UAV graduate’s persistence brought him a degree of justice
Single father makes history
LANCASTER, Calif.—Gerald Brown made history when he became the first University of Antelope Valley graduate to obtain a master’s degree at the school. The graduate of the criminal justice program walked across the stage on June 24 to unexpected praise and adoration of his peers, undergraduates and their families.
“I’ve had a number of African American students come up to me who have told me how proud they are of me,” he reflected. “They’ve told me how they kind of changed their way … and how motivated they are to obtain the goal they are going after. I feel a sense of pride and a sense of responsibility.”
Raised in South Central Los Angeles, the oldest of seven siblings, two of which are biological and the remainder adopted, Brown understands the power of education and knew what it would take to make a better life for himself. In high school he set three possible goals: join the fire department, join the Army, or play football.
He tried out for football as an undergraduate computer science major at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va., but did not make the team,
After battling through a few courses, Brown realized his future was taking a different path and it was time for him to move on to a different school with a different program. He eventually graduated from Quincy University in Quincy, Ill., majoring in criminal justice.
Ironically, his peers who went to college to study law enforcement but dropped out were able to quickly find work and make successful careers in their field. But Brown, even with a degree, could not land on the platform of his choice.
Eventually, he entered an emergency medical technician program and worked as an ambulance technician for 10 years. In the meantime, he applied to law enforcement and emergency services fields, including the fire department.
After being hired for the fire department, Brown had to endure “a vindictive superior.”
"I had bad luck with one of the [superiors]. He basically didn’t like me. I had a calm, relaxed demeanor,” Brown reminisced, explaining that rookie firefighters have a tendency to be overzealous and a bit high strung. “He didn’t like me… He didn’t like the way I was getting trained so he took it out on me.”
Brown said he was hit with a constant flow of bad evaluations, despite his high level of performance and steady improvement. So he went back to being an emergency medical technician.
As the economy slipped in 2008, so did Brown’s marriage. A year later he joined the Army National Guard.
After completing basic training, he made the decision to go back to school at age 31 with three young children.
Brown said some of the major challenges he had while going through the program were “staying focused, staying determined. I didn’t have a job when I started the process. I had to have the motivation to get [to school] instead of hanging out,” he said. “Some job opportunities came about that would have kept me from going to school.”
Brown said incorporating his three energetic children into his studies was a big help.
“Depending on how you raise them, [children] can be a very beneficial tool. They are curious to know what you are studying. So they asked me questions and I would answer them like I would if I were taking a test. I recalled answers for exams because of [my children].”
But there were also times when play time and attention would conflict with studies. However, Brown made sure to schedule his time carefully.
Overall, returning to school was no easy task for the dad. His motivation was primarily being a good example and role model for his children, especially after the divorce. Reaching his goals and enhancing his life have given Brown a stronger sense of accomplishment and pride.
Now, inspired to reach higher heights in his career and life, he plans to eventually join the faculty at UAV.
To other parents, he says: “If going back to school was ever a goal, it should never leave you as a goal. I believe you are where you are because you choose to be. If it is 10 years or two years from the point [where] you set your goal, you should reach for it.”
Although Women’s History Month has its roots in a labor movement that took place in March 1857, when female factory workers in New York staged protests over working conditions, today working conditions for women have changed considerably, and there are a significant number of women CEOs and business owners in the workplace.
A February 2013 report from the U.S. Department of Commerce shows that as of 2007, women owned 7.8 million businesses, and revenues from those businesses were a staggering $1.2 trillion.
A Place Called Home is a safe haven in South Central Los Angeles where underserved youth are empowered to take ownership of the quality and direction of their lives through programs in education, arts, and well-being; and are inspired to make a meaningful difference in their community and the world.
The nonprofit provides educational programs, counseling, mentoring, music, dance, art classes and a recreation and athletic department.
LANCASTER, Calif.—Nine candidates, including incumbents R. Rex Parris, Sandra Johnson and Ken Mann, have thrown their hats into the ring for open seats in the city government, and this will be the first election under the new Lancaster city charter.
The election is April 10. Two City Council seats and the mayor’s slot are open. In order to win office, a candidate must garner the majority of votes cast. The winners will be sworn-in on April 24.
The transition of the American military into a co-ed fighting force has brought with it the growing pains expected in such a large undertaking, and along the way has produced such notable humiliations as the Navy Tail-hook scandal of 1991, sexual assaults on women at the Army’s Aberdeen Proving Ground in 1996 and at the Air Force Academy in 2003.
Photojournalist Guy Crowder died Sunday of pneumonia, days after suffering a stroke. He was 72.
Crowder got his start photographing South Central Los Angeles in the early 1960s, shooting high school football games, church events and ribbon-cutting ceremonies.
Despite his skill and ease at moving inside of the inner circles of the movers and shakers of the Black community, no mainstream publications were willing to hire the budding photographer due to heavy discrimination at the time.