moment, she replied, “The White House.”
“It feels exciting,” said Trestan Fairweather, Crensahw Senior and CMDT member. “It’s a different experience—very, very new.”
Fairweather’s most memorable experience was seeing the monuments and sights around the White House.
“They had a beehive,” said Fairweather. “That was interesting.
“I didn’t even know they had a beehive.”
Harper took the time to speak to Crenshaw students about the importance of staying in school and going to college. He was very proud of the CMDT and sees this as just the tip of the iceberg.
“This is really where I think education is headed,” said Harper. “The idea that students are taking responsibility… and saying—‘I can do whatever… I can write letters to the president… I can decide to go to the White House… I can manifest that…I can create it.’
“These students—I’m so proud of them and what the rest of their lives are going to represent. [If] they can take this experience and build on it, then they’ll realize that there is nothing they can’t do”
Now the CMDT has written a book about their experiences and can add “author” to their resumes.
The Crenshaw Digital Media Team would like to take another Journey to the White House to present their book to President Obama. Last May, Valerie Jarrett offered to help them meet the President. They’ve been communicating with her office since that time. We’re hoping she will come through for us.
“As the Crenshaw Digital Media Team instructor and sponsor, my dream is for my students to present a signed copy of their book, Journey to the White House, to President Barack Obama and for the commander-in-chief to download it to his iPad,” said Bradford.
Printed books are available to purchase at http://www.motherofmany.com/?p=503. You also find them on Digital Books available at the Barnes and Noble Nook store, the iBookstore Lulu.com.
The Crenshaw Digital Media Team will participate in the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books at USC, April 21-22.