Archive for February, 2013

Remembering Dr. D’s 5th Year Death Anniversary

February 21, 2013
It was 5 years ago today that former students of the late Dr. John Alfred Dennis, Jr., and the community of Saint Mary’s College of CA gathered for a memorial Mass at Saint Mary’s Chapel. Dr. John A. Dennis, Jr., affectionately known as Dr. D, was murdered by one of his former mentees on February 9, 2008 in Oakland, CA.
Former students of Dr. D. came from around the nation to pay respects to not only one of the greatest teachers to ever lived but one of the most amazing human beings.
Dr. D. was not just a professor but he was the father figure that many of us didn’t have or the father figure that we had hoped for. He never had children of his own but his students were his sons and daughters. Dr. D. was no ordinary professor. He was a man with a profound calling to educate men and women from all walks of life especially from humble beginnings.
Saint Mary’s College is a Lasallian institution where the Christian Brothers are inspired by the life of Saint John Baptist De La Salle, a priest and educational reformer who dedicated his life to teaching the poorest of the poor in France. St. John Baptist De La Salle is the patron saint of teachers. If there was anyone who emulated St. John Baptist De La Salle it was Dr. D. He was our version of De La Salle.
Dr. D was a man who wasn’t just satisfied with teaching at Saint Mary’s College but he also taught courses at City College of San Francisco, Edward Shans Adult School in East Oakland, and was a lay chaplain in the San Francisco jails where on the weekends he would do prison ministry. Dr. D. was studying to become a deacon in 2008.
There is so much more that I can write about the amazing individual that Dr. D was but words won’t do him any justice. He was truly a disciple of Christ. A man who lived out his calling of educating men and women. A man with a beautiful smile and dancing moves that would make you want to dance or just stare at him and laugh.
I invite those who had the honor of getting to know Dr. D. to share your stories of Dr. D. below.
I am adding these two videos of Earth, Wind and Fire and Heat Wave as I remember Dr. D “getting down” on the dance floor. Enjoy.

The following two videos are songs from my favorite artist, Victor Jara. I like to pay tribute to Dr. D with these two amazing songs.

I miss you Dr. D!!!

Love you, Dr. D!!
Here are previous blogs I wrote about Dr. D. Feel free to read them.

Roberto Clemente was signed by the Dodgers on this date

February 20, 2013



On February 19, 1954, The Brooklyn Dodgers signed Roberto Clemente to a Minor League contract to play for their Triple A team, the Montreal Royals. Given that Clemente was an outfielder and the Dodgers outfield at the time was loaded, Roberto Clemente’s chances of playing for the Brooklyn Dodgers looked slim.
It didn’t help either that he wasn’t getting a lot of playing time in the Minor Leagues. Some people speculate that the Dodgers were trying to hide him from the Rule 5 draft later that year.
Clyde Sukeforth, a baseball scout for the Pittsburgh Pirates observed that Clemente was being bench and encouraged the Pirates to draft him. On November 22, 1954, the Pittsburgh Pirates selected Roberto Clemente in the Rookie Draft and the rest is history. Roberto Clemente would go on to play his entire baseball career with the Pittsburgh Pirates.
I can only imagine if Clemente would have stayed with the Montreal Royals and promoted to play with the Brooklyn Dodgers. It would have been nice to see Jackie Robinson and Roberto Clemente play on the same field as teammates. WOW, that would have been beautiful!


The picture above is from my Clemente baseball jersey. That is Roberto Clemente in his Montreal Royals uniform. Here is a more detail blog I wrote about Roberto Clemente a couple years ago. Check it out:





Remembering Nelson Mandela’s release from Prison

February 12, 2013
23 years ago today, Nelson “Madiba” Mandela was released from Robben Island after 27 years of imprisonment for his involvement in fighting the apartheid government in South Africa. Here is a video of his release from Robben Island, a place that I was fortunate to visit during the time I was in Cape Town in 2000.
As I watch the video, I am reflecting of my stay in Cape Town, South Africa. I was in Cape Town when South Africans were celebrating the 10 year anniversary of his release. Looking back, South Africa was barely 6 years old into the “new” South Africa. Mandela’s presidency had terminated in 1999 and Thabo Mbeki was new South African President taking office in June of 1999. As I look back, it really brings me joy that I was able to live for 6 months in a “new” South Africa.

Here is a song by Hugh Masakela that is one of my songs. Enjoy!

Remembering the 45th Anniversary of the Orangeburg Massacre

February 9, 2013
45 years ago today in Orangeburg, South Carolina, a crowd of African American college students gathered on the campus of South Carolina State University to protest segregation at All Star’s bowling alley, Orangeburg’s only bowling alley. A lot of police arrived on the scene and quickly tensions escalated, and police officers opened fire into the crowd of students. When it was all over three college students were dead and twenty-seven wounded.
Here are couple videos that talk more about the Orangeburg Massacre.

LA CAN Releases Short Documentary on the Historic Operation Skid Row Festival

February 7, 2013

It’s time to break bread and SHARE THE WEALTH!!

February 7, 2013
That is the title of an artilce that people will find in the Community Connection. I am attaching the pdf version here. In the issue, one can read up on various issues going on in and around downtown L.A. One can check out the article about Public Housing residents submitting hundreds of postcards to HACLA’s  (Housing Authority for the City of Lost Angels) board demanding an end to trash fees, Hunger Action L.A. demanding an end to the criminalization of food providers, vendors and urban gardeners along with my report back from the 10th annual Homeless World Cup that was held in Mexico City this past October. These and several more articles can be found here:

Google pays tribute to Jackie Robinson

February 1, 2013

As a Jackie Robinson fan, I am happy to see that Google has paid tribute to Jackie by remembering his birthday. He would have been 94 years old today. Happy birthday, Jackie!

I hope people will honor this revolutionary with his own holiday. Jackie deserves that and much more. April 15 is already known in baseball circles as Jackie Robinson day. While many other Americans think taxes on April 15, it would be nice if down the future, we can observe that day as Jackie Robinson Community Service Day. Jackie was a very humble human being. I am sure if there ever was a national day to honor him, he would have wished that we dedicate that day to serving our fellow human beings.

May the legacy of Jackie continue to live in our hearts as we remember his birthday.



Jackie Robinson's 94th Birthday