Join WVTC as we celebrate the fusion of arts and transit in Los Angeles...
Meet Me @Metro: Uncovering LA's Hidden Treasures VIP Gala & Pre-Show
Traxx Restaurant @ Union Station
800 North Alameda Street, Ste 122
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Monday, August 6 6-9pm
WVTC's Corporate Tower: Amelia Williamson (President, Magic Johnson Foundation)
Amelia Williamson currently serves as the President for the Magic Johnson Foundation (MJF). In this capacity, Amelia focuses on expanding the foundation's impact in urban communities across the US by providing strategic leadership, direction and oversight. Amelia works collaboratively with the Board of Directors in leading MJF from its current stage to a more mature organization capable of delivering on its long-term vision to cyclically cultivate, inspire and help to achieve self-sufficiency in underserved communities. Amelia is responsible for ensuring that the organization's fiscal, operations, fundraising, marketing, human resource, technology, and programmatic strategies are effectively implemented across all segments of the organization. Prior to her role as President, Amelia was the Vice President where she served as the right hand to the Foundation President, providing critical, high-level support. Amelia’s function areas included administration, corporate fundraising and communications, planning and cultivating new business. In previous years Amelia also oversaw the organization's Taylor Michaels Scholarship program where she matched and exceeded the goals by exploration and strategic cultivation of funding opportunities, and strategic alignments that assured the continued success and growth of the program Amelia has over 10 years experience in the non-profit sector and 5+ years experience developing programs/fundraising for non-profit and faith-based organizations. Apart from her work at the Foundation, Amelia volunteers as the West Coast Director for Imani Corporation, an organization that seeks to maximize the civic and professional potential of young women. Amelia also serves on the board of the Liberty Hill Foundation and as the Chair of affinity group Southern California Blacks in Philanthropy. Amelia holds a bachelor’s degree in mass media communications and a Master’s degree in organizational management with an emphasis in leadership. Committed to the progressive maturation of underserved communities and the belief in giving back, she is excited to be working with the Magic Johnson Foundation. Before embarking on this journey, she served as Director of Public Awareness and Volunteerism for Junior Achievement of Southern California, and Membership manager with the Girl Scouts of America. Amelia resides in Los Angeles, CA with her husband and two children.
WVTC's Civic Tower: Arthur T Leahy (CEO, Metro)
Arthur T. Leahy, 61, one of the nation’s leading transportation executives who started out as a bus driver in Los Angeles 39 years ago, is the Chief Executive Officer of the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro). Metro is the lead transportation planning and programming agency for the county and funds construction of numerous street, highway and transit improvements running the gamut from bike and pedestrian improvements to new busways and rail lines to freeway carpool lanes and sound walls. He has served in the position since April 2009. Prior to Metro, Leahy headed the Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) from 2001 to 2009 where he oversaw the planning, financing and coordination for Orange County’s freeway, street and transit development as well as managed the 12th busiest bus system in the country along with commuter rail, and paratransit services for the disabled, among other transportation programs. Leahy spearheaded such major highway projects as the $550 million widening of the Garden Grove Freeway (SR-22) and the current construction of the Santa Ana Freeway (I-5) in Buena Park. He also directed OCTA’s purchase and operations of the 91 Express Lanes toll road and aggressive work to widen the Riverside Freeway (SR-91), Southern California’s most-congested highway. OCTA bus ridership reached record levels during Leahy’s tenure, and he successfully led voter renewal of Orange County’s Measure M, a $12 billion transportation sales tax measure that will fund a variety of local highway and transit projects. Prior to OCTA, Leahy served as general manager of the transit agency in Minneapolis-St. Paul between 1997 and 2001. Under his leadership, both agencies as well as Leahy, himself, garnered top national transit industry honors. Leahy began his transit career in 1971 driving a bus for the Southern California Rapid Transit District, a predecessor of Metro, while attending college. He worked his way up through the ranks to head operations for Metro, overseeing bus operations and activation of the Metro Blue Line and Metro Red/Purple Line, before taking the Minneapolis chief executive job. Both of Leahy’s parents and his wife and brother worked for Los Angeles public transit agencies, and he started his transit career in Los Angeles almost four decades ago. Leahy earned a bachelor-of-arts degree in political science from California State University, Los Angeles and a master’s degree in public administration from USC. Metro is the third largest public transportation agency in the United States. It has a $3.9 billion annual budget and more than 9,000 employees. It operates approximately 200 bus routes serving a 1,433 square mile service area and five subway and light rail lines that crisscross Los Angeles County. Metro’s total annual bus and rail ridership exceeds 400 million boardings.
