By Ken A. Epstein
County Supervisor Keith Carson commemorated Black History Month this week with a celebration of five outstanding “Future History Makers” whose leadership is making a difference in the community.
“We are here to say thank you to individuals who are contributing each and every day,” said Carson, speaking at Thursday’s reception held at Joyce Gordon Gallery at 406 14th St. in Oakland
Winners of the award, who were also honored by Congresswoman Barbara Lee and Assemblyman Sandre Swanson, were: Patricia Saddler, principal of Longfellow Middle School in Berkeley; Kevin Taylor, principal of McClymonds High School in Oakland; Nola Brantley, executive director of Motivating, Inspiring, Supporting and Serving Sexually Exploited Youth (MISSSEY); Jakada Imani, Executive Director of Ella Baker Center; and Turner Group Construction.
Patricia Saddler served as a teacher and principal in Oakland schools before moving to Berkeley, where she works at Longfellow. U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan honored her school in 2010 for outstanding achievement in math and the impressive percentage of students of color performing at or above grade-level.
Kevin Taylor, an Oakland native, attended Cal State Northridge on a full basketball scholarship, winning recognition as Academic Athlete of the Year. He became principal in 2010 at McClymonds High. He is promoting academic improvement and community involvement at the school, letting the world know that “Mack is Back.”
Nola Brantley, through her work at MISSEEY, coordinates services for commercially sexually exploited and trafficked minors in Alameda County. Her efforts have resulted in increased community awareness and services for victimized children and youth.
Jakada Imani, born and raised in Oakland, served on the staff of Oakland Councilmember Nancy Nadel and at several nonprofit youth groups before finding a home at Ella Baker Center, where he has been executive director since 2007. An experienced youth organizer, he leads Ella Baker’s campaigns for “Books Not Bars,” youth empowerment to “Heal the Streets” and for “Green-Collar Jobs.”
Established in 2005, Turner Group Construction was founded by brothers Len and Lance Turner. As Oakland natives, the company hires local residents and has been involved in many important local commercial and public development projects.