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Read to Me Festival
75 cents Winston-Salem Greensboro High Poimt Vol. XXVII No. 22
n c room The Choice for African American News
forsyth c.vty pub
660 w 5th st # q ?*???,. imkh^
winston salem nc 27101-2705
BY PAUL COLLINS
About 200 people, including
quite a few students, crowded into
the auditorium at Central Library
last Thursday night to hear for
mer gang member turned poet
and author Luis L. Rodriguez,
author of the award-winning
international best seller "Always
Running La Vida Loca: Gang
Days in L.A."
' Jon Sundale, head of Hispanic
services for Forsyth County Pub
lic Library. introduced
Rodriguez. "Mr. Rodriguez is the
final author of ... our multicultur
al writing project. He has done a
wonderful job. This is his fourth
day of inspiring kids with his life
and with his writing. The power
of writing is very, very important
"He had a very tough child
hood. He grew up in East L.A..
East Los Angeles. He is the son of
immigrant parents from Mexico.
At the age of 11 he joined a gang,
apd by the age of 18. 25 of his
friends were dead from the vio
lence of gang life. He had the
courage and intelligence to leave
that life and begin a new life. He
also had some adults who cared a
great deal about him and who
helped him and encouraged him
to do that.
"He beeame a better father, a
better husband; he began a new
life. That's a ... message to us. Mr.
Rodriguez' message here is not
just for youth and it's not just for
those struggling with gangs and
drugs, it's also a message for the
whole community that if we want
a society where people grow up
well we have to help make sure
"At this point Mr. Rodriguez
is a very well-known author. He
has published six books. He is
known internationally. He has
been on many radio and televi
sion shows. He has won over a
dozen literary prizes, including
the Hispanic Heritage Award.
He's done a great job of connect
ing with the kids."
Rodriguez began by saying. "I
want to say how honored I am to
be here...I've been almost a week
here in Winston-Salem. I've met a
lot of good people and made a lot
of good friends. I'm really hon
ored to be here among you
"For some of you who may
not know. I'wrote this book pri
marily for my son. My son
Ramiro joined a gang in Chicago
when he was 15. So then as a
See Author on A10
Photo by Kevin Walker
hands with one
of his most
Monroe, at Sat
Gaines 'nets' Humanitarian Award from state NAACP
BY T. KEVIN WALKER
Clarence "Bighouse" Gaines was not
in the stands Saturday as his beloved
Winston-Salem State Rams basketball
team beat up on the Johnson C. Smith
His absence was noticeable. Gaines
has been a presence at Ram home games
since he led the team to national promi
nence during 47 seasons as head coach.
He had good reason for missing Sat
urday's showdown. The N.C.NAACP
presented Gaines with one of its highest
honors, the Humanitarian Award.
Gaines received the award at a banquet
at the close of the NAACP's Winter
Conference at the Adam's Mark Win
"I think this is more important (than
being at the game)," Gaines said before
receiving the award. "If somebody
thinks enough of you to think that you
have touched human lives in a positive
manner, that means a lot. That's what
life is about anyway."
Gaines on the sidelines during his
coaching days at W55U.
Presidents and board members from
chapters from the coast to the moun
tains packed the hotel's grand pavilion
for the Humanitarian Award Banquet.
Many made a beeline to Gaines before
the program, telling him of the impact
his work at WSSU had on them and
congratulating him on his honor.
Gaines said he never really consid
ered his coaching as a humanitarian
effort. Sure, he knew that he has had a
hand in shaping the lives of thousands
of students, but Gaines said that was
just part of his job the part that he
Skip Alston, president of the state
NAACP, said Gaines was an obvious
choice for the award.
"He has made outstanding contribu
tions to African Americans throughout
his years as coach at Winston-Salem
State. He has been a role model for all
African Americans throughout this
country and he has done a lot to uplift
African Americans throughout this
country." Alston said.
To many, it was Gaines who put
Set Gaines on All
State NAACP sets agenda for 2001
BY T. KEVIN WALKER
For the first time in 2001, Skip
Alston had the ears of all NAACP
chapter presidents in the state at one
time. The state conference held its annu
al winter meeting at the Adam's Mark
Winston Plaza last weekend. Hundreds
of officials from local chapters made
the trip to Winston-Salem, the first of
three state events that will be held this
Alston, state president of the
NAACP, said the conference gives
chapter presidents an opportunity to
get up to snuff on the latest mandatory
guidelines required by the national
"We want our people to know how
to represent the NAACP in our local
chapters, so we train them to be good
leaders throughout the NAACP organi
zation," Alston said.
The 2001 agenda for the state
NAACP was laid out Friday night.
