Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Everyday Heroes: Leslie Caroline of the Riversider

RIVERSIDER: Ordinary People. Extraordinary Lives. The Untold Story.

Leslie Caroline believes that when we are informed, we are empowered-- and when we are empowered, we increase the spiritual, political and economic strength of our communities.

How has Leslie given back to the community she grew up in?

Leslie has created Riversider.org, a website launched this past June as a way to honor the city of Riverside, California, where she was raised. Riverside is located 60 miles east of Los Angeles.

The website is a tribute to all those who broke through the barriers of injustice and inequality, created opportunities where none previously existed, and dedicated their lives to making Riverside, California a better place to live.

Leslie states on her website:

"As our local Riverside schools teach history, particularly what is referred to as 'black history', it is imperative children be taught not only about Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Rosa Parks, the March on Selma and the civil rights movement that took place in the south. They should also be taught about the movement that took place in their own backyard."

The Riversider documents Riverside's first families, churches, entrepreneurs, golf legends and 'Beacons of Light' which highlights interesting tidbits, such as the first black citizen of Riverside.

Below are just a few of Riverside's unsung heroes:

Frank Johnson - who sued the city of Riverside in the 1920's for their discriminatory practice of not allowing blacks to swim in all public pools.

Captain Ed Strickland - Riverside's first black fireman who invented the 1 1/2" preconnected hose that is in use all over the country today.

Edward Francis Boyd - a marketing executive who helped break corporate America's color barrier and transform U.S. business.

The website is a labor of love for Leslie and now the citizens of Riverside, particularly black children and youth, know that they have a long, rich legacy of unsung heroes before them that will inspire and instill in them a sense of hope and pride. Kudos to you Leslie!

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