Black History Month: E. W. Wainwright Honored

On February 8, 2003, California State Automobile Association, together with KQED, and the Union Bank of California honored a few of our local heroes. They honored Daniel A. Collins, DDS, who is now eighty-seven years old, and had been a dentist in San Francisco for thirty-three years before he retired. Frances Greene of the Pittsburg Pre-School and Community Council, Inc., brings the senior and children together so they nurture each other. Rae Louis Hayward of the Art of Living Black is an artist in our midst. Elder Raymond D. Lankford, of Healthy Oakland, from the Center of Hope in East Oakland brings hope to a community torn by violence. Deborah R. Pitts, from Alta Bates Summit Medical Center, organizes Youth Bridge which introduces youth to the health care professions; Jason C. Stanford, Alameda County Public Health Department, Black Infant Health, Role of Men, shows the black male what it is like to be a father, and the importance of the role he plays in the life of a child. And, our friend, E. W. Wainwright, African Roots of Jazz Performing Arts Academy.

E. W. Wainwright, renown drummer of our area, was the cover subject of the Jazz Now, March 1992 issue. We know him as our friend who teaches children drums. He runs the music school African Roots of Jazz Performing Arts Academy. But this KQED Black History Month celebrates his contribution in San Quintin, our infamous prison, where Wainwright has been teaching and sharing his knowledge of music with the inmates. When Wainwright came on stage to receive his award, he brought to the audience's attention that the government is cutting the budget on his program. He implored us to contact our representatives on the issue.

When people, human beings, get into trouble, they turn to the Arts for psychological help. That's why Wainwright offers his music to the inmates. Unfortunately, every time there is a budget cut in the government, the Arts suffer. Arts in any form, on every level, is the first to go. We, Jazz Now, in a very small way, support the Arts, and are thrilled that organizations such as KQED has become aware of Wainwright and those others in our art world, will salute them and hopefully give them some financial support.

by Stella Cheung Houston

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