Little Rock Nine Alumnus on Notion of ‘We the People’

By Terrence J. Roberts
Special to The Outlook

Terrence Roberts

In the wake of the massive outcry after the murder of George Floyd, I have been invited by a number of news outlets in the United States and Canada to comment on issues of racism in America. Most of the reporters want to know how I feel about things racial today in contrast to how I felt about these same issues when I was in Little Rock those many years ago.
My usual response has been to point out that it would probably be more meaningful to inquire about my thoughts instead of my feelings. Then, without waiting for a revised question, I proceed to speak openly, about my thoughts.
I think that very little sustained attention has been paid to the legally mandated actions designed to block the forward progress of Black people in this country. Historically we have had to contend with covenants preventing Black people from acquiring formal education in the nation’s public and private schools, laws preventing Black home ownership, restrictive covenants barring Black residents from neighborhoods identified as Whites-only spaces, laws limiting employment, health care, recreational and financial opportunities for Black people.
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Enduring Heroes Emerges as a Landmark With Impact

By Rhonda Kozacik
Special to The Outlook

Photo courtesy Enduring Heroes
The Enduring Heroes monument is a tribute to 11 men and women from Greater Pasadena who made the ultimate sacrifice while serving their country in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The Enduring Heroes monument, sculpted by noted local artist Christopher Slatoff, pays permanent tribute to the 11 combat heroes from the Greater Pasadena area, who gave their lives in Iraq and Afghanistan. Each Memorial Day, since the dedication in 2017, many have gathered at the valiant soldier in remembrance of the brave warriors, but clearly 2020 was different.
Respecting the city’s social distancing requirements, visitors honored our Enduring Heroes quietly. Along with a patriotic wreath, each warrior has a banner that hangs along Orange Grove and Green Street, near Defender’s Parkway, through the Fourth of July. The banner for Marine Lance Cpl. Dion Whitley, who was tragically killed in action 15 years ago on June 15, 2005, looks across Orange Grove, standing guard over the Enduring Heroes Soldier. The individual banners will proudly wave again from the anniversary of 9/11 through Veterans Day.
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Telehealth Therapy Enables a Stream of PCDA Services

Photo courtesy PCDA
Professional Child Development Associates therapist Alaina Hogue prepares for a music therapy telehealth session from her home. Like most PCDA therapists she has transformed her in-person therapy methods to a virtual format, ensuring the safety of medically at-risk clients and their families during the pandemic.

Amid the pandemic-generated tumult being confronted by many local nonprofit organizations, there are a few silver linings to be found here and there.
For Professional Child Development Associates, which focuses on family and child health services, the upside of social distancing protocols aimed at combating the spread of COVID-19 has been found in a radical leap to telehealth therapy.
Now, PCDA’s small army of therapists can be found streaming into a family’s kitchen or living room, engaging young children with music, puppets or soothing stories, and lending support to mothers and fathers as well as extended family members who might be isolating with them.
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Pasadena Chamber Organizes Donation Campaign For ‘Food For First Responders’

The Pasadena Chamber of Commerce is raising money through its foundation to purchase meals from local restaurants for delivery to emergency room personnel as well as first responders and urgent care center staff, Chamber CEO Paul Little said. The Food for First Responders effort will deliver fresh food from local restaurants to emergency rooms, urgent care centers and first responders in the local community.
“This is not an original idea,” Little said. “I saw an article in the L.A. Times about a similar effort in Oakland and thought this would be a great way to both help the people on the front lines of the COVID-19 coronavirus response and our local restaurants. It is important for us to let the Emergency Room personnel and everyone who is dealing first-hand with the COVID-19 pandemic understand how much we appreciate them. We are doing this small thing to help them continue with their work.”
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Local Business Pair Donate $50k, Urge Others to Join Effort

As the grim reality of an unraveling economy begins to grip Pasadena, with nearly 20 million Americans filing for unemployment aid since coronavirus precautions have shut down businesses, many local nonprofit organizations have been scrambling to put emergency services into place and ramp up operations to meet the rise in needs, from food insecurity to homelessness to social services.
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Porch Music Spreads Joy in Time of Confinement

OUTLOOK photo
Beong Kim and his wife, Bonnie Wongtrakool, have been putting on weekly porch concerts for their Pasadena neighbors to help spread some cheer during social distancing.

