Longtime Southland youth mentor
On March 10, Nigel Holly, a longtime Lancaster resident and preeminent youth mentor, made history by becoming the first Lancaster resident to speak at the National Press Club in Washington D.C., at the invitation of the 400 Years of African American History Federal Commission.
Holly spoke about the Antelope Valley’s efforts to promote youth leadership and mentoring, highlighting various initiatives he has been involved with.
One such initiative was the City of Lancaster’s Justice Sunday event, which began as a gathering led by eight high school students and has since expanded to include Justice Sunday’s leadership and arts education to all of the high schools in the area. The event has grown into a citywide festival celebrating the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., with food vendors, information booths, local artisans and more.
Holly also highlighted the success of Lancaster’s Teen Talk summit, a collaboration between Future Leaders California, the AVHSD, and the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department that seeks to bridge the gap between law enforcement and community youth. Many of these programs have been made possible by the ongoing partnership between the City of Lancaster and organizations like the Museum of Tolerance, California Association of Youth Courts, Pathways to Law Enforcement, and the Lancaster Youth Court.
During the event, Holly was joined by Antelope Valley’s Reverend Jesse Turner, who provided further information about Lancaster’s youth mentorship programs. Turner discussed his work with the National Alliance of Faith and Justice’s ‘PEN OR PENCIL’ initiative, which offers culturally-based academic programs and mentoring to youth in the Antelope Valley community.
“We’re proud to have a representative from Lancaster in Washington D.C. making the perspectives and needs of our community members known,” said Lancaster Mayor R. Rex Parris. “Nigel Holly continues to act as a positive force in our community, and I’m excited that he has been able to share his impact and Lancaster’s legacy in inclusion with leaders from around the country.”
Throughout his visit to Washington D.C., Holly met with several other federal officials to discuss community education and inclusion.