I was honored to be invited to guest speak at the August 2018 graduation ceremony at Year Up in Greater Boston. Thank you Year Up for allowing me to share in your joy. Your drive and will to succeed is infectious. The impact you have made has sent a ripple effect across the nation that continues to inspire me and my children daily. I spoke to the challenges we are faced with and incredible high expectations we need to hold ourselves to. I was moved at how many students in the audience were inspired by Heroes of Color and it's values and mission.
A week away from class one. I am up late, trying to re-organize the curriculum and get everything in order for my students. I have been planing this for a year now. At first I wasn't sure if it was going to happen. But I kept on pushing, kept on planning, believing and developing this until I was able to get others just as excited as me. I am excited about the potential impact I believe this class will have on students. Introducing business, giving them a platform to express themselves, teaching them financial independence. I know it will go well. I Will be documenting the process from now on.
We are so excited that the Junior ARTrepreneurs workshop found it's first home! The Saint Kateri Church in Santa Clarita will host our first class and we are working hard to bring an awareness in the community. This will be an incredible class that will help build confidence in our youth. They will also get some education on financial independence and some guidance on how to market, price and sell their creative projects. While the class is hosted in a Catholic church, please note that this program is open to ANYONE regardless of your faith or if you are a member of this church. The outreach coordinator Kathy Regalado has been instrumental in helping to bring this program to the community and I am excited to see this dream of mine come true. It has always been a passion of mine to educate through art, and this program allows me to do that.
The internet rallies behind the #PBSFilmFest and Heroes of Color in this years 2018 PBS Online Film Festival. It has been a very tough task to execute the marketing strategies put in effect for this campaign. However, we need to show PBS how relevant and in demand this series is to educators, parents and the world. It is so important that children see themselves represented in everyday live in a positive way. This series provides that opportunity. Read the full interview PBS conducted here: https://www.pbs.org/filmfestival/blogs/behind-lens/heroes-of-color-qa/
Canyon Country Library in Santa Clarita had their annual Dia De Los Libros event. It was a great experience for myself and my kids. I wasn't able to post the photos of the table full of kids who surrounded the coloring pages I designed and were so incredibly focused on their coloring! The best part was that the ages ranged from children up to adults. I was honored to have a presence at the event and look forward to other ways in which I can include diverse artwork in the community.
On January 12, 2018, I was invited to give a screening and presentation at the 6th Annual Black Comic Book Festival at The Schomburg Center in Harlem NYC. It was an incredible experience. When I first created the series back in 2015, I always felt like the toughest demographic to reach with the subject of history were Junior High School students. Their attention span is often thwarted by technology, boys, girls, or just lack of interest. Well, that certainly was not the case on stage.
Not only was I able to grab everyone's attention early on, the packed audience of JHS students (and parents and faculty) made me feel as if this was a highly anticipated event for them. I spoke about the importance of representation in the classroom, the encouragement educators should be giving students and reminding them how incredible they are as students. I spoke about my previous experiences and how I felt like the lack of positive representation bothered me so much that I thought, I could either continue to complain about it, or do something about it. This series, was my way of doing something about it.
I went on to speak about the videos and how these heroes impacted my life and continue to inspire me on a daily basis. I even watch the videos every so often just to get a boost of inspiration when ever I encounter a difficult obstacle. After the first video ended, the thunderous applause filled me with a joy that I had never felt before. I realized that feeling was that I had "reached" my target market! They loved it. I asked "wouldn't that be a fun way to learn history in your classroom?" and the frigid New York air was quickly warmed by eruption of synchronized voices in the auditorium shouting "yea"! It was obvious to me that none of the press, none of the celebrity "retweets" meant as much to me as the validation that I received from those bright eyed Junior High School kids from Harlem. If there was ever any doubt that I should continue developing more episodes, that doubt was instantly crushed that morning.
Heroes of color is an instructional video series honoring the achievements of people of color in and out of the military.