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Prayers are going out to two American journalists killed in the past two weeks by masked executioners in Syria.  Journalist Peter Theo Curtis, 45, however, escaped death.  He was freed last week by Islamic terrorists in Syria, after nearly 2 years in captivity. He was reunited with his mother, Nancy, at Boston’s Logan Airport on August 26.


Speaking to reporters outside his home in Cambridge, MA, Curtis said:  “I suddenly remember how good the American people are, and what kindness they have in their hearts. And to those people, I say a huge thank you from the bottom of my heart.”


It was a bittersweet homecoming.  Curtis is deeply concerned about his fellow American journalists in Syria.  Human lives have become bargaining chips in exchange for control over military strikes.  


Around the time of Curtis’ return, Shirley Sotloff made a direct plea to Syrian terrorists in a video for the release of her son.  “I want to see him safe and sound, and to hug him,” she said.  On Tuesday, news came that Steven Sotloff, a 31 year-old journalist, has been beheaded. 


Curtis’ August 24 release was aided in part by Alia Al Thani, Qatar's permanent representative to the United Nations.  The extreme terrorist group called ISIS, however, has not responded to negotiation. 


Before the murder, a photo of Softloff was released with his killer holding a knife in one hand, and pulling the back of Sotloff’s tee-shirt with the other. The same executioner had threatened to kill Sotloff if the U.S. did not call off airstrikes in Iraq.


Sotloff is the second American to be executed in 2 weeks.  Fellow journalist James Foley was executed by ISIS last month. 


Curtis mom, Nancy Curtis, is deeply grateful to have her son back—and deeply concerned about what other families are going through:


“I don't think anybody's in the mood of celebration. You know, we're relieved.  But after the events of the last week and knowing those other children of my friends are in danger, you know, I have very conflicted emotions,” She told CNN.


“After the news about Jim Foley—it was terrible. You have to have hope.  There is no point in anticipating that your child is going to be murdered.  You don’t go there, it will make you crazy.” 




Hispanic Heritage Worth Knowing

Thursday, September 04, 2014

Hispanic Heritage Month, whose roots go back to 1968, begins each year on September 15, the anniversary of independence of five Latin American countries: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. Mexico, Chile and Belize also celebrate their independence days during this period and Columbus Day (Día de la Raza) is October 12.

The term Hispanic or Latino, refers to Puerto Rican, South or Central American, or other Spanish culture or origin regardless of race. On the 2010 Census form, people of Spanish, Hispanic and/or Latino origin could identify themselves as Mexican, Mexican American, Chicano, Puerto Rican, Cuban, or "another Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish origin."

According to this Census, 50.5 million people or 16% of the population are of Hispanic or Latino origin. This represents a significant increase from 2000, which registered the Hispanic population at 35.3 million or 13% of the total U.S. population.

By 2050, the Hispanic population is expected to reach 28%.  This population growth will impact everything from neighborhoods, school, government and the economy.  Learning about Hispanic history and culture will be imperative to how Americans experience life in the future.

Hispanics, like African Americans have fought many battles for equality in the U.S.  One Hispanic writer notes in the Huffington Post,  “As Latinos, we recognize the impact he [Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.] had in inspiring Dolores Huerta, Cesar Chavez and the United Farm Workers to adopt non-violence principles -- which King learned from Gandhi's struggles against the British in India -- in their long march for better working conditions and respectable wages for the migrant laborers of California's farmlands…


“Their rise into these positions of influence would not have been possible without the path forged by Dr. King and the Civil Rights Movement, or the rising consciousness which fueled Hispanics in the 60's and 70's to listen, learn and act.”


One fallen Hispanic hero, Ruben Salazar, was honored on Aug. 29 in a ceremony by County Supervisor Gloria Molina and the Department of Parks and Recreation.  A plaque was unveiled at an East Los Angeles Park in Whittier named for the L.A. Times journalist who lost his life covering the Chicano Moratorium anti-war protest.   


“Ruben Salazar's life and death became emblematic of the Chicano Rights movement of the 1970s,” Molina said


This year marked the 44th anniversary of the death of Salazar. 


“Ruben Salazar was a gifted chronicler and advocate who dedicated his talents to sharing with the world what it meant to be Mexican-American in a transformative time and place. His contributions made him an icon in the community — and although his life was cut tragically short, his legacy lives on in the people influenced, inspired and touched by his work,” Molina said.


An award-winning documentary “Ruben Salazar: Man in the Middle” followed the ceremony.


Hispanic Heritage Month celebrations will be held in numerous places around Los Angeles county, including the Baja Splash Cultural Festival at the Aquarium of the Pacific (, 100 Aquarium Way, Long Beach, CA 90802 from Sept. 28 to 29; and the 3rd Annual Taste of Mexico La Plaza de Cultura y Artes (, 501 N. Main St., Los Angeles, CA 90012, on Oct. 11.

