Author Archives: Staff

Makeda “Dread” Cheatom: 2019 NAACP San Diego Branch President’s Award Winner

The NAACP San Diego Branch is pleased to present the President’s Award to Makeda “Dread” Cheatom at our 2019 Freedom Fund Dinner!

Makeda “Dread” Cheatom grew up in San Diego, CA and has dedicated her life to music, art, culture and well being.

In 1971, she opened the first vegetarian restaurant and international cultural center in San Diego, the world-famous, Prophet Vegetarian Restaurant. The Prophet collaborated with many international health advocates like Dick Gregory and Dr Bronner. Makeda later met Bob Marley and began her music career as a promoter and has been coined to of brought reggae to Southern California. For over 25 years Makeda hosted, Bob Marley Day at the San Diego Sports Arena. In 1989, she established WorldBeat Cultural Center, a non-profit multi-cultural center in Balboa Park where she is the Executive Director.


For over 30 years Makeda has hosted her own radio show, Reggae Makossa and was recently approved a community low powered FM station, 101.1FM (KVIB).


Makeda has also founded WorldBeat Center’s Children’s Ethnobotany Peace Garden which is used as an Outdoor Classroom to bring families outdoors and teach children of the origins of their food and science. The garden’s educational programming has also recently been awarded grants by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the National Science Foundation. One of the NSF grants she participated was a four year research project, ​Examining Contextual Factors Influencing the Implementation of Projects Designed to Improve Cultural Diversity in Informal STEM Programming​. Currently, she is working as a Principle Investigator on a 3 year NSF grant project with the Cornell Lab of Ornithology on noise pollution in underserved communities across the country. Over the years Makeda’s vision and work has been able to bring children of low-income families to the garden and create environmental stewards.


Some of her awards include: Channel 10 Leadership Award, Project Concern International, the Palava Tree for Arts & Culture among others. Makeda was also been inducted into the San Diego County Women’s Hall of Fame as a Cultural Bridge Builder, was named “San Diego Trailblazer” by the African American Heritage Foundation and has been recognized as one of the 25 most influential women in San Diego’s history by San Diego’s 10 News viewers. In 2016 she was awarded the KPBS San Diego Local Hero Award. July 2017 she received the Jan Merrit Leadership Award by San Diego Unified School District TRACE Program and March 2018 Women of the Year Award by CA State 78th Assembly District.

Throughout her life she has traveled to 4 continents and will be visiting her 5th in 2019 and 2020 where she plans to collaborate in tours to Ghana and Ethiopia. Makeda believes music, art, dance and culture will unite all races, all cultures, and all people across the world.

The Freedom Fund Dinner is an annual event that, in addition to celebrating our supporters, recognizes groups and individuals who have contributed to the cause of Civil Rights and racial justice throughout the City, County, State and Nation. This year will be an extraordinary celebration, as we look back on the 100 years since the founding of the San Diego Branch, and look forward to our bright future.

The evening is sure to be memorable and enjoyable for all.



Jose Elenes Reyes Jr.: 2019 NAACP San Diego Branch Freedom Fund Dinner Student Honoree

The NAACP San Diego Branch is pleased to honor Jose Elenes Reyes Jr. at our 2019 Freedom Fund Dinner!

José’s impressive set of achievements, in the face of tremendous life challenges, is a testament ot his personal strength.  The sheer determination that it took to accomplish a high grade-point average in school, as well as to excel in sports is commendable. He has used all of the challenges that may have caused hi to fail and allowed them to mold him into the resilient, capable leader and mentor that he is today. 

The Freedom Fund Dinner is an annual event that, in addition to celebrating our supporters, recognizes groups and individuals who have contributed to the cause of Civil Rights and racial justice throughout the City, County, State and Nation. This year will be an extraordinary celebration, as we look back on the 100 years since the founding of the San Diego Branch, and look forward to our bright future.

The evening is sure to be memorable and enjoyable for all.



2019 Back-to-School Stay-in-School Rally and Fair was a Huge Success!

Watch:

The highlights of the day included:

Parent Advocacy Workshop

Parents not only received information, but shared insights and even felt comfortable sharing personal stories. A veteran received valuable information regarding IEP meetings. One parent was delighted to get information on getting help with her water bill (maybe not–you never know the the City!)

ACT-SO: UV Light

At the Back to School – Stay in School Fair, ACT-SO students lead an interactive science lab reinforcing the importance and demonstrating the effectiveness of both sunblock and melanin as it relates to the harmful rays from the sun. It was a pleasure watching the children think and guess what would happen with each step of the experiment. Having the students in our program take the reins allowed them to lead, teach, and strengthen their interpersonal skills.

This is a fun, quick activity you can do at home with your littles! Directions here!

See:

We are very grateful for major sponsorship by:

Nehemyah Gray: 2019 NAACP San Diego Branch Freedom Fund Dinner Student Honoree

The NAACP San Diego Branch is pleased to honor Nehemyah Gray at our 2019 Freedom Fund Dinner!