For those strolling the tree-lined knolls surrounding Pasadena during this time of social distancing, you might just happen upon a bit of live classical music, wafting delicately through the air.
It’s not an illusion brought on by cabin fever or a child practicing his instrument, as city Councilmember Andy Wilson initially thought when he first heard neighbor Beong Kim playing his cello out on his front porch.
“I thought I heard live music playing, and assumed some kid was practicing, but then I realized, ‘Hey, that’s not a hack job, that’s really pretty good,’” Wilson laughed.
Toward the end of “confinement, week no. 1,” a certain silence prompted Beong Kim to take up his cello, an instrument he’s played on and off over the years ever since studying music at the Colburn School, years before he decided to pursue law as an academic track.
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City Urges Face Masks, Social Distancing as COVID-19 Cases Grow

With a dramatic rise among Pasadena residents testing positive for COVID-19 this week — totaling 179 cases and 12 deaths associated with the disease as of Tuesday — city officials said they are monitoring social distancing and the use of face masks to try and slow the spread of the virus, as well as continuing to plan for alternate care sites if necessary.
About 47.5% of the confirmed COVID-19 cases were among Pasadena residents 60 years and younger. All the fatalities were of people between 49 and 93 years old, and were associated with long-term care facilities as residents or employees, and had underlying health conditions, the city said in a statement.
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AbilityFirst Supports Clients Working on Front Lines

Photo courtesy AbilityFirst
Rafael Vera just began his new job at Smart & Final when measures to curb the spread of coronavirus hit. Since then, with support from AbilityFirst, he’s been working hard to keep the store stocked.

In recent weeks, grocery store employees have been working harder than ever to accommodate the increased demand triggered by “Safer at Home” policies to slow the spread of coronavirus.
One such employee, Rafael Vera, is a client with AbilityFirst who began his new job at Smart & Final the week the pandemic broke in California and local officials announced measures to encourage residents to stay at home.
Vera, 30, said he is proud to be working on the front lines as a sales clerk and happy to be helping the public during this trying time.
“We’re super busy, it’s hard to determine when exactly it will get very, very busy, but it’s always hectic on the weekends,” said Vera, who’s grown accustomed to wearing a mask and a double layer of gloves to work at the front-end of the store, restocking items and cleaning carts and door handles.
“I try to give people a good experience and brighten up their day; I really enjoy helping people out in general,” he said.
Vera, a Pasadena High School graduate, first came to his job at Smart & Final through the AbilityFirst supported employment program, which gives guidance in building a resume and filling out applications, as well as job training and valuable life skills like time management.
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After Closing Doors, Noor Offers Free Soup to Seniors

Photo courtesy Noor
Noor staff prepares the distribution of its free, community soup recently. The premier events site is giving away vegetarian, hearty soups every Friday from 3-5 p.m. until it can reopen.

There’s nothing quite like soup for the soul, and during time of quarantine and social isolation, that rings true more than ever, Noor owner Robert Shahnazarian and his wife, Maggie, discovered recently.
The owners of the Pasadena-based premier event and wedding venue were recently faced with the painful task of cancelling all planned celebrations at its site and shutting down operations amid the “Safer at Home” order put in place throughout L.A. County and city of Pasadena. Like many small businesses, Noor had to furlough or lay off some employees until further notice, and that act cut deep.
They still had a large order of food perishables for an upcoming, event-filled weekend — before having to shutter its doors — and Shahnazarian eyed the remainder of his dejected staff, standing idly by. He had heard that seniors in the community, already challenged by isolation, were suffering further from food insecurity and social distancing measures, and not able to find what they needed at the grocers due to the massive hoarding seen the first few weeks of COVID-19 fears.
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Officials Brace for Possible COVID-19 Spike, Discuss Care Site Options

Photo by Mitch Lehman / Outlook
Pasadena’s Eaton Canyon Nature Center reported sizable crowds after government announcements directed people to stay home because of coronavirus concerns, but reminding them they could get out and walk.
As of Tuesday, local parks and trails remained open, although nearby cities announced closures due to overcrowding.

As occurrences of the coronavirus surged in Los Angeles County and California this week, local officials announced a doubling of Pasadena cases and expectations of a further increase, and said they are seeking alternate care sites should the patient load outpace the availability of beds as the health crisis worsens.
Huntington Hospital and the city are collaborating with local public health departments, as well as other hospitals, to identify possible sites to treat and quarantine patients, much like the county’s arrangement to use the Sheraton Fairplex Hotel in Pomona should the local health care system become overwhelmed.
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