April 24, 2014
LAWT Staff and Wire Report
“Earth Day is being celebrated everyday in your New Ninth District, as we work to clean up — and green up — our community,” Councilman Curren D. Price told his constituents recently.
“From our targeted community clean-up initiative to opening up new parks and community gardens, we are on a mission to transform our neighborhoods starting with improving our environment.
“This weekend we held four community clean-ups across the district to celebrate Earth Day, with dozens of community volunteers and collected tons of trash and bulky items. As we take a moment today to think about preserving our environment, visit sites like www.epa.gov/earthday/tips for tips on how to live ‘greener.’”
Price also invited the community to present their ideas for environmental changes, and on activities or policies they would like to see his office take on by visiting the ninth district website contact page, www.the-new-ninth.com. Visit the site also, for volunteer information for their next clean and green event.
April 24, 2014
By Jennifer Bihm
LAWT Contributing Writer
Jamaican born artist Michael Talbot was among the winners at the 30th annual Future Writers and Illustrator Awards on Sunday April 13 in Los Angeles. Associate Administrator for Education at NASA Headquarters Leland D. Melvin, keynoted the event, which featured thirteen science fiction short story and illustration entries, picked from thousands around the world. Talbot’s entry was for the story “Shifter,” written by Future Writer winner, Paul Eckheart.
“[The win] was very shocking,” recalled Talbot.
“I had entered and basically forgot about it until I got the call that I was finalist. I wasn’t expecting it.”
He’s been drawing, he said, for as long as he can remember, choosing to do so while other kids were playing outside. He was attempting to apply for a scholarship but ended up in the Future Illustrators program, created by author L. Ron Hubbard. The 20 year old is currently studying his craft at the Lesley University of Art and Design and says that he feels winning the prestigious award will take him to the next level.
“I’m going to finish college and after that I’m going straight for whatever I want to do [in graphic design and illustration].
Meanwhile, Melvin former NFL recruit and NASA astronaut said he chose to be a part of the event because writers of science fiction are significant in helping to spark ideas for real life advancements on earth and in space.
“Science fiction,” he said, “often becomes science fact.”
“What you do with your writing and illustrations,” he told the finalists during his keynote speech, “you impact not only our world, you impact our world.”
The Future Writers/ Illustrator awards are based solely on the creators’ work, there is no entry fee according to program officials. Winners are published in the latest volume of the Writers of the Future anthology. Prizes also include thousands in cash and royalties, mentorship from experts in their field and TV and radio interviews, helping them to advance their careers.
“To be honest, I don’t think I’m anything extraordinary or beyond the typical artist or lover,” said Talbot.
“But, I do believe I’m able to make an impact on people through my art and that’s precisely what I strive to do.”
April 24, 2014
By Jennifer Bihm
LAWT Contributing Writer
“When it came time for me to think about how I could give back to my community, it ended up coming through school,” said Deanna Jordan, a UCLA student who has teamed up with the university’s Community Programs department to launch her Compton Task Force Project.
The year-old project is aimed at helping kids in Compton schools build the skills and garner the tools they need to effectively navigate their way through the K-12 system and transition to college.
“I saw the difference in how my boys, I have three sons, were being taught in Westwood and Brentwood, which was still LAUSD. But, when you go to Compton or LAUSD schools in the inner city it’s a completely different end of the spectrum. I couldn’t understand that.”
For example, explained Jordan who is a Compton native, when she was in high schooled being bused to the valley, ninth graders were doing algebra and calculus. But at Fremont High in Los Angeles, “we were barely doing geometry,” she said.
The Task Force Project is connected with a variety of other non profits, churches and schools, enabling Jordan to secure resources for her students as needed, whether it be for education or transitional assistance. Under Jordan's leadership, UCLA student volunteers travel to the city of Compton six days a week to work on academics with students at Carver Elementary School, which she herself attended, Willowbrook Middle School and King-Drew Magnet High School of Medicine and Science. On Saturdays, the students go into the center about 10:00 am. They begin tutoring at 10:45.
“If the student is having difficulty reading (for example) we work them on that. If they have homework over the weekend, we help them with that,” Jordan explained.
“With our high school students, we help them the transition from high school to college. We work on the senior portfolio…”
After tutoring, is a breakout session where the younger students are separated from the older ones. The groups engage in open dialogs and free writing projects.
“Outside of the tutoring that’s the most fulfilling part,” said Jordan.
“Because you have these youth who are opening up and divulging a lot of the things they are going through,” she said.
Because, coming from where they come from, she had gone through a lot of the same things.
Higher education and civic engagement weren’t always priorities in Jordan’s life. Just a decade ago, she was focused on finishing high school, getting married and starting a family. By the age of 18, she had done all three.
But as her views and goals evolved, Jordan decided that if she was ever going to establish a greater degree of financial security for her young family, something had to change.
“At the end of the day, I had to say that it was important to me,” Jordan said of her decision to go to college. “I had to want it. Nobody could want it for me. Nobody.”
So just 12 days after her youngest son was born, she started sociology classes at West Los Angeles Community College.
“I returned to school on June 8, 2008, and I never stopped,” said Jordan, who earned an associate of arts degree from community college and transferred to UCLA in 2011. Jordan, a first-generation college student, has been honored as a departmental scholar at UCLA, allowing her to pursue her bachelor’s and master’s degrees concurrently. Ultimately, she plans to work in a field that will allow her to advocate for marginalized people and communities, she said.
April 17, 2014
The L.A. Watts Times would like to apologize to actress/philanthropist Halle Berry for our cover last week that mistakenly indicated her as a breast cancer survivor. We understand that Berry does not, nor did she ever have breast cancer and it was simply a graphic error. We would like to thank our readers as well as Berry’s camp for their understanding and patience.