In celebration of Black History Month, Alameda County Supervisor Keith Carson honored five "Future History Makers" on Wednesday Feb. 22, 2012, at the Joyce Gordon Gallery in downtown Oakland.
The honorees are up and coming leaders in the African American community who have made significant contributions to the fields of education, social justice and business. “We are here to congratulate and thank you for the contributions you make to the community each and every day,” Supervisor Carson said.
Patricia Saddler, Principal at Longfellow Middle School in Berkeley, was honored for her dedication to her students and for her determination to close the achievement gap for youth of color. In September 2010, her school was visited by the U.S. Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan. He honored the school for outstanding achievement in Math, especially algebra, and the impressive percentage of students of color that are performing at or above grade-level.
“I charge all of you as we move forward into the next presidential election,” Principal Saddler told the crowd of more than 150 people, “to support public education.”
Other honorees included Kevin Taylor, Principal at McClymonds High School in West Oakland, who was recognized for his work mentoring, coaching and teaching youth in various California schools. A native of Oakland, Principal Taylor returned in the fall of 2010 to lead the building of the “new” McClymonds after the school was previously broken into smaller schools. Principal Taylor has been a force behind the “Mack is Back” campaign with the support of community partners and a strong alumni association.
Nola Brantley, Executive Director of MISSSEY, was recognized for her advocacy for and support of commercially sexually exploited and trafficked minors in Alameda County. Mindy Williams and Elizabeth Smith from MISSSEY accepted the award on Ms. Brantley’s behalf.
Accompanied by his wife and two of his daughters, Jakada Imani of the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights accepted his award for contributions to social justice causes. Prior to becoming Executive Director of the Ella Baker Center, Mr. Imani directed Books Not Bars, an ongoing campaign to replace California's youth prisons with effective rehabilitation programs. As Supervisor Carson noted, Mr. Imani has worked tirelessly to ensure that all youth in Alameda County are treated fairly and humanely by the juvenile justice system, and that elected officials are constantly seeking ways to prevent the cycle of incarceration and recidivism that afflicts many East Bay communities.
Len and Lance Turner of Turner Group Construction own one of the Bay Area's premier minority contracting businesses. Along with siblings and family members, they have established their business as a cornerstone East Bay employer. Turner Group Construction was honored for their commitment to providing employment opportunities to local residents in order to build marketable skills and living wages to sustain workers and families in Oakland and beyond.