Alston said. The
main planks of
the agenda are:
ment and political
"We want to
make sure we try
to educate our
community as it
relates to those
See NAACP on A1 1
Organizers have lofty dreams for beauty pageant
First-ever Miss Latina Triad Pageant featured a parade of young
women representing a diverse mix of Latin American nations
BY T. KEVIN WALKER
Growing up in Mexico. Lucy Padilla
was a big Ian of beauty pageants. The ele
gance. the dance numbers, the fashions -
all grabbed Padilla's attention as a young
ster; her attention is still being held hostage
She's not the only one. In a culture big
on pageantry and razzle-dazzle, beauty
contests are a big deal throughout Latin
America, a time to celebrate Latin woman
hood in all its glory.
? Padilla and about a dozen other young
Hispanic women helped to bring the
pageant tradition to the Triad Saturday, as
t-h'ey sashayed, smiled and danced through
the' first ever Miss Latina Triad Pageant.
, "I think this is a good way to meet
other people and to learn about different
Hispanic cultures." Padilla said as she pre
pared for pre-pageanl interviews with the
Eaeh contestant represented her native
land, resulting in a showcase of far-flung
Latin American nations, from Cuba and
the Dominican Republic, to Nicaragua and
?^Guatemala. All the contestants currently
iive in North Carolina, mostly in the Triad
The pageant was spearheaded by His
panos Unidos Media Corp., a Greensboro
based company that publishes a
"We created this pageant to give His
panic young women more of a voice in the
community, not just a presence," said Car
los Solis. publisher of Hispanos Unidos.
Solis envisions one day having a
statewide pageant and even a national con
test. In the Triad and beyond. Solis wants
See Miss Latino on AS
Photo h\ Kevin Walker
Judge Eduardo Espinola talks with two contestants.
Some blacks in the department
unhappy about Davis' decision to
bypass popular assistant chief; Davis
says she has not broken any policies
BY T. KEVIN WALKER
Police Chief Linda Davis' professionalism is being
questioned by some in her ranks after she recently
decided to leave a captain in charge of the depart
ment instead of the department's only assistant police
chief. 27-year veteran Mike
Davis left Capt. Mike Culler
in charge during a period in the
middle of January while she
was out of town. Culler was
promoted to captain by Davis
in November of 1999.
Department officials who
spoke to The Chronicle under
anonymity said that McCoy did
not take the slight well and has
tiled a grievance over the matter Davit
with City Manager Bill Stuart.
McCoy would only confirm last week that Culler
was left in charge instead of him; he would not con
firm whether or not he had taken the matter to Stu
"I can't comment on that at this time," he said.
Davis would not say much
about her decision, citing per
sonnel and privacy issues.
"The decision to leave
(Culler) in charge is one that is
allowed by our policy," she said.
"That's a decision I made in the
best interest of the depart
Davis said she considers a I
number of factors when decid- I
ing whom to leave in charge.
She said she makes the decision cCojr
on a case-by-case basis, taking
into account "efficiency" and who in the department
is working on days she'll be away.
But those who talked to The Chronicle said that
under past chiefs responsibility always fell to one of
the assistant chiefs. Even Davis in the past, they . .id,
assigned duties to either McCoy of Assistant Chief
David Walker, who recently retired from the depart
"It's a double slap in the face because (McCoy) is
not only an assistant chief, but the only assistant chief
at this time." one person said.
McCoy and Davis have been co-workers for
almost the same length of time at the department.
They both served as assistant police chiefs under
Chief George Sweat before Sweat left the department
two years ago.
McCoy was among those who were being consid
ered for the department's top job, but Stuart chose
Davis, despite the fact that she had not applied for the
job and was serving as interim police chief so that
Stuart could fairly and evenly evaluate the candidates
who had applied all of whom were working in the
department at the time.
McCoy said publicly that he was disappointed in
Stuart's method of hiring Davis, but he told The
Chronicle that he would support the new chief vigor
"I want Chief Davis to be successful and I'm
going to do everything I can do to help her be suc
cessful because she is the first female chief that we've
had. I want to see her do well," McCoy said during a
March 1999 interview, shortly after Davis' appoint
Davis, at the time, said McCoy's support made it
easier for her to accept the job as chief.
"We worked very well as a team under Chief
Sweat....Had we not been such a good team before
hand, I might have thought twice about this." she
But the relationship between the two has been
somewhat awkward over the last year or so. insiders
say. especially after McCoy publicly supported three
African-American police sergeants that Davis demot
ed after a sex-filled melee broke out at a concert they
were hired to patrol at Joel Coliseum.
McCoy and other police personnel attended a
Board of Aldermen meeting to support the officers in
their quest to have their demotions overturned. All
three were eventually given back their stripes.
Some inside the department believe that Davis
still holds grudges against those who supported the
officers and retaliated against McCoy by bypassing
See Police chief on A4
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