WVTC's Community Tower: Sweet Alice Harris (Founder/Executive Director, Parents of Watts)
Sweet Alice Harris is the power behind POW — Parents of Watts, a powerful and positive community force. As a teenager in Detroit, Sweet Alice had her life turned around by a caring family who helped her gain and master the tools to succeed and grow. Since moving to Watts in 1958 to care for her ailing mother, Sweet Alice has offered that same care to her neighbors and their children. As a community activist and now director of POW, Sweet Alice has sought to ease the frictions between the African-American and Latino residents of her community. A witness to the 1965 riots, Sweet Alice and a cadre of volunteers worked out of her house to help rebuild the community. Linking with other civic groups, she formed the Black and Brown Committee, which eventually became Parents of Watts in 1979. Today, POW operates more than 15 programs in eight houses purchased by Sweet Alice. It provides emergency food and shelter, family counseling, tutoring, parenting classes, employment training, literacy courses, college and career preparation, and housing assistance for anyone who needs it.
WVTC's Master of Ceremonies: Jon Cohn (Producer, KPCC's Crawford Family Forum)
Jon Cohn has managed the production of community events and programs in the Crawford Family Forum, KPCC's town hall venue, since its inception in 2009. Originally hired in 2005 to coordinate the Major Gifts Team’s fundraising operations and promotional events, Jon later became the executive coordinator in 2007 to manage the administrative operations, select projects, and events for Southern California Public Radio President Bill Davis. In addition to working in public radio, Cohn is an award-winning stage actor and the founding Artistic Director of Mutineer Theatre Company (a 501c3 organization dedicated to original work). He also serves on the Board of Directors of the Proteus Syndrome Foundation.
WVTC's Celebrity Tower: Allison Iraheta (American Idol)
Allison Iraheta was born in Glendale, California, to Salvadorian immigrants who moved to the United States before she was born. In 2001, she began taking voice lessons with Raphael Enriquez at the Los Angeles Music and Art School, a non-profit community school of the arts in East Los Angeles. Before rising to prominence, she was a frequent performer at the local Latin Electronics Store La Curaçao and the Los Angeles Music and Art School's annual benefit concert, Stars for the Arts. Iraheta attended Los Angeles' Animo Ralph Bunche Charter High School. Prior to Idol, Iraheta won the Telemundo competition Quinceañera: Mamá Quiero Ser Artista. She was the fourth place finalist on the eighth season of American Idol. Following the conclusion of Idol, Iraheta was signed to a record deal with 19 Entertainment and Jive Records. Her debut album Just Like You was released on December 1, 2009.
with special appearances from:
Frenchie Davis (American Idol, The Voice)
Rosie Lee Hooks (Executive Diretor, Watts Towers Arts Center)
Barbara Roberts (Board of Directors, AEA)
Damion "Teeko" Parran (WVTC's Former Managing Director)
and the renowned Mercedes LaRay Trio
Join us in celebrating triumph over adversity and bringing quality arts education to the underserved youth of Watts & South Los Angeles!
see you there,
Watts Village Theater Company Board of Directors:
Karen Lascaris, Chair
Judy Moreland, Vice-Chair
Derrick Everett, Secretary
Farid Ben Amor, Treasurer
Chris Anthony, LA Shakespeare Center
Raquel Cinat, California Emerging Technologies Fund
Victor de la Cruz, Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP
Rosie Lee Hooks, Watts Towers Arts Center
Clifton Johnson, Union Bank
Lynn Manning, Co-Founder
Debra Piver, Center Theatre Group
Bill Rauch, Oregon Shakespeare Festival
Leslie Tamaribuchi, CalArts, Cornerstone Theatre Company
Leo Briones, Centaur North Strategic Communications
Gregory Burks, Youth Opportunity Movement LA
Dolores Chavez, Inner-City Arts
Ricardo Antonio Chavira, Actor, Desperate Housewives
Ernest Dillihay, ACE, LLC
Fred Fate, LA Theater Academy, LA City College
Michael John Garcés, Cornerstone Theater Company
Robert McCobb, PhD, The Christian Food Center
Quentin Drew Memorial Society:
Lynn Manning, Chair
(Beth Peterson's puppet with WVTC's Associate Artistic Direcotr, David Guerra, photo credit: Rick Davitt)
Watts Village Theater Company (WVTC) is a multicultural urban company that seeks to inspire its community with an appreciation of all cultures through new works about contemporary social issues.
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