2020 Kwanzaa Joy Celebration
NIA | Purpose
Training consultant, K-Rahn Vallatine, works with school teachers, psychologists, and other youth service professionals to strengthen their insight and skillset in trauma informed youth engagement. Throughout the years, Vallatine has served as a school teacher, sat on a charter school’s Board of Directors, and has years of experience working in Los Angeles’ juvenile halls and juvenile detention camps.
Coming from many of the same social norms as the youth he engages, Vallatine is the developer of the Live Above The Hype Hip Hop Life Skills Curriculum™ and the author of “Beyond the Crack Generation: Surviving a Trauma Organized Culture.” He also has led as the training manager for a nationally recognized education management non-profit that operates accredited charter schools and programs for adults and transitional-aged youth (TAY) at over 100 locations across California. He has presented at various state, national, and international conferences and has conducted university lectures and professional developments for several hundred youth service professionals. He has also served on the steering committee for the Los Angeles Trauma Informed Taskforce. Vallatine has been called “a brilliant analyst of cultural issues that affect teen perceptions of themselves and their sense of power.”
KUJICHAGULIA | Self-Determination
Daryl Russell Grigsby
Born in Washington, D.C., Daryl Grigsby is a writer, Negro Leagues historian, and community activist. He is the author of “Celebrating Ourselves: African-Americans and the Promise of Baseball,” which examines how baseball is intricately woven in the fabric of African-American family, social, and political life. Grigsby is founder and first President of San Diego African-American Writers & Artists, and recently retired as Public Works Director for the City of San Luis Obispo and the City of Pomona before that.
UMOJA | Unity
Cobb credits Reuben Silver with his start in acting at the African American Performing Arts Center and Karamu House Theatre in Cleveland Ohio. His first professional acting role was in Ride a Black Horse at the Negro Ensemble Company.
Cobbs was in Vegetable Soup (1976), a New York public television educational series, and he made his feature film debut in The Taking of Pelham One Two Three in 1974. Cobbs has an extensive film career and has appeared and been a regular on many television programs. In 2006, Cobbs played a supporting role in Night at the Museum as Reginald, a security guard on the verge of retirement. He played basketball coach and retired basketball player Arthur Chaney in Disney’s Air Bud and Medgar Evers’ older brother Charles Evers in Rob Reiner’s Ghosts of Mississippi. He had a role in the Coen Brothers’ The Hudsucker Proxy and played fictional jazz pianist Del Paxton in Tom Hanks’ That Thing You Do. In 2013, Cobbs costarred in Oz the Great and Powerful as the Master Tinker, and in late 2014 reprised his role of Reginald in Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb. This year, he was awarded a Daytime Emmy for his role in Dino Dana: The Movie.
UJIMA | Collective Work and Responsibility
Kyoni Cummings & Michelle McFarland
Kyoni Cummings and her mother, Michelle McFarland, are both mental health advocates within Los Angeles and the Pomona Valley. Kyoni is currently the Education Coordinator for the NAMI Pomona Valley. The Pomona Valley affiliate of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI Pomona Valley) is a nonprofit California corporation serving Pomona Valley and the surrounding communities, and dedicated to improving the quality of life for people affected by mental illness and their loved ones through support, education, and advocacy. NAMI is the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to building better lives for the millions of Americans affected by mental illness.
UJAMAA | Cooperative Economics
Kiana Webb is a five restaurant franchisee in Southern California and currently maintains a position as President and Chief Operating Officer of Webb Family Enterprises. Kiana attended the University of San Francisco on a basketball scholarship and graduated in 2000. Although she received a Business Administration degree with an emphasis in Hospitality Management, she did not immediately jump into the family business. After college Kiana worked as an Assistant Buyer for Tall Etc. and it wasn’t until February of 2001 that she decided to join her parent’s organization Indian Hill management and the McDonald’s “Next Generation.” In 2005 Kiana became an approved owner operator and purchased her first store in 2007. Currently Webb Family Enterprises owns and operates 16 McDonald’s.
Within the McDonald’s system, Kiana aims to create an environment where each person (both crew and customer) feels valued and appreciated. Passionate about her community and the chance to give back to those within it Kiana is currently a member of Soroptimist International, Chairperson for the board of “The Child Development Center”, association member of LA County Fair, President of the local Black McDonald’s Owner Association (BMOA), and serves on the national service and the Next Generation Global Advisory Council. Other passions include working with Crossroads Inc., an organization that creates employment opportunities for formerly incarcerated women wanting to get back on their feet.
KUUMBA | Creativity
William Bissic is a High School business teacher at the School of Arts and Enterprise (SAE) during the day, but has recently launched Vital Pomona, along with his wife, in the Downtown Pomona Arts Colony. Vital Pomona is a general/gift store and community space featuring a curated blend of goods, highlighting local Pomona Valley makers/artists. Vital Pomona is a space that celebrates the exchange of gifts in all their many forms, whether it’s the gift of an inclusive space to hang out, a place to find the perfect gift for someone, or a place you’ll come to share your gifts of talent with others. It’s more than a retail store, it doubles as a community space where you’ll find workshops, events, meeting space, and good people. Daily, people visit to hang out, study, grab a snack or a tea, grab a birthday gift, take meetings…etc. On the weekends you might catch an art show, a music showcase, or a cool workshop. He also runs an after school mentorship program for some of his students and has been a gifted musician and poet for many years.
Khalif & Vikki Rasshan
The African American Museum of Beginnings opened its doors April of 2011. The founders, Khalif and Vikki Rasshan retired from the Pomona Unified School District after 37 years of teaching. The African American Museum of Beginnings has been called, “a community cultural history and arts museum… where humanity is welcomed home.” Since its opening in 2011, the AAMB continues to move its mission forward by offering a permanent exhibit reflecting African American history, life, and education.
Karamu | Kwanzaa Feast
Brandi has been cooking for many years, even baking in High School to save up enough money to purchase her first car. Owner of JoJo’s Dozen and Brandislife, she caters private events and gatherings throughout the country. She spends most days creating healthy organic meals for those in transitional housing from recent incarceration in Los Angeles.
Mayor Tim Sandoval
Tim Sandoval moved to Pomona when he was just nine years old. Even as a child, he knew that a community as richly diverse as Pomona was capable of amazing things. As Pomona High’s class speaker, he defended the character of the school and the surrounding community in an impassioned year-end speech. He attended Montvue Elementary, Emerson Middle School, and Pomona High School before finishing his education at University of California, Riverside.
After graduating, Tim returned to Pomona to help others in our community to access college as well. He led Pomona Valley Community Development Center’s youth programs, then taught English at a nearby school. In 2001, Tim became a founding member of Bright Prospect, a mentoring organization that has helped more than two thousand at-risk youth become part of the first generation of their family to complete their Bachelor’s degrees. Many of these youth come to share Tim’s passion for Pomona, returning after college to give back to the community.
In 2016, Tim was elected as Pomona’s Mayor, garnering 63% of the vote, and was reelected in 2020 to serve another term. Since his election, he has championed legislation aimed at inclusiveness, environmental sustainability, and fiscal responsibility. He has exhibited caring leadership, championing the needs and concerns of those most vulnerable in our community. He has restored Pomona’s leadership role in Southern California, leading numerous regional boards and commissions. Most importantly, he has provided a steady hand, guiding our city during the COVID-19 crisis, providing factual information, access to critical resources, and taking action to protect the health, safety, and economy of our city. He is currently the Chair of the Metro Gold Line Foothill Extension Construction Authority. He recently brought together over twenty African American community leaders to create the African American Advisory Alliance (4As).