The Freedom Fund Dinner is an annual event that, in addition to celebrating our supporters, recognizes groups and individuals who have contributed to the cause of Civil Rights and racial justice throughout the City, County, State and Nation. This year will be an extraordinary celebration, as we look back on the 100 years since the founding of the San Diego Branch, and look forward to our bright future.

The evening is sure to be memorable and enjoyable for all.



CA-HI State Convention Delegate Election — September 5th!

The NAACP California-Hawaii State Conference will hold its annual convention from October 25th-27th in Los Angeles.  We are entitled to up to six voting delegates, and it is the hope of the Office of the President that we will send a full slate of six delegates, because we believe that it is time for our voices to be heard at the State level.  They spend a lot of time telling us what they the State Officers and Executive Committee Members want, and it’s time for us to tell them what we the people want.

Remember, the State Executive Committee can, by a simple vote, force us to cease to advocate for any position with which they disagree. Unlike our Executive Committee, all the General Memberships in the world can’t change a position that handful of people agree on. It behooves us to make sure those elected take our concerns seriously and that they have outstanding character.

To accomplish this, we need to elect those delegates at our September 5th General Membership Meeting.  To conserve Branch funds, and because the convention is practically in our backyard, we are going to propose that we will pay the registration fee ($75) as well as a $100 per night housing stipend for the nights of the 25th and 26th.  Delegates will be on their own for meals and extra conference activities.

Both the reimbursement plan and the election of delegates will be voted on this coming Thursday night, so please do make it a priority to join us, and don’t be shy about putting your hat in the ring if you’d like to represent your Branch to the State.

Setting ACT-SO 2019-2020 in Motion!

With our tour of Casa del Rey Moro (sorry, it’s full) ACT-SO is getting under way for the 2019-2020 season. We will be returning to favorite past activities, and planning exciting new ones. To refresh your memory, let’s cover the basics:

What is ACT-SO?

The NAACP’s Afro-Academic, Cultural, Technological and Scientific Olympics (ACT-SO) is a yearlong achievement program designed to recruit, stimulate, and encourage high academic and cultural achievement among African-American high school students.

ACT-SO includes 33 competitions in STEM, humanities, business, and performing, visual and culinary arts. Almost 300,000 young people have participated from the program since its inception.  (For a very brief description of each category, please see our Categories page.)

For forty years the mission of ACT-SO has been to prepare, recognize and reward youth of African descent who exemplify scholastic and artistic excellence.

Yeah, but SPECIFICALLY What is ACT-SO?

Students will, over the course of the school year, prepare a scientific paper, a play, an essay or other academic work (for a full listing, see our Categories page.)  The NAACP will provide mentorship and assistance all along the way.  At the end of the school year (specifically, April 4th, 2020) there will be a local showcase of student work, with expert judges.  Work that achieves the highest standard will get the student a spot in the national ACT-SO competition in Boston, July 16th-19th.  The NAACP San Diego Branch will cover travel expenses.

Students may also earn a trip to Boston to observe, even if they don’t qualify to compete. We’re still working out the details, but we’re excited about getting some of our younger competitors a chance to see the big stage.

The Goals of ACT-SO are:

  • To mobilize the adult community for the promotion of academic and artistic excellence.
  • To recognize creative talent and academic achievement.
  • To provide and assist students with the necessary skills to establish goals and acquire the confidence and training to make a successful contribution to society.

ACT-SO Student Observer Program

We’re excited to announce our ACT-SO National Student Observer Program!

As you know, students who win Gold at our Showcase in April get a free ride to ACT-SO National in Boston.  This year we’re looking to bring along up to three more students to accompany our Gold winners.

Student observers will get a chance to travel to Boston with ACT-SO, meet other ACT-SO competitors from across the country, and see what competition at National is like.  We’ll pay their way and make sure they’re safe and have a good time.

How do students earn the chance to go?  By participating in ACT-SO and NAACP events, and by competing in the local Showcase–even if they don’t win it all!  We’ll be rolling out the details soon, but we want you to know that every ACT-SO and NAACP San Diego Branch Event you attend increases your chances to travel to Boston next July!

Photos: 2019 STEM Camp at Bell Middle School

The NAACP San Diego Branch, in conjunction with Hands-On Technology Education, put on a Mobile Technologies STEM Camp at Bell Middle School this summer. Here’s what these kids did on their summer vacation:

We were excited to help students get a taste of what being a mobile technologist is all about!

Our students:

Not pictured: La’Coria, Lysandra, Nicholas and Thomas

We are very thankful to the major sponsors of our camp, SDG&E and Wells Fargo!

Would you like to be part of our future efforts at bringing premium STEM experiences to the underserved? Write [email protected] or donate by clicking below:

See video here.