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Inglewood Fosters Success for Hispanics

Thursday, September 04, 2014

National Hispanic Heritage Month is celebrated from September 15 to October 15 to recognize the contributions of Hispanic and Latino Americans to the United States and honor their heritage and culture.


Nowhere does the light of Hispanic pride shine brighter than in Inglewood.  Unlike many other cities, the observation in Inglewood is more than symbolic.  It is deeply meaningful and personal.  With a population that represents nearly 50% of the city, Inglewood’s Hispanic population reaches into every sector of our community, including schools, businesses, churches, and government.


Last year, history was made when Alex Padilla was elected to the city council, becoming the first Hispanic councilmember for the Second District.  Joining Eloy Morales, representation on the Inglewood City Council by Hispanic members now comprises two-fifths.


As a city increasing its notoriety, with a sizable Hispanic community, I am expecting a lot from this group.  I am expecting many “firsts” to come out of Inglewood.  Will Inglewood be the home of the first Hispanic U.S. President, or the first Hispanic astronaut to walk on the moon? 


I would not be surprised at all.  We are certainly off to a great start.  Adding to the obvious economic progression of the city, is the racial diversity, so essential in fostering unique ideas and perspectives.   Inglewood is in an enviable position, in that declining crime rates and increasing revenue does not usually occur in cities where the leadership and residents are predominantly people of color. 


It speaks volumes.  It discounts the nay-sayers that insist that African Americans and Latinos cannot get along.  It dispels the myth that people in power cannot put their egos aside and do what is right for the city.  In my experience, there has never been a more united council.  The fact it is racially comprised of 3 black and 2 brown members is further evidence that race does not have to dictate how leaders lead.


The strides made by Hispanics in this country are inspired by the same basic needs and desires that other racial groups have—the desire for freedom, opportunity to live a decent life, enough prosperity to take care of their family and make the future better for their children. 


This can only happen when people are open-minded enough to allow their neighbors the same opportunity to go for their dreams.  There is plenty of room and opportunity in Inglewood for Latinos to shine, just as there is plenty of room for African Americans, Whites, Asians and others. 




New Network Creates New Opportunities

Thursday, September 04, 2014

Last October Sean “Diddy” Combs launched his independent music television network REVOLT TV, and it’s been nothing shy of a smash hit—something the mogul has made a career out of. To commemorate the successful completion of REVOLT’s first year in operation, the CEO and Brand Chairman has created the REVOLT Music Conference and will be touring the conference around the country for young artists, entrepreneurs, writers, musicians, and individuals looking to learn how to break into the industry on their own terms.


The REVOLT Music Conference was established to create strategic partnerships between the music network and technology companies and other brands. REVOLT CEO Kevin Clinkscales expounded on the music/tech conference hybrid.


“The REVOLT Music Conference presents an opportunity for industry professionals to have credible, informed conversations that can impact the future of the industry, including brands and technology leaders as catalysts,” he explained. He also said that recently hired Vice Chairman Andre Harrell’s first responsibility as vice chairman is “leading development and outreach for the conference." More information on the conference will be available by registering at


REVOLT TV focuses on engaging young consumers across multiple platforms. The music network features the latest music videos, exclusive interviews, live performances, and original programming. Through REVOLT’s mobile app, website, and television programs, over 50 million people have been reached in eight months. REVOLT TV is currently available on Comcast, Century Link, and Time Warner Cable in most major markets, including Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, D.C., Los Angeles, Miami, and New York City.


It’s interesting to see the likes of Diddy, Russell Simmons, Jay-Z, 50 Cent, and others take their business savvy to unforeseen heights and create “Blueprints” for younger generations to follow. Their drive and dedication to ensuring that everything they associate themselves with is the best, echoes a famous idiom that’s been regurgitated throughout the ages, and probably flipped best by Russell Simmons who said, surround yourself with people who are smarter than you.”


When the REVOLT Music Conference hits the West Coast, I’m sure our newly renovated Fabulous Forum would make an excellent host facility, and a great classroom for the students of Inglewood Unified who may or may not be on a path to music industry, but could glean timeless wisdom from industry professionals who look like them and talk like them, and who’ve paid the ultimate price to be successful.


To conclude with another overly used idiom, “ask and you shall receive.”



Prayers are going out to two American journalists killed in the past two weeks by masked executioners in Syria.  Journalist Peter Theo Curtis, 45, however, escaped death.  He was freed last week by Islamic terrorists in Syria, after nearly 2 years in captivity. He was reunited with his mother, Nancy, at Boston’s Logan Airport on August 26.


Speaking to reporters outside his home in Cambridge, MA, Curtis said:  “I suddenly remember how good the American people are, and what kindness they have in their hearts. And to those people, I say a huge thank you from the bottom of my heart.”


It was a bittersweet homecoming.  Curtis is deeply concerned about his fellow American journalists in Syria.  Human lives have become bargaining chips in exchange for control over military strikes.  


Around the time of Curtis’ return, Shirley Sotloff made a direct plea to Syrian terrorists in a video for the release of her son.  “I want to see him safe and sound, and to hug him,” she said.  On Tuesday, news came that Steven Sotloff, a 31 year-old journalist, has been beheaded. 


Curtis’ August 24 release was aided in part by Alia Al Thani, Qatar's permanent representative to the United Nations.  The extreme terrorist group called ISIS, however, has not responded to negotiation. 


