Award-Winning Author of “Almost White”, Rick Najera &
Oscar-Nominated Edward James Olmos Lead Discussion on
“The Absence of African Americans and Latinos in 
Higher Education” 


 – Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science (CDU) presents the first annual Presidents Breakfast featuring comedian and award-winning author of Almost White, Rick Najera leading the discussion on, “The Absence of Latinos and African Americans in Higher Education,” with Oscar-nominated actor Edward James Olmos as keynote speaker.  The presentation will take place on February 11th at 9:00 AM as part of a series of events celebrating the university’s 50th year anniversary.
“Education is the most crucial issue in America today.  Education versus incarceration will decide our nation‘s future.”  Author Victor Hugo said it best, “He who opens a school door, closes a prison.”
“Simply put, its all about opportunity and hope and investing in our future,” said Najera, nationally acclaimed speaker and award-winning writer-performer-director-producer.  “That is why our Latino Thought Makers program is so important, so that I can partner with other influencers like my good friend Edward James Olmos and others, to discuss important topics such as diversity in education.  We are at a critical point in the narrative of our great nation where diversity in education must be achieved.  We must work to see increased diversity in the top academic achievers, increased diversity in the faculty so that they more closely represent the students, and an increase in the diversity of ideas in higher education.  If we do these simple things, then our future leaders will be in a position to compete in a world that is rapidly changing.”
As a pioneer in entertainment and a key media influencer, Najeras range of talent ranges from screenwriting for television and feature films to directing sketch comedy and acclaimed theatrical stage performances to professional speaking at the largest and most prestigious corporations, organizations and universities in the country.
In addition to the keynote conversation between Najera and Olmos, the President’s Breakfast will host a reaction panel moderated by David M.Carlisle, MD, PhD, President and CEO, Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science.  Other Los Angeles University Leaders on the panel include Clarence H. Braddock III, MD, MPH, MACP, Vice Dean of Education, Chief Medical Education Officer, UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine, Mildred Garcia, Ed.D, President, California State University Fullerton, Steve O. Michael, PhD, Executive Vice President of Academic Affairs and Provost, Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science, Luis Pedraja, PhD, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, Antioch University and Francisco Rodriguez, PhD, Chancellor, Los Angeles Community College District.
The Presidents Breakfast will take place at the Renaissance Los Angeles Airport Hotel located at 9620 Airport Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90045
Tickets for the Presidents Breakfast are $125. To purchase tickets online, please visit: https://donate.cdrewu.edu/event-tickets-custom.asp
To purchase tickets over the phone or for further questions, please contact the Office of Strategic Advancement at 323.357.3669 or via email at: advancement@cdrewu.edu
For more information about Rick Najera, please visit www.ricknajera.com
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