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SIMI VALLEY, CA, April 13, 2012 /24-7PressRelease/ -- Eleven young men of color from Compton, Long Beach, and surrounding areas were invited to The White House in a once in a lifetime trip February 20th-23rd, 2012 and will be sharing their experience in a special event April 19 at The Long Beach Playhouse.
First Lady, Michelle Obama, hosted "At the Crossroads: A History of the Blues in America," an educational workshop for middle and high school students from across the country, held in the State Dining Room. The local young men ranged in age from 15-22 years and are skilled in digital media or singers and musicians who participate in the Long Beach Community Action Partnership (LBCAP) "Men Making A Change" (MMAC) program. After performing as the opening act for the James Brown Exhibit at The GRAMMY Museum in L.A. Live, they were invited by Robert Santelli, Executive Director of The GRAMMY Museum to participate in the Washington D.C. educational trip. Santelli is a leading musicologist and music educator who created the "Crossroads" program.
"Our members are all 100% below the Federal Poverty Guidelines and are from Long Beach, Compton, and surrounding areas," stated Maeve Milstead, Director of Youth Programs, LBCAP. "Hearing First Lady, Michelle Obama share that her husband made mistakes early in his life but regained focus, resonated with our young men," said Milstead.
A relentless and successful advocate for lifting citizens out of poverty to self-sufficiency, LBCAP Executive Director, Darick Simpson who accompanied the local youths to Washington D.C., was recently awarded $100,000 from the California Endowment to continue his non-profit's impactful work to increase leadership among young men of color ages 14-22. Simpson said, "Seeing these young men make the trip from Long Beach to The White House was unbelievable considering the obstacles they have encountered in their lives. Now they know it is absolutely possible that good things happen and they can make a change for the better."
"This trip has impacted our young men in ways we couldn't imagine," said Milstead. On our final evening of the trip, our toughest young man broke down in tears about how this experience has changed his life forever. She and Simpson has seen their difficulties first hand. Many of these young men, their families, or loved ones have been subjected to violent shootings, stabbings, beatings or worse.
"Men Making A Change: Our Journey to The White House" Thursday, April 19 from 6:30pm - 8:30pm at the Long Beach Playhouse will celebrate their trip in music, story, and song. Tickets are $20 each or six for $100. Dress is business casual. The Long Beach Playhouse is located at: 5021 East Anaheim Street Long Beach, CA 90804. For more event information contact April Pongtratic 562-216-4614, [email protected] or visit www.LBCAP.org.
"At the Crossroads: A History of the Blues in America" is part of a broader educational program developed by The GRAMMY Museum, consisting of visits to Greater Washington-area institutions and a special student press conference where student journalists were able to question production staff preparing for the White House performance and other GRAMMY related events. In addition to the White House visit with First Lady Michelle Obama, the young men:
- Attended the GRAMMY Museum Press Conference and Blues writing seminar
- Performed at a sold out Bus Boys and Poets open mic night
- Visited the National Museum of American History
- Had meetings with the Congressional offices of Laura Richardson and Grace F. Napolitano
- Explored Capitol Hill and the Martin Luther King Jr. Monument
- Met with Federal Maritime Commissioner Mario Cordero
- Toured Howard University
Just when the young men thought they were returning to Long Beach, they were surprised with a stop in New York City where they were able to visit Times Square and given a motivational speech by New York's top urban morning show, The Breakfast Club.
For more on this story contact Maeve Milstead, LBCAP (602) 451-0953 [email protected]
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