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Holman UMC Hosts Barack Obama’s Sister, Dr. Maya Soetoro-Ng
By Sentinel News Service

Feb. 25, Dr. Soetoro-NG will be featured as the keynote speaker for benefit promoting peace & Non-Violence

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Dr. Stanley Ann Dunham, Barack, Maya and grandfather

To commemorate Black History Month and to celebrate peace during these uncertain times, a benefit event that includes music, called Ceeds of Peace: Something Inside So Strong, will take place on Saturday, February 25, 2017 at 6 pm at the history-making Holman United Methodist Church (Holman UMC), one of only two L.A. churches Dr. Martin Luther King spoke, only weeks before his fateful trip to Memphis. In addition, the Pastor Emeritus of Holman UMC is civil rights legend and King colleague, Rev. James Lawson.

Holman UMC is holding the benefit in association with the Justin Carr Wants World Peace Foundation and includes special guest keynote speaker, Dr. Maya Soetoro-Ng, who is co-founder of Hawaii-based peace building non-profit, Ceeds of Peace and the new director of the Matsunaga Institute for Peace & Confliction Resolution in Hawaii. Promoting peace is also a family trait, as she is sister of the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize recipient and 44th U.S. President, Barack Obama. In fact, she sits on the Obama Foundation Board that is overseeing the building of the Barack Obama Presidential Center that includes his Presidential Library. Speaking of legacy, that Dr. Soetoro-Ng will speak at a church like Holman UMC is not lost on her, stating, “I am profoundly grateful to have the honor of visiting the Holman United Methodist Church, a setting that has housed such a rich history of peace-building and I look forward to sharing stories, exchanging ideas, and nurturing action plans for peace with the Los Angeles community.”

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Barack and Maya

Hosted by award-winning actress-singer and peace activist, Erica Gimpel (Fame, Profiler, The Catch), this is the 4th Annual Benefit held during Black History Month and Heart Health Month on behalf of the Justin Carr Wants World Peace Foundation established in honor of Harvard-Westlake star student-athlete, Justin Carr, who died at 16 on February 22, 2013 from an undetected heart condition, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM), while at his swim team practice (as covered in an Emmy-winning news story on CBS2). The Justin Carr Wants World Peace Foundation (JCWWP) is so named because of a prayer for peace Justin said since he was four. To that end, Holman UMC’s Senior Pastor, Rev. Kelvin Sauls says, “As part of our dedication to engage in peace building, Holman United Methodist Church is delighted to provide intersection for Justin Carr’s vision for world peace and Dr. Soetoro-Ng’s ongoing strategic movement building work of realizing a more just and fair society.”

The Benefit’s title also has meaning for Rev. Sauls—who grew up in South Africa’s apartheid system—because the title merges the name of Dr. Soetoro-Ng’s foundation, Ceeds of Peace with the classic anti-apartheid anthem, Something Inside (So Strong) by acclaimed singer Labi Siffre. That a song tied to apartheid still has relevance in today’s charged political climate, is why Erica Gimpel is honored to host the benefit, saying, “…[T]he times we are living in require us to renew our commitment to walking the path of peace…by gathering together we encourage and deepen our resolve to do so.”

In addition to promoting peace, the JCWWP Foundation programs include an ongoing HCM awareness campaign, as well as programs focused on at-risk and underserved students, such as: the JCWWP Enrichment Scholarships for 7th – 12th grade students and the JCWWP Dare 2 Dream Arts & Tutoring Program. Actually, Dare 2 Dream student, Aniya Conner, will sing a special tribute at the Benefit. Others performing inspirational songs include: The Read Lead Freedom School Choir (a Children’s Defense Fund Freedom School site); revered vocalist, Lura Daniels-Ball; Bravo TV’s, LaMont Zeno (The People’s Couch); as well as acclaimed singer-songwriters, USC and Grammy Camp stand-out Jensen McRae and Gabrielle Walter-Clay aka CLAY—both friends of Justin’s, who would’ve turned 21 years-old this year.

Happy to share the stage with the Benefit program’s stirring music from young people who knew Justin, Dr. Soetoro-Ng notes, “Justin Carr committed to serving others through everyday acts of peace leadership, and I am proud to encourage youth advocacy and civic engagement as part of his generous legacy.” She also incorporated peace and conflict resolution in her 2011 children’s book Ladder to the Moon (illustrated by acclaimed Caldecott Medal winner, Yuyi Morales), inspired by Mr. Obama’s and Dr. Soetoro-Ng’s late mother, cultural/economic anthropologist, Dr. Stanley Ann Dunham.

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Barack, Maya and sister Dr. Auma Obama

Tickets are available for purchase online at jcwwpbenefit.bpt.me until Friday, February 24, 2017 at 11:59 pm, with general admission at $20 for adults and $10 for youth (17 & under). The Benefit’s Diamond Sponsor is world-renown, AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF). Other supporters include State Senator Holly Mitchell, Los Angeles City Councilmember, Marqueece Harris-Dawson and the SCLC-Southern California with Rev. Sauls citing, “We want to thank Sen. Mitchell, Councilmember Harris-Dawson and the SCLC-SC for supporting this event and their ongoing commitment to peace-building and the nonviolence struggle.” The Los Angeles Sentinel is also the Benefit’s Media Partner.

The Benefit takes place on Saturday, February 25, 2017 at 6 pm (doors open 5:30 pm) at Holman United Methodist Church in the Historic West Adams District at 3320 West Adams Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90018. Free parking is available at the church and on the street. For questions, contact Holman UMC at (323) 731- 7285, JCWWP Foundation at (424) 257- 5297 or Programs@JustinCarrWantsWorldPeace.org.

 

 

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