May 15, 2014
Nneka and Chiney Ogwumike always hoped that one day they would be able to do something to benefit their parents’ homeland of Nigeria.
The recent mass kidnappings of schoolgirls in the African nation have added a sense of urgency to the WNBA star sisters’ desire to help.
Education has always been important to their family, and the Stanford grads were distraught to hear about the 300-plus girls who were taken in the remote northeast area of Nigeria last month.
“There are some fundamental rights and a right to education is a big one,” Chiney told The Associated Press this week in a phone interview. “Everyone should have an education, no matter what form it is. That makes it even tougher that they were just trying to better their lives. It shouldn’t matter what type of education they are receiving.”
Nneka added: “It’s difficult to see these girls trying to go to school and get an education and this happened.”
“Bringing awareness can go a long way, I believe,” said the top pick by the Los Angeles Sparks in 2012.
The U.S.-born sisters, who became only the second set of siblings to be drafted with the No. 1 choice in one of the major sports leagues — joining Peyton and Eli Manning — have already begun plans to work with the US Fund for UNICEF. They want to maximize their impact and help Nigeria's education and child protection programs.
“It’s something we’re passionate about,” said Chiney, taken first by the Connecticut Sun in the WNBA draft last month. “When I was drafted to follow in Nneka’s footsteps, it was huge in Nigeria. My uncle sent me an email a day for two weeks with pictures, headlines and articles on the front page of Nigerian newspapers.”
“Nneka and I want people to know we care. We’re not passive. We want to be active in our own way and raise awareness,” she said.
Both sisters have already spent a lot of time in the country, visiting nearly every two years. Chiney spent eight weeks in Nigeria last spring as part of a study-abroad requirement for her international relations major. She also worked with the charity “Access to Success” to build a basketball court.
“I had a great experience. It’s eye-opening being an adult now and seeing it with adult eyes,” Chiney said. “I worked with the Minister of Petroleum and seeing people in power trying to change the country. I worked with the human rights committee and there are a lot of dilemmas with a variety of issues.”
The sisters have discussed putting “276” — at least that many girls are still missing — on their shoes when the WNBA season starts this weekend. They posted a photo on Instagram on Tuesday night of the two holding up signs saying: “(hash)Bring Back Our Girls.”
“This issue could have been swept under the rug,” Chiney said. “When I was there, a terrorist group did the same thing to some policemen. There were car bombs that didn't make international news. The innocence of African girls getting an education and getting kidnapped made it that much more vulnerable.”
May 08, 2014
LAWT News Service
PepsiCo’s Frito-Lay North America division recently announced the winners of its “Create to Celebrate” Black History Month art contest, which invited consumers to submit an original piece of art celebrating African American achievement in Black History. To celebrate, Frito-Lay will donate $20,000 to the United Negro College Fund (UNCF). The donation, which will help support the future educational needs of artists and students across the nation, was driven by thousands of consumer votes.
“The tremendous enthusiasm and level of engagement our fans have shown in the ‘Create to Celebrate’ Black History Month art contest is truly inspiring,” said Haston Lewis, senior director of marketing, Frito-Lay North America. “Through this contest and our partnership with UNCF, we are honored to contribute to such an important cause and help improve the lives of talented artists.”
From January 13 to February 16, fans nationwide entered an original piece of art celebrating African American achievement in Black History as part of Frito-Lay’s “Create to Celebrate” Black History Month art contest. From there, each eligible entry was featured in an online gallery at www.celebratecommunityarts.com and eligible fans (13 years of age and older) were asked to vote for their favorite piece of art. The top-25 entries that received the most online votes became finalists and the winners were selected by a Frito-Lay judging panel based on artistic talent, creativity and Black History Month relevance. The complete list of 2014 “Create to Celebrate” Black History Month art contest winners include:
• Danielle Johnson of Biloxi, Miss. will receive the $10,000 grand prize
• Sam Fuller of Dallas, Texas will receive the $5,000 second prize
• Alannah Vincent of Dothan, Ala. will receive the $2,500 third prize
UNCF is the nation’s largest and most effective minority education organization. To serve youth, the community and the nation, UNCF supports students’ education and development through scholarships and other programs, strengthens its 37 member colleges and universities, and advocates for the importance of minority education. UNCF institutions and other historically black colleges and universities are highly effective, awarding 21 percent of African American baccalaureate degrees. UNCF administers more than 400 programs, including scholarship, internship and fellowship, mentoring, summer enrichment, and curriculum and faculty development programs. Today, UNCF supports more than 60,000 students at over 900 colleges and universities across the country.
For more information, visit www.celebratecommunityarts.com.
May 01, 2014
By Craig Carter
LAWT Contributing Writer
It was only after her fellow Dialysis Technician prodded her several times, that Andrea Riser-Zanders found her way to the adult school at Central and 108th, the then-named Maxine Waters Employment Preparation Center.
She was so busy.
Riser-Zanders was a single parent with two kids at home and working two jobs . But her friend persisted. “Did you ever go there, “ her friend asked. “You’re going to miss the deadline.” Why me? Riser-Zander wanted to know. “Because you are nursing material. You care. You have insight. And it’s free.”
So with that, she took and passed the entrance exams, and spent 2001-2002 in the LVN program taught by Norma Roberts. She had to quit a job and work weekends because the class meets six hours a day, five days a week, but she found a way.
Now she is a Clinical Manager at a dialysis unit who teaches at local universities and dreams of opening a school of her own.
