May 30, 2013
By Chelsea Battle
LAWT Contributing Writer
If you’re ready to support the higher education of our nation’s young Black scholars, you might wish to put on your walking shoes and/or get out your checkbook; The United Negro College Fund’s 31st Annual Walk for Education is only days away! On Saturday, June 1st join R&B songstress Goapele, reality court TV Judge Greg Mathis, rapper Warren G, Supervisor Mark Ridley- Thomas, thousands of college hopefuls, alumni, friends, and family for the event, which raises hundreds of thousands of dollars for college scholarships.
Judge Mathis is a true example of the power of education. Having once lived the street life and paid the price of incarceration, he shares how education turned his life around, and why fundraisers like these are important.
“I was invited by UNCF to join the walk and I was glad to do it because of the challenges our young people face both getting into college and paying for it,” explains Judge Mathis. “Education was probably the most important factor in becoming the man I am today, in the sense that it empowered me to be able to overcome the obstacles I had to deal with. It’s difficult to join the work force without some type of education beyond high school. I wanted to be able to contribute to our young people and our community both financially and with my time.”
Goapele also shares why she has decided to walk.
“I think higher education, or at least the opportunity for higher education, is important for everyone. Income, or a lack of it, can make a lot of people of color feel like they just can’t go to college. So I think UNCF has been out there as kind of a huge support system for African Americans to go to college for a long time. I’ve recognized the brand for a while, so it seemed like something naturally that would be nice to be involved with.”
This year the walk will begin at 8:30am in Exposition Park at 700 Exposition Park Drive. The walk’s stage, and vendor booths will be located on the corner of Coliseum and South Menlo Avenue. Organizers expect to raise over $200,000 in scholarship money, and have received the support of corporate sponsors such as
BP, Toyota, American Airlines, and UPS—just to name a few. The money raised supports more than 3,000 students from California, and 60,000 students nationwide who go on to attend more than 800 colleges. Previous student recipients have been awarded scholarships to some of the most prestigious historically Black colleges in the nation. Scholars attending in-state schools, including UCLA, USC, and FIDM, have also benefited. Additionally, the program supports students who choose to attend two year colleges.
“If the need is there and they are about to graduate from high school we will help them,” says Carolyn Trader, the Development Director for UNCF. To register for the walk visit http://give.uncf.org/LAWALK or call (213) 639-3800.