More than 60 student, staff, faculty and alumni volunteers helped make Thursday’s event a resounding success for 3,000 veterans, homeless individuals, students and low-income families who gathered at the West Los Angeles VA campus.
From morning to early afternoon on Thanksgiving, more than 60 volunteers from UCLA were hard at work to make sure the annual Westside Thanksgiving Community Dinner and Celebration went off without a hitch.
Student, staff, faculty and alumni volunteers helped make Thursday’s event a resounding success for more than 3,000 veterans, homeless individuals, students and low-income families who gathered at the West Los Angeles VA campus.
The UCLA Volunteer Center and UCLA Alumni Affairs organized the volunteer effort for the celebration, which has been hosted by organizations and individuals citywide since 1982. In addition to a traditional turkey dinner, those attending received free clothing and blankets, haircuts, immunizations and medical consultations. A petting zoo was on hand to entertain children and families.
Arthur Ashe Sr. stands with his sons, Johnnie and Arthur. Johnnie Ashe, a veteran of the Marine Corps, will be the keynote speaker at UCLA’s Veterans Day ceremony. (photo courtesy of Luchia Ashe)
In many ways, he rewrote what could have been a tragic alternative history.
When Johnnie Ashe returned from his first tour of duty from Vietnam as a Marine in 1967, it triggered a plan in his mind that few people — not even his brother — initially knew about. Five years younger than his brother, tennis legend and UCLA alumnus Arthur Ashe, Johnnie idolized his brother and believed that Arthur’s future would be bigger than his own.
“When you grow up with a person, you can sometimes sense when there is a destiny involved with that person’s life,” Johnnie Ashe said. “I always thought Arthur had a destiny far above the norm.”
Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feur hosted a special gun violence panel at Young Research Library. (photos by Jonathan Van Dyke)
Since gun violence struck the UCLA campus in June, the greater university community has worked to come together to discuss how to prevent gun violence, and if it should happen again, how to be better prepared for it. On Thursday, a group of lawmakers, police officers and students participated in a forum to talk about these issues.
“We’re here to talk about gun violence on a campus that has experienced it,” said Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer, who organized the Gun Violence and Campus Safety forum held at Young Research Library. “We are really able to look at this as a real life situation that could confront us any day.”
Nearly everyone who spoke had an anecdote about what he or she was doing the day of the shooting and its impact.