“I saw Maxine Waters as my open door to get back into medicine,” she says.
Like so many students at Maxine Waters, Riser-Zanders had abandoned her dreams long ago. Twenty years before enrolling at Maxine Waters, she turned down a chance to go to USC and study to be a Physician’s Assistant because she didn’t see how she could do that and tend to her young children and husband.
“But I think I was born to be a nurse,” she says. “I love the job.”
The nursing program at Maxine Waters Service Area (as it is now called) is no longer free, but the $10,000 cost is much cheaper than the $30,000 to $40,000 that other institutions charge. That breaks down to $6.53 an hour, less than the cost of many pre-schools.
But the future of the school is in doubt, imperiling the dreams and second chance opportunities of the people in the surrounding communities.
Maxine Waters Service Area is part of Los Angeles Unified School District, whose primary mission is to educate children, not adults. Superintendent John Deasy made this abundantly clear two years ago when he killed the nursing program along with the entire adult division.
Only community outcry and Herculean effort from students and staff were able to save it. Or part of it. The adult education programs is a third the size it used to be and has long waiting lists of students eager to get in.
“Without Maxine Waters, I would have been a tech much longer, “ says Riser-Zanders. Eliminating adult schools “would take away a lot of opportunities for mothers and others. They would be taking a stepping stone away.”
Maxine Waters is funded for next year at about the same level it is for this year, but after that its future is in doubt. Governor Jerry Brown, under AB86, has directed adult schools and community colleges to get together and remake the way the state educates adults. Where Maxine Waters and its career tech education programs – which in addition to nursing include automotive, welding, construction, culinary, landscaping and office skills classes – fits into the new vision is as yet unknown.
Riser-Zanders knows that her future includes more education. She will start a Doctorate in Nursing Practice this fall at Chatham University, in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania. But she will be continuing lessons she learned at Maxine Waters.
“What I learned at Maxine Waters,” she says, “is if you start something, you finish it. Be there every day until the end. That’s how you get to the next level.”
May 08, 2014
LAWT News Service
The Crenshaw Legal Clinic and criminal and civil rights attorney Nana Gyamfi will host a ‘Know Your Rights’ workshop for Californians with criminal convictions as well as a voter registration drive on Saturday, May 10 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. at 7526 South Crenshaw Boulevard in South L.A. Participants can also sign up for an expungement workshop. This is a free event supported by My Hood Votes, an organization dedicated to registering non-traditional and ignored residents in South Los Angeles, Compton, and Inglewood. For more information, call (323) 455-1265 or log onto www.nanagyamfi.com.
In the State of California you can register to vote if you are a citizen of the United States of America; a resident of California; at least 18 years of age or older on or before election day; not in prison, on parole, serving a state prison sentence in county jail, serving a sentence for a felony, or on post release community supervision; and not found mentally incompetent by a court of law. In addition you can vote if you are in county jail serving a misdemeanor sentence. A misdemeanor never affects your right to vote. California in county jail because jail time is a condition of probation or who are on probation are eligible to vote. All Californians finished with parole, mandatory supervision, or post release community supervision have their voting rights automatically restored when parole or supervision is done.
The deadline to register to vote for the June 3 State Primary Election is May 19. On June 3, among other things, voters in Los Angeles County will elect a new sheriff.
May 01, 2014
V. Stiviano, the woman whom Donald Sterling was talking to when he made racist remarks, is “very saddened” by his lifetime NBA ban, and she didn’t release the recording of their conversation, her lawyer said Tuesday.
Somebody released it “for money,” but it wasn't Stiviano, the attorney said.
“My client is devastated that this got out,” he said.
Nehoray previously said the recording posted online is a snippet of a conversation lasting roughly an hour.
In the recording, the Los Angeles Clippers owner apparently is upset with Stiviano for posting photos online of herself with Lakers Hall of Famer Magic Johnson and Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp.
“It bothers me a lot that you want to broadcast that you’re associating with black people. Do you have to?” Sterling asks.
The Johnson photo has since been deleted from Stiviano’s Instagram account.
On Tuesday, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver condemned the remarks. He banned Sterling for life from any association with the league or his team, and Silver fined him $2.5 million.
Stiviano has been described as Sterling's girlfriend.
In March, Sterling’s wife, Rochelle, sued Stiviano, seeking the return of more than $2.5 million in lavish gifts the woman allegedly received from her husband, including luxury cars and a $1.8 million duplex.
The lawsuit claims Stiviano, 31, met Sterling, 80, at the 2010 Super Bowl.
It accuses Stiviano of engaging “in conduct designed to target, befriend, seduce, and then entice, cajole, borrow from, cheat and/or receive as gifts transfers of wealth from wealthy older men whom she targets for such purpose.”
Stiviano’s attorney has filed documents to dismiss many of the accusations and denies that she took advantage of Sterling, describing him as having an “iron will” and being one of the world’s shrewdest businessmen.
Nehoray told the Times that Stiviano and Sterling didn’t have a romantic relationship.
“It’s nothing like it’s been portrayed,” the lawyer said. “She’s not the type of person everyone says.”
She was a hard-working waitress and did volunteer work helping crime victims before becoming an “archivist” for Sterling, he said.
“She had no association with any rich people before this,” he said.
The Los Angeles County district attorney’s office said Stiviano was a volunteer with its Victim-Witness Assistance Program in 2010 and 2011, the Times said.