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July 20, 2011Today was another big day in Beijing. Although this is my fourth trip here, it is still amazing to see where China is as a nation and the intense focus on excellence. This focus seems to permeate the entire society and all they do. It certainly makes one think about the United States chances to remain a global superpower, when others like China are now focused far more intensely on the "fundamentals" - infrastructure, education, poverty eradication - than we are.I think the Crenshaw students are beginning to see the awesome power of this nation and the trip. My hope is that they will also recognize the power of the global relationships they've now formed with Chinese students.This morning we rode the bullet train to Tianjin; a train that travels at 200 mph as silently as a Lexus. We ate lunch in Tianjin and eventually returned to Beijing to meet the Chinese high school students for a farewell celebration at our hotel. All the students engaged in song and dance. It was quite a sight to see.We fly to Shanghai tomorrow (we will need to arise at 3:30 am to make the plane!). In Shanghai, we will visit a UPS Center and then Nielson's China offices. I will then split from the delegation in the evening to head back to LA. The others will stay here thru Saturday morning. It will be nice to head home, but the profundity of this experience will doubtless linger with all of us for some time to come.
- July 1, 2011 | Katherine Davis | KPCC
Forty-five excited students from Crenshaw High School visited Los Angeles City Hall Friday morning to formally announce their upcoming 10-day trip to China.
The mid-July trip, organized by the Los Angeles Urban League, will challenge students to serve as ambassadors for Los Angeles while learning about the global economy in what, for most, will be their first time traveling outside of the country, or even the state.
The Los Angeles Urban League has led two delegations of African American leadership groups to China before in 2006 and 2010, but this will be the first trip they have organized for high school students.
“Hopefully this can become an annual tradition,” Urban League spokesperson Anthony Holguin said.
The L.A. Urban League has been promoting student leadership at Crenshaw High School as part of their Neighborhoods@Work initiative. It was from those leadership groups that about 20 students were hand-selected for the Crenshaw2China cultural exchange program.
The students have been participating in 10 weeks of courses in preparation for their journey, including lessons in Mandarin language and Chinese culture. They’ve also participated in African American history courses taught by representatives from an African American heritage group, the Kinsey Collection, to better help them share something of their own culture with their counterparts from Beijing's Renmin University.
The Crenshaw High Choir’s appearance on MSNBC’s national program "Morning Joe" earlier in June caught the attention of an anonymous donor who then sponsored the whole choir to join in on the China trip as well. With only about a month’s notice that they would be able to participate in the trip, choir members are now scrambling to organize their travel arrangements, but all of them readily accepted the generous offer.
“I didn’t even have to think about it, I just said yes right away!” said choir member and 10th grader, Brittany Prevost. For Brittany, like many of her peers, this trip will be her first time ever traveling on an airplane.
“It’s more than just building a resume; they’re sparking an interest in what’s happening in the world,” Urban League President, Blair Taylor said, “They’re learning to form 21st century relationships.”
The gathering at City Hall served not only as a send-off for the students, but also for Eighth District Councilman, Bernard Parks, whose district includes Crenshaw High School. It was Parks' first day of his final term on the LA City council, and he was surprised by with a performance by the Crenshaw choir as he left his chambers.
Source: Southern California Public Radio
Written by Sentinel News Service, on 07-01-2011 21:06
The Kinsey Collection and LA Urban League partner with Crenshaw High School to send students to China for cultural exchange program
The Kinsey Collection, Crenshaw High School, and the Los Angeles Urban League are preparing to lead a delegation of 35 students to China in July to initiate a cross-cultural exchange. The program will allow students to learn about both African-American and Chinese cultures as well as expose them to business, trade and the global economy. Over the past five months, the Crenshaw High students have engaged in an extensive training program; learning Mandarin, African-American history and culture, etiquette, global economics, and trade. The 10-day trip promises to be a life changing experience for the delegation.
The leadership of the Los Angeles Urban League is thoroughly convinced that now is the time to foster innovative collaborations in business and educational sectors of the international community. Since 2006, the Los Angeles Urban League has led two delegations to China and has made intentional efforts in establishing and cultivating a strong relationship with China around mutually beneficial opportunities for Chinese and African- Americans.
Los Angeles businessman, philanthropist and art collector Bernard Kinsey and his son Khalil, have played an integral role in preparing the students in the area of African-American history and culture. Bernard and his wife Shirley's personal collection of African-American art and historical artifacts has been on national tour for the past six years, most recently being displayed at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History.
Their book, The Kinsey Collection, serves as a mirror to the exhibit and was given to each student in the program as a textbook to learn of the many and often untold accomplishments of African-Americans from the 1600's through the civil-rights era. The book was recently adopted by the Florida Department of Education as part of their African-American history curriculum for grades K-12 throughout the state.
The Kinseys recently hosted the participating students at their home as a culmination of the intensive training course and to give the teens an up-close look at some of the artifacts they have been learning about. Bernard Kinsey has been invited to be a speaker at Remnin University (People's University of China) as part of the school's master lecture series, further bringing the Chinese a perspective on African-American history and culture rarely provided by a delegation from the United States.
Corporate sponsors for the Crenshaw2China initiative include Mattel, Nike, UPS, American Airlines, Starbucks and Farmers Insurance.
Source: Los Angeles Sentinel