2009 Black History Heroes
Charlotte M. Bremond
Inter-School Math Olympics and Bay Area Regional School Scrabble Championship
For more than two decades, Charlotte Bremond has demonstrated her commitment to enriching the lives of young people by instilling an enduring love of learning and an abiding curiosity about mathematics in the world around us. As the coordinator of the Bay Area Regional School Scrabble Championship, Bremond has spent eight years seeking out underserved youth and involving them in an exciting competition meant to establish an appreciation of academic achievement and team building.
The Bay Area Regional School Scrabble Championship benefits the students of Hayward, Palo Alto, Oakland, San Francisco and Brentwood while aiming to send at least two students per year to the corresponding national competition. The experience for the participants is priceless. Surrounded by encouragement and support, students are celebrated for their intellectual contributions and receive constant praise for their academic milestones.
Not content with just one indispensable service to the Bay Area community, Bremond is also the creator of the Oakland Math Olympics, for which she coordinated and hosted annually. This has been a 22-year effort in which over 200 local students participate and gain invaluable insights into their potential for future success. Through the Math Olympics, participants are given the opportunity to foster crucial learning skills and compete at an unprecedented level. Ms. Bremond transformed a notoriously daunting challenge, facilitating mathematics learning in a fun and supportive environment, into an opportunity for students to shine through hard work and discipline.
Coyness L Ennix, Jr., M.D.
Center for Cardiac Surgery
As a Founder and past President of the Bay Area Society of Thoracic Surgeons and a member of numerous medical and surgical associations, Dr. Ennix is board certified in Thoracic and Cardiac surgery and currently practices at Alta Bates Summit Medical Center in Oakland, California. Through his relentless service work, he has received the Honorary National Fellowship of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and was locally recognized as a Frank Jordan Outstanding Citizen of San Francisco.
In addition to his medical duty, Dr. Ennix currently serves on a state panel, the California CABG Outcomes Reporting Program, (CCORP) and the Marcus A. Foster Educational Institute (MAFEI). Through his work with MAFEI, Dr. Ennix has furthered the organization's goal significantly by establishing partnerships and developing resources that create opportunities for Oakland students to fulfill their potential through enhanced learning techniques.
One of the cornerstones of the MAFEI organization is the New Notions program, which awards grants of up to $5,000 to Oakland schoolteachers for the creation of innovative educational approaches. Dr. Ennix's tireless work on behalf of the community's young people has been a vital component to the program's success. Through his local volunteer contributions, Dr. Ennix has harnessed the collective goals of a community and translated them into tangible results that enrich our children's futures.
Walter J. Hood, Jr.
Oakland/San Francisco, CA
Walter Hood's impact on the cities of Oakland and San Francisco is evident in the refurbishment of 10 local parks, including Lafayette Park, and the regeneration of several well known memorials in San Francisco like the Abraham Lincoln Brigade Monument on the Embarcadero, the new de Young Museum gardens and Yerba Buena Lane, which connects Mission and Market Streets in downtown San Francisco.
Through his pioneering work as an "urbanist," Hood has integrated architectural features such as playgrounds, plazas and squares into city sites whose pasts are vibrant but forgotten. By reflecting the shifting cultural composition and respecting the evolving nature of neighborhoods throughout San Francisco and Oakland, he has created an oasis in these areas, and through his close involvement with the local communities, he developed tailored solutions for Bay Area based parks while retaining a cohesive artistic vision. Near Chinatown in Oakland, he created a communal square for women's tai chi practice while adults and children gather year round to take advantage of their newly revived local park.
Hood's upcoming contributions continue to surpass his achievements: he is currently designing a cluster of parks, and biking trails created from old service roads on the city's waterfront. In short, his accomplishments on behalf of Bay Area residents are an immeasurable investment into the regions future.
Hood is also professor and former Chair of the Landscape Architecture Department at the University of California, Berkeley, and principal of Hood Design in Oakland, CA. He has exhibited and lectured on his professional projects and theoretical works nationally and abroad. His work was recently featured in the exhibition and publication while he participated in the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art's "Revelatory Landscapes" Exhibition 2000-2001. He is currently researching and writing a book entitled Urban Landscapes: American Landscape Typologies.
San Jose/Oakland/Las Vegas
Mike Robinson, a.k.a. Big Mike, founded UndaGround Music Xtreme (UGMX) as a result of his lifelong dream to provide a safe and supportive space for young people to showcase their talent while learning the skills necessary to become leaders in their own lives. Drawing on his passion for music at a young age, Robinson parlayed his natural charisma into a tool for connecting with his community. From this experience, his desire to foster artistic talent in an encouraging environment was born. Through UGMX, Robinson implements his vision of instilling structure and support in the lives of young people. The organization has brought together numerous engineers, video cameramen, photographers, graphic designers and producers in an effort to mobilize Bay Area communities through education and a common passion. His guidance enables countless participants to transform their dreams into reality by providing a safe haven for creative sensibilities and a productive forum in which to explore musical talent.
The service Mike Robinson provides through his dedicated work with young people is evident in the renewed sense of hope that UGMX provides the area's youth population. Robinson infuses an entrepreneurial spirit into the work of UGMX, thereby teaching young people of all ages valuable real world skills that will continue to serve them for the rest of their lives, and giving children the gift of self-confidence as they see pride and hope reflected in his guiding hand.
Also on KQED.org this week ...
KQED Summer Fun Adventures
This summer, KQED is partnering with tons of fun places in the Bay Area offering exciting adventures and special savings when you show your MemberCard.
KQED's Hot Summer Days and Night Guide
Our critics pick for the season's best concerts, books, movies, outdoor plays, visual arts and more.