Mixing culture, music, art, food and the biodiversity of Baja, Mexico, the 12th Annual Baja Splash Cultural Festival is a slightly different take on celebrating Hispanic heritage. The kids will enjoy all of the music and dance performances featuring folk dances from countries like Guatemala and El Salvador as well as Mexico.


At the La Plaza de Cultura y Artes in downtown Los Angeles, the taste event is a sampling of foods from some of LA’s best Mexican restaurants and some from Mexico. Live mariachi and lots of other great entertainment will keep you moving your feet. Don’t forget all the tequila and craft mezcal tastings offered as well.


For more information about Hispanic Heritage Month, visit

The Inglewood School District is now accepting applications to serve on the Inglewood five-member Advisory Board of Education.  Residents in Inglewood and Ladera Heights are welcome to apply. 

There are two open slots, which became available in the spring.    Appointees will serve through the next regularly scheduled election in April 2015.

Eligible candidates must be at least 18 years of age, citizens of the United States, residents of the district, registered to vote and qualified to hold a civil office.

IUSD State Trustee Don Brann plans to appoint successful applicants to the advisory position by the end of October.  Application packets are available in the District Office at 401 S. Inglewood Ave., and must be completed by the close of business Sept. 22.

The school district has been without a formal Board of Education since the state took control of it in 2012. The advisory board does not have power to set policy, but rather make recommendations to Brann.

If you have been wanting to help improve the state of Inglewood schools, now is the chance to make a difference.

For more information or to receive an application, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , or call 310-419-2706 or 310-419-2728.

A new bill authored by Assemblyman Steven Bradford (D-Inglewood), and signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown, will give citizens new authority against police who abuse their power.


According to reports, Assembly Bill 2634 allows a victim whose civil rights have been violated by police to seek injunctive relief.  The bill gives courts greater authority to issue injunctions against police departments that have a history of civil rights violations.


Bradford said his bill provides an individual the legal right to ask the court to order law enforcement to discontinue the acts that resulted in the violation of rights, if the acts are determined to be part of a pattern or practice. The injunction would then apply across a department, to all individuals, regardless if they were parties in the initial case.


Motivated by high profile cases such as Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO, and locally, Marlene Pinnock, a homeless woman punched in the face by a California Highway Patrol officer on the Santa Monica (10) Freeway (both unarmed), Bradford’s bill would put power into the hands of victims. 


“The number of disturbing cases we have seen around the country of officers abusing departmentally approved tactics like pepper spray, chokeholds or other force, makes me cringe,” Bradford said. “Placing an asthmatic man in a chokehold in Staten Island, or punching a mentally ill woman in the face on a Southern California freeway — these are approved uses of force that desperately need review by an independent court.”


Last month, protestors gathered in Leimert Park to draw attention to incidents involving Brown, Pinnock, and most recently Ezell Ford, a man shot and killed by LAPD officers after allegedly struggling with police. Pinnock made a public appearance during the rally, which demanded District Attorney Jackie Lacey to file charges against Daniel Andrew, the officer who beat her.


 “The activists and civil rights leaders will not just sit quietly and wait for [Lacy’s] decision,” Najee Ali, political director of the L.A. chapter of the National Action Network, told the Los Angeles Times. “We’re going to be in the streets demanding Ms. Pinnock gets justice.”


Andrew has been stripped of his duties and placed on administrative leave. The CHP has investigated the case and turned over its findings to the DA's office.  Pinnock has filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the officer and CHP Commissioner Joe Farrow. 


“By giving the courts the authority to review departmental practices, we can implement a check on dangerous and unconstitutional behavior,” Bradford said. “I admire our police officers and the work they do keeping our communities safe. But residents should not fear their officers, and victims of excessive force should have an avenue they can take to prevent more people from becoming victims.”







INGLEWOOD – Inglewood’s Mayor James Butts, members of the City Council, and business leaders celebrated the grand reopening of the Inglewood/Airport Area Chamber of Commerce Wednesday, August 27.  With over 12,450 businesses in Inglewood, including the recently opened Forum that hosted the 2014 MTV Video Music Awards, the Chamber represents the interests of business in and around the City of Inglewood while promoting a flourishing economy and quality of life in the region.  Pictured above helping to cut the ribbon at the celebratory event are (left to right): District 4 Councilmember Ralph Franklin, District 1 Councilmember George Dotson, Inglewood Police Captain Marie Dibernardo, Mayor James Butts, Chamber President Ronald Talton, and District 2 Councilmember Alex Padilla.


For more information on the Chamber, please call (310) 677-1121 or visit


The Inglewood/Airport Area Chamber of Commerce is one of the largest Chambers in the region providing businesses in the area with passionate advocacy, valuable networking opportunities, and enlightening educational programs.  More online at


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