Members of the Los Angeles Urban League and 29 Crenshaw students who are part of the organization’s China Initiative program gathered at a press conference at City Hall regarding their upcoming trip to China. The students will share African American culture with students at Beijing’s Renmin University.
In addition, a brief presentation about the 10-day trip was made during a Los Angeles City Council meeting. Both events occurred on Friday.
The purpose of the trip is to forge and cultivate a strong relationship with China, according to the Urban League.
“Now is the time to foster innovative collaborations within leadership, business and educational sectors of the international community,” said Blair Taylor, League president.
The Crenshaw High School students have been working hard to gear up for their trip. They include members of the Crenshaw Elite Choir and carefully selected delegates and ambassadors of the program.
The corporate sponsors of the cultural exchange program include Starbucks (represented by Kimberley Thompson), UPS (represented by Noel Massie), Mattel Inc., which gave $50,000 and American Airlines which donated flights. The sponsors are making it possible for the students to strengthen their networking skills and gain a broader understanding of the global economy.
Expenses for the trip are completely covered. In addition, each student will receive luggage, a backpack, an iPad 2 and various other items.
To aid their presentations, the students will be presenting a portion of the Bernard and Shirley Kinsey art collection to university students in Shanghai and Beijing. The Kinsey collection is an exhibition of several historical art pieces by various African American artists. The collection represents the cultural heritage of African Americans, from the 1600s to the present.
The Kinsey collection has become much more than was intended in the beginning. The couple’s original purpose for collecting was to cherish and share their travel experiences, but over time it evolved into the story of African American culture and life in general. It has also developed into a way of highlighting African American history and bringing it to life.
The students, having put in weeks of hard work to be prepared, expressed excitement about their departure on July 14. Their devotion was exemplified in their attendance at the meetings, essays and presentations.
“My personal objectives for this trip are to gain a better understanding of the global economy, international business and to experience the different cultures,” said Jahnae Miller, one of the leading delegates of the Crenshaw to China initiative program. She and her colleagues are the top students of Crenshaw High School. There was little doubt that she and the other students would be great representatives of Crenshaw High School, Los Angeles and the African American community in China.