Black Engineers Promote Year-Round STEM Programming for Grades 4-8
In 2017, a few L.A.-area African American parents learned a startling fact – only 19% of Black students, from 3rd to 11th grade, were proficient in math. That information spurred the group to work to improve those numbers by establishing the Southern California Chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers Jr (NSBE). The parents’ goal was to offer year-round STEM programming for elementary and middle school-aged children, and that desire matched with NSBE’s mission “to increase the number of culturally responsible Black engineers who excel academically, succeed professionally and positively impact the community.”
159 New Health Professionals Complete Training, Receive Their White Coats and Prepare For Careers – And They’re Not Even Done With High School!
The Saturday Science Academy II at Charles R. Drew University of Medicine (SSA-II), a STEM program for youth from underserved L.A. communities, “graduated” 159 K-12 students at its 18th annual “Junior White Coat Ceremony” on Saturday, January 20. The ceremony took place in the gymnasium at King-Drew Medical Magnet High School, and featured addresses from CDU president Dr. David Carlisle, keynote speaker Senator Steven Bradford (D-Gardena) and LAUSD board member, George McKenna III. SSA-II is a year-round program with three eight-week sessions during the school year and a four-week summer course. The program is open to all students, but ultimately seeks to inspire students of color toward degrees and careers in science, technology, engineering or math – STEM fields in which those populations have been traditionally underrepresented.
Leimert Plaza Park Enhanced and Restored
Leimert Plaza Park – located in the heart of the Crenshaw District, had a series of enhancements due to a partnership with the Office of Los Angeles City Council President Herb Wesson, city of Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks, the LA Parks Foundation and City National Bank. The enhancements included construction and installation of an enclosure around the perimeter; restoration of the central fountain; new grass, flowers and plants, a state-of-the-art irrigation system; and general beautification and clean-up amenities.
Council Wants Plan to House Every Homeless Person in L.A.
The Los Angeles City Council approved a proposal that seeks a workable emergency strategy to provide shelter for every homeless person in the city, which at last count numbered more than 34,000 people. Introduced by Councilmen Mike Bonin and Marqueece Harris-Dawson, the motion was approved with an 11-0 vote without discussion, seeks a number of actions from the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority, which coordinates homeless services for Los Angeles County, and from some city departments. With city assistance, the authority was asked to provide several comprehensive reports within 14 days, including the framework for an Emergency Response Homeless Plan, outlining what steps and what funds would be required to provide an alternative to homeless encampments for 100 percent of the homeless population by the end of the year. The motion also asks LAHSA to provide information on how many homeless people are currently being provided shelter or housing, how many it aims to house by the end of this fiscal year and the next three fiscal years, what steps have been taken to replace barracks-style shelters with 24-hour crisis housing and bridge housing, and what steps have been taken to recruit houses of worship and other nonprofits to provide shelter beds. The motion also directed the Los Angeles homeless coordinator to provide a list of every public facility in the city legally eligible to be used to provide shelter, temporary housing or safe parking.
L.A. City Committee Approved $700 Million Redevelopment Project in South L.A.
On June 5, 2018 the Los Angeles City Planning and Land Use Management (PLUM) Committee approved a $700 million plan to renovate the historic Crenshaw Baldwin Hills Plaza in South Los Angeles. The proposed project will include approximately 961 new housing units, a 400-room hotel, and new restaurant and retail space. The proposed project is one of the largest private investment in South Los Angeles in several decades.
The Wilfandel Club Receives Grant
On Tuesday, August 28, the Wilfandel Club celebrated a grant awarded by the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s (NTHP) African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund (AACHAF). Brent Leggs, director of the AACHAF, along with special guests and club members, attended a reception held at the Wilfandel Club and toured the historic clubhouse. The Wilfandel Club was founded in 1945 by Black women, Della and Fannie Williams, Della being the wife of prominent Los Angeles architect, Paul Williams. The club was created in response to segregation that limited access to public and affordable facilities. Located in the West Adams area of L.A., the Wilfandel Club is one of the first recipients of the AACHAF’s efforts and the oldest African American women’s club in Los Angeles. The Wilfandel Club hosts a number of events including wedding ceremonies, community meetings and forums, teas, showers, art exhibits and dinners.
From ‘Rodeo Road’ to ‘Obama Boulevard’
The City Council closed out their August meeting with a vote of a lifetime. Members of the council were asked to vote on changing the street name “Rodeo Road” to “Obama Boulevard” after Los Angeles City Council president Herb Wesson motioned for the rename back in 2017. This year, the motion passed unanimously with a 15-0 vote. Currently, the District 10 is the only area in the city that has its own President’s row! Wesson agreed on the location of the name change due its historical significance. In February 2007, former President Barack Obama made his first visit to California to announce his run in the Presidential election. While in the state, Obama visited Rancho Cienega Park which is located in District 10. During his time there, Obama made a speech in front of 1500 people, a memory that Wesson holds very dear to his heart.
LAPD Chief Meets With Prominent Black Leaders After an Officer Involved Killing
On October 29, two Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) officers responded to a scene at a 24-Hour Fitness located at 6380 West Sunset Boulevard after a receiving a radio call that 30-year-old, Albert Ramon Dorsey was trespassing. The incident ended with Officer Agdeppa firing at Dorsey, who was later pronounced dead at the scene by the Los Angeles Fire Department. In light of this event and in an effort to continue the promises he made when elected chief of LAPD, Michel Moore met with local Black leaders at the Los Angeles Sentinel Newspaper on Tuesday, December 11, to discuss the officer-involved shooting. Chief Moore began the roundtable discussion by presenting the facts surrounding the investigation. He then allowed local community leaders to watch the exclusive footage from the two officer’s body cameras. After viewing the critical incident video, Moore welcomed comments, concerns and feedback.