USC Marshall’s ‘Sport Your Stache’ Supports A Better LA

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This past weekend, USC Marshall students hosted one of the more eclectic events to benefit A Better LA. With the students challenged to raise $10,000 over 20 days, their strategy professor Carl Voigt agreed to shave his 40-year old mustache if they succeeded.

The ‘Sport Your Stache’ flash fundraiser asked donors to pledge $40—a dollar per year of their professor’s signature mustache. Not only did the business students make good on their promise, but did so in 11 days, with over 200 people contributing to the cause.

We joined them at Q’s Billiards to celebrate the ceremonial ‘stache shaving, where Professor Voigt graciously allowed the group to claim their prize. Needless to say, we are grateful to have been the benefactor of this creative campaign, and know that Professor Voigt will see a great ROI from this fun event! A big thank you to USC Marshall and Professor Voigt!

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Protesting 101

Protesting 101

In lieu of recents events surrounding the Ferguson proceedings in Missouri and other protests being conducted across the country, the University of Southern California facilitated a forum sponsored by Project ReMix, the Department of Public Safety, Los Angeles Police Department, and California Highway Patrol to address concerns from students and community members regarding the proper procedures of holding protests, entitled Protesting 101. A Better LA’s Executive Director, Aquil Basheer, was invited to be a panelist and answer questions from the audience as his expertise as a Professional Street Practitioner was an asset to the theme of the event. The objective for the evening was to create a venue to educate those in attendance of their rights as citizens and for all to walk away with a clearer understanding of how to curtail law enforcement's involvement when conducting protests  This interactive workshop allowed participants to learn about the history and purpose of protesting, have their questions answered by panelists, and hear from DPS, CHP and LAPD from a Law Enforcement perspective. This event demonstrates another successful collaborative approach to addressing societal concerns!

RACE’s Executive Director, Reynaldo Reaser, Invited as a Panelist for the 23rd Annual Empowerment Congress Summit

R.A.C.E’s Executive Director, Reynaldo Reaser

R.A.C.E’s Executive Director, Reynaldo Reaser

Summit Panel Presenters Addressing Audience

Summit Panel Presenters Addressing Audience

A Better LA's own Funded Partner and Founder of R.A.C.E. (Reclaiming America’s Communities through Empowerment), Reynaldo Reaser, was invited to participate as a speaker at their yearly Summit. The event was held this year at the University of Southern California this past January 17, 2015 and included acclaimed author, educator and speaker, Dr. Cornel West, as the Keynote Speaker. Reynaldo was requested to speak on the panel discussion of “Violence as a Public Health Issue: Shifting the Focus from Criminal Justice to Social Justice” and did an outstanding job of presenting during this forum. We salute you Reynaldo and R.A.C.E for the professionalism continuously displayed and for shedding light on this important community topic!

A Better LA Lends Expertise to National Council on Crime and Delinquency

Our Executive Director will be participating as an Advisor to the NCCD’s Most Current Research Team convening on the topic of "Girls and Gangs: Improving our Understanding and Ability to Respond.” The National Council on Crime and Delinquency (NCCD), with funding from the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, is initiating the largest quantitative research project on gang- involved girls to date. The two-year study will look at girls’ desistance from gang affiliation and gang involvement. NCCD is examining the individual, family, and community factors involved in girls’ desistance from gangs and gang-related crime. The project has six goals:

1) Identify the role of girls in gangs and their level of participation in gangs;
2) Identify the characteristics of gangs that allow for or encourage girls’ participation; Identify what inspires girls to leave gangs;
3) Identify common methods or strategies used by girls to leave gangs;
4) Identify protective factors that facilitate gang desistance; and
5) Provide service providers with useful information on girls’ ability to leave gangs.

We will have updates to article once findings of research have concluded. You may view more information about the National Council on Crime and Delinquency on their website.

Solidifying ABLA as Setting the Standard for Community Gang Violence Intervention/Prevention Efforts

A Better LA was chosen this year to lend its expertise for a yearly Violence Campaign headed by media planet and in conjunction with major news outlets (media and print) nationwide! One of their main objectives was to cast light on Community Violence more specifically gang violence and how it’s affecting communities all over the U.S. The article that was requested of our Executive Director, Aquil Basheer, was to give a general overview of Gang Violence and some of the hardships that the workers on the ground encounter while intervening in dangerous situations. The editors initially suggested we write three articles and one would be chosen from those, but the information was so valuable, their editor decided to utilize all three written, giving us a good amount of input towards this campaign. Through The Los Angeles Times, targeted distribution and endless online/social media outlets, this publication, both in print and digitally, will reach around 20 million readers.

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For more information, take a look at the article on Violence Prevention News by our Executive Director, Aquil Basheer.