Youth Empowerment Services (YES)

The YES event was hosted on July 19, 2015 at Oakland’s Humanist Hall. By incredible speakers, and Community Members

Remarkable Laney College President Dr. Elnora T. Webb, keynote speaker. Mr. Orville Ellis, Oakland Unified School teacher, Dr. Marvin X, Professor, Publisher at Black Bird Press, Yolanda Maker, LUTCF, Owner of SOFA Financial Freedom Security Services, INC, Sandra Pitts Johnson, an Alameda County Probation Officer, Ebun Akanke Adesokan, Founder and Principal of Rise Innerprize, LLC, and Paradise Freejahlove, Maser Poet & Performance Artist Supreme.

Dr. Marvin X introduced YES Program with a reading of his Parable of YES. But Marvin’s Parable was no match for the testimony of Laney College President, Dr. Elnora Tina Webb, said she had no prepared speech but she fully support YES and would speak from the heart.

Dr. Webb told how she survived as the child of a 13-year-old mother. She never knew her father; she recalls six foster homeless; was told she was nothing and would never be something, she was trash, garbage, throw away child, yet she persisted to defy all detractors. In high school she was told to forget college prep, go get a job at McDonald’s. The counselor didn’t know she was already working at McDonald’s. But she wanted to go to college because she learned you could get student housing and that was her primary concern since she was 17, almost 18, and would be out of foster care and homeless. But she persisted. She liked math because it was logical, not emotional, i.e., two and two equal four, no debate, no thought, no emotion. So she excelled. A recluse. She participated in drama, sports and other events so no one needed to question her. “Please don’t question me, I have no feelings. I am just trying to survive as a human being who has been treated as nothing.” Imagine how many children have a story similar to Dr. Webb’s, well, their narratives will be similar if they get the support and have the inner strength of Dr. Webb. YES.