Before the murder, a photo of Softloff was released with his killer holding a knife in one hand, and pulling the back of Sotloff’s tee-shirt with the other. The same executioner had threatened to kill Sotloff if the U.S. did not call off airstrikes in Iraq.


Sotloff is the second American to be executed in 2 weeks.  Fellow journalist James Foley was executed by ISIS last month. 


Curtis mom, Nancy Curtis, is deeply grateful to have her son back—and deeply concerned about what other families are going through:


“I don't think anybody's in the mood of celebration. You know, we're relieved.  But after the events of the last week and knowing those other children of my friends are in danger, you know, I have very conflicted emotions,” She told CNN.


“After the news about Jim Foley—it was terrible. You have to have hope.  There is no point in anticipating that your child is going to be murdered.  You don’t go there, it will make you crazy.” 




Hispanic Heritage Worth Knowing

Thursday, September 04, 2014

Hispanic Heritage Month, whose roots go back to 1968, begins each year on September 15, the anniversary of independence of five Latin American countries: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. Mexico, Chile and Belize also celebrate their independence days during this period and Columbus Day (Día de la Raza) is October 12.

The term Hispanic or Latino, refers to Puerto Rican, South or Central American, or other Spanish culture or origin regardless of race. On the 2010 Census form, people of Spanish, Hispanic and/or Latino origin could identify themselves as Mexican, Mexican American, Chicano, Puerto Rican, Cuban, or "another Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish origin."

According to this Census, 50.5 million people or 16% of the population are of Hispanic or Latino origin. This represents a significant increase from 2000, which registered the Hispanic population at 35.3 million or 13% of the total U.S. population.

By 2050, the Hispanic population is expected to reach 28%.  This population growth will impact everything from neighborhoods, school, government and the economy.  Learning about Hispanic history and culture will be imperative to how Americans experience life in the future.

Hispanics, like African Americans have fought many battles for equality in the U.S.  One Hispanic writer notes in the Huffington Post,  “As Latinos, we recognize the impact he [Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.] had in inspiring Dolores Huerta, Cesar Chavez and the United Farm Workers to adopt non-violence principles -- which King learned from Gandhi's struggles against the British in India -- in their long march for better working conditions and respectable wages for the migrant laborers of California's farmlands…


“Their rise into these positions of influence would not have been possible without the path forged by Dr. King and the Civil Rights Movement, or the rising consciousness which fueled Hispanics in the 60's and 70's to listen, learn and act.”


One fallen Hispanic hero, Ruben Salazar, was honored on Aug. 29 in a ceremony by County Supervisor Gloria Molina and the Department of Parks and Recreation.  A plaque was unveiled at an East Los Angeles Park in Whittier named for the L.A. Times journalist who lost his life covering the Chicano Moratorium anti-war protest.   


“Ruben Salazar's life and death became emblematic of the Chicano Rights movement of the 1970s,” Molina said


This year marked the 44th anniversary of the death of Salazar. 


“Ruben Salazar was a gifted chronicler and advocate who dedicated his talents to sharing with the world what it meant to be Mexican-American in a transformative time and place. His contributions made him an icon in the community — and although his life was cut tragically short, his legacy lives on in the people influenced, inspired and touched by his work,” Molina said.


An award-winning documentary “Ruben Salazar: Man in the Middle” followed the ceremony.


Hispanic Heritage Month celebrations will be held in numerous places around Los Angeles county, including the Baja Splash Cultural Festival at the Aquarium of the Pacific (, 100 Aquarium Way, Long Beach, CA 90802 from Sept. 28 to 29; and the 3rd Annual Taste of Mexico La Plaza de Cultura y Artes (, 501 N. Main St., Los Angeles, CA 90012, on Oct. 11.

Mixing culture, music, art, food and the biodiversity of Baja, Mexico, the 12th Annual Baja Splash Cultural Festival is a slightly different take on celebrating Hispanic heritage. The kids will enjoy all of the music and dance performances featuring folk dances from countries like Guatemala and El Salvador as well as Mexico.


At the La Plaza de Cultura y Artes in downtown Los Angeles, the taste event is a sampling of foods from some of LA’s best Mexican restaurants and some from Mexico. Live mariachi and lots of other great entertainment will keep you moving your feet. Don’t forget all the tequila and craft mezcal tastings offered as well.


For more information about Hispanic Heritage Month, visit

The Inglewood School District is now accepting applications to serve on the Inglewood five-member Advisory Board of Education.  Residents in Inglewood and Ladera Heights are welcome to apply. 

There are two open slots, which became available in the spring.    Appointees will serve through the next regularly scheduled election in April 2015.

Eligible candidates must be at least 18 years of age, citizens of the United States, residents of the district, registered to vote and qualified to hold a civil office.

IUSD State Trustee Don Brann plans to appoint successful applicants to the advisory position by the end of October.  Application packets are available in the District Office at 401 S. Inglewood Ave., and must be completed by the close of business Sept. 22.

The school district has been without a formal Board of Education since the state took control of it in 2012. The advisory board does not have power to set policy, but rather make recommendations to Brann.

If you have been wanting to help improve the state of Inglewood schools, now is the chance to make a difference.

For more information or to receive an application, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , or call 310-419-2706 or 310-419-2728.

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