LEIMERT PARK — Several hundred people came out early Sept. 30 to take part in the United Negro College Fund Los Angeles 2017 Walk for Education in Leimert Park Village.
Walkers and runners of all ages participated in the annual five kilometer walk that also featured activities that included play rompers for kids, musical entertainment and local vendors shelling out free gifts.
According to numbers provided on its website, there are 37 participating historically black colleges and universities that the United Negro College Fund supports. Each year as many as 60,000 students at these schools reap the benefit from money raised nationally. One of the primary sponsors of the event was Inglewood-based radio station KJLH, which has had a long-standing partnership with UNCF.
“KJLH had to be here to represent,” KJLH radio personality Adai Lamar said. “We have worked closely with UNCF for quite some time. They are our beloved partner, and we just think it’s a labor of love whenever we work with them.
“Our young people are so important, so important that they see us as an example, not just donating money but getting out here and doing the actual hard work, doing the walking and letting them know how important they are to us, how important their education is to us.
“So anytime that we can work with UNCF and pushing their mission and their efforts, we are always going to stand side-by-side with UNCF,” Lamar added.
When it comes to what UNCF mean to hundreds of thousands of young people, Lamar had a simple and effusive reply.
“Hope,” Lamar said. “It is giving young people who have dreams, who have aspirations, who are inspired by others, hope that they can make whatever they want of themselves possible. With every donation, every person working together, it’s just hope for our young people.”
UPS Western Region Community Affairs Manager George Gibbs has identified with UNCF’s mission, both corporately and personally, to help young African Americans get an education for three decades His wife attended an historically black college and universities as well as two of his daughters.
“For UNCF, this is one of our signature events throughout the year,” Gibbs said. “This one is very important. It brings the community together. That’s the important thing; bringing the community together, making people aware of the importance of an education and an education of young, black minds. It’s second to none for us.”