Operation HOPE this week marked the 20th anniversary of the Rodney King Riots by leading a convoy of investors, community leaders, entrepreneurs and government officials on a bus tour through South Los Angeles.
The HOPE Opportunity Bus Tour traveled through the city, giving more than 500 participants an on-the-ground look into how South LA has evolved since the 1992 civil unrest ravaged the community. The tour highlighted the many transformations and successes that Operation HOPE, and other community heroes and sheroes have achieved working together, over the last two decades.
The event began with a welcome reception at the HOPE Financial Dignity Center at La Brea, where participants heard remarks from the following speakers: the Former Chairman Rebuild LA Peter Ueberroth; Rev. Dr. Cecil Murray; Bishop Charles E. Blake, Sr.; Councilman Eric Garcetti; Councilwoman Jan Perry; City Controller Wendy Gruel; Sweet Alice Harris; Ruben Guerra; Hyepin Im; Forescee Hogan Rowles; and Los Angeles Urban League President, Blair Taylor. U.S. Commerce Deputy Secretary Rebecca Blank provided keynote remarks on behalf of the President Obama Administration.
The event, which ultimately sought to tell the story of grassroots community success, also coincided with the 20th anniversary of Operation HOPE, which was founded in the aftermath of the Rodney King verdict in 1992 with the goal of making financial dignity relevant to all people through a movement for “silver rights.”
Along the tour, participants stopped at Quincy Jones Elementary School where Operation HOPE Founder John Hope Bryant joined Music Legend Quincy Jones, Actor/Singer Tyrese, LA Mayor Antonio Villeragosa and Civil Rights icon Andrew young to unveil the new “Quincy Jones Celebrity Edition” of the Banking on Our Future Financial Literacy curriculum.
For the last 20 years, HOPE has been cultivating financial literacy tools to empower underserved communities, and this new edition adds the mentorship of Quincy Jones, as a foundation through which students can learn how financial issues translate to real world experiences.
The curriculum is based on Jones’ personal experiences with money management; the lessons will inspire and empower students to control their own financial futures, giving them a deeper understanding of the language of money.
“The Banking on Our Future’s curriculum has educated over 600,000 people already,” said Quincy Jones, as he presented the curriculum to the first two schools to receive it–Quincy Jones Elementary and Synergy Charter Academy. “It’s our goal that this inaugural issue will further empower youth with financial literacy; that’s our best weapon to ensure that young people in our underserved communities have their shot at the American Dream.”
Jones becomes the first celebrity in what will be a series of specialized curriculum to have his life’s story woven into HOPE financial literacy curriculum.
The Bus Tour also highlighted Downtown’s LA Live entertainment complex. LA Live is home to housing and entertainment facilities and is situated in the heart of downtown Los Angeles. Developed with the help of taxpayers and AEG and other developers, the complex reflects a thriving area in the heart of downtown LA.
The tour was rounded out when attendees had the opportunity to participate in a special listening and action meeting hosted by the President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness at The West Angeles Church of God In Christ (COGIC).
At the session, participants were able to convey recommendations on the economy and jobs and make recommendations to President Obama directly to the Council’s Executive Director Don Graves. Along with Graves, panelists included Committee Member Monica Lozano, CEO of La Opinion, Operation HOPE’s Founder, Chairman and CEO John Hope Bryant and HOPE Global Spokesperson Ambassador Andrew Young. The panel discussion was led by Lozano. Greg Good, a representative on behalf of Council Member Richard Trumpka also attended.
The HOPE Opportunity Bus Tour was the first of several events that HOPE is facilitating this year to mark 20 years of progress and to help develop an agenda for the promising future. See media from the bus tour and learn more about future events at http://20years.operationhope.org
Among the invaluable corporate partners supporting Operation HOPE and the Bus Tour were Signature Sponsors: Bank of America, Toyota, Union Bank and Wells Fargo, Gold Sponsors include: Bank of the West, Comerica, JP Morgan Chase, and US Bank, along with Silver Sponsors: Cathay Bank and CoreLogic. These alliances demonstrate the strong resonance that the cause of economic empowerment and “silver rights” have had with a variety of stakeholders – from the C-Suite to church pews to community action organizations – all across the country.
Over the years, many organizations like Rebuild Los Angeles, which was led by Bus Tour co-chair Peter Ueberroth, have worked shoulder-to-shoulder with Operation HOPE to build the critical infrastructure that is responsible for today’s success stories. Rebuild Los Angeles was responsible for raising and securing commitments of almost $800 million in private sector investment to directly impact underserved communities. This story of innovative, productive public-private partnership has been told many times over during the last two decades of HOPE.