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By Jamauri Bowles              Follow East Palo Alto Today on
East Palo Alto Today                        Facebook    Twitter         Blog    
Friday, August 23, 2013                  
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Photo of participants and judges at talent event   
                Photo by Jamauri Bowles          Video by Trich Gray/ Courtesy
The judges at the You've Got Talent              of the Media Center
event are shown with some of the
event's participants. Click on photo
to enlarge.


On a sunny, August afternoon, city residents and their friends gathered at 1798 Bay Road to watch an event that was literally filled with surprises, twists and turns, and a strong community spirit.

Perhaps all, who had gathered in the parking lot on August 10, had come to see the “You’ve Got Talent” show that was presented by the Ravenswood Family Health Center and the Ecumenical Hunger Project to celebrate National Health Center Week. This special week is always observed during the second week of August to “recognize the service and contributions of health centers in providing [all patients] access to affordable, high quality, cost-effective health care regardless of their ability to pay.”

The “You’ve Got Talent” event that attracted all of the attention showed the talents of neighborhood residents and displayed the thrilling moments of skill and dedication they presented during their performances. The judges of the talent show were Henrietta J. Burroughs, the editor-in-chief of the East Palo Alto Today newspaper, and Ryan Atkins, a physics teacher at the local Eastside College Preparatory School.

The judges and the crowd saw singing, rapping, and dancing, which included a tribute to the late pop singer Michael Jackson. The performers varied in age, ranging from young children to adults, and they showed various levels of emotion, ranging from excitement to passion.

The talent show event was not only about talent, but also about support and recognition.

Luisa Buada, the chief executive officer of the Ravenswood Family Health Center, announced that the center’s staff hopes to obtain construction permits for a new health center in the fall, and begin construction in the spring. She thanked East Palo Alto’s City Council for supporting the health center’s relocation.

East Palo Alto Mayor Ruben Abrica and Council Member Lisa Yarbrough-Gauthier made brief appearances at the event to offer their support for the center and for the day’s celebration, as well.

 Stanford Hospital and Clinics received a recognition award, for playing a “pivotal role in sustaining the lives and well-being of thousands of residents of East Palo Alto and Belle Haven,” said Buada, who presented the award to Sharon Keating Beauregard, the executive director of Stanford’s Community Partnerships and Andy Coe, the government and community relations officer  for Stanford Hospital & Clinics.

Another recipient for a recognition award was Burroughs. It was an unexpected surprise for her, since she had no prior knowledge that the award would be given.

As she presented the award to Burroughs, Buada said, “We are grateful for your amazing courage and determination in making us all aware of what’s going on in East Palo Alto.”

In addition, Burroughs received recognition from Congresswoman Jackie Speier for her “courageous journalism and public service.”

“As a publisher and producer and as a member of a marvelous community, you shine a bright light on East Palo Alto and create a sense of community spirit,” wrote Speier.

The event ended with a line dance, and a raffle drawing for prizes. Kimberly Ibañez and Anabel Razo, summer interns for the Ravenswood Family Health Center, enjoyed the event and the diligent effort that was put into it.
“It was a success,” said Ibañez, “and it wouldn’t have been a success if it weren’t for all the talent. They all had positive messages, and supported the community.”

Razo added that this talent show helped reject “negatives and misconceptions” about East Palo Alto.

“Seeing all this greatness shows that we have the mind and resources in our community,” she said.