Tuesday, October 19th, 2010

Looking at where we are today as we strive to make Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Dream a reality, the progress clearly needs to be sped up and intensified. Narconon Professional Drug Prevention has enlisted The Positive Art of Hip Hop to unleash the energy and creativity of youth to battle an increasingly toxic environment that plagues families already oppressed by injustice and oppression.

A decade or so ago, a new phrase entered our language. Children were described as “at-risk youth.” The term referred to students who were at risk of dropping out of schools, succumbing to drugs and/or gangs. It still means that, but today, it is a far greater percentage of youth who fall in this category because of the abundance of drugs, both legal and illegal, the ease of access to drugs, including from medicine cabinets, and the ambivalence that has been expressed regarding the harm that drugs can factually do.

“Ridding communities of the negative effects of substance abuse is a vital component of what we need to do to factually achieve The Dream that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., envisioned decades ago,” says Teddy Chambers, Executive Director of Narconon Professional Drug Prevention and founder of Life Improvement From Education (L.I.F.E.) “A society that fails to guide youth and allow their creative spirit to fall short of the challenges they will face in a world that can be both unjust and oppressive is at serious risk. Drugs and crime invariably roll in where creativity fails to overcome.”

The MLK Anti Drug Kick-Off Event on December 18th enlisted Urban Artists to use their art to help remove the influence of drugs from our communities. The event held at Crewest Gallery, and hosted by well-known LA Urban Artist, Man One, was sponsored by Narconon Professional Drug Prevention, the National Alliance of Faith and Justice and Narconon Western United States.

The winning anti-drug piece was created by Jose Quevedo, a 23-year-old LA urban artist. It will be converted to an original tee and worn by participants in the Kingdom Day Parade, 17th Jan. 2011, to draw attention to the potential of youth art and creativity to overcome the undermining influence of drugs.

If we can create — The Dream can be achieved.” —

It is a message embraced by the artists who competed. Quevedo said when he won the Battle, “Drugs are bad for the thought and for the self. In order to open the mind, you must be free of corruption.”

Chambers says that more than ever, “the creativity of hip hop” is a vital component to making Dr. King’s dream a reality. She said, “We chose to bring LA’s urban artists into the equation for 2011 because we know how important their creativity is to Dr. King’s dream, and we also know that where drugs proliferate, creativity is ruined.”

Battle Winners were:

Jose Quevedo
Grand Prize:$200 and his “Drugs Ruin Creativity” graff piece will be featured in the Kingdom Day 2011 parade.

Cristian Cardenas
2nd prize $150. Cardenas is also a mentoree of Man One

John Zender and Jose Carlos Meraz
tied for 3rd sharing $100

(from left) judges, Gino Montesinos, writer actor, Heidi Lemmon, President National Skateboard Association, Graff Battle Winner, Tony Anguiano, Exec Dir., Narconon Professional Drug Prevention, Teddy Chambers, judge and owner Crewest Gallery, Man One

(left) Gino Montesinos, writer and actor (judge), Heidi Lemmon, President National Skateboard Association (judge), Jose Quevedo, Grand Prize Winner, Teddy Chambers, Exec. Dir. Narconon Professional Drug Prevention, Man One, owner Crewest Gallery (judge).

To see more pictures from the kick-off, click here.