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Community Highlights


Selected from a diverse group of GSEP  professionals who were nominated by their friends, family, and peers, discover how these Waves approach the meaning of diversity and the role they play in redefining how it will have an impact on generations to come. To nominate a GSEP member for this community highlight, please visit this form. 

Tyana Tavakol

She/Her I Airport Marina Counseling Service I MFT Trainee I GSEP Studenttyana tavakol

What would you like to share with our GSEP community regarding an upcoming cultural heritage celebration?

  • March 20 marks the start of Persian New Year (Nowruz, which translates to "New Day"), the first day of Spring.

Why does this celebration or event mean so much to you?

This is a time every year that I feel such love and pride for my culture. You see celebrations all throughout Los Angeles for weeks, with signs in the streets and festivals, families gathering in the parks for picnics, and amazing food in every Iranian household. It's something that unites Iranians in the city and reminds us all of the beauty and joy in our culture.

George Young

He/Him I Entertainment Industry Professional I Singer/Writer/Author I GSEP Studentgeorge young

What would you like to share with our GSEP community regarding an upcoming cultural heritage celebration?

  • Black History Month - I’m the author of two books, a Children’s book and a 31 day devotional. 
  • For 13 years and counting, I’ve produced the gospel programming for the largest African American music festival, Essence Fest. It featured artists such as Mary Mary, Kirk Franklin, Charlie Wilson, and Michelle Williams of Destiny’s Child.
  • I was a cast member of OWN Network’s “Chad Loves Michelle”, alongside Michelle Williams of Destiny’s Child. 
  • I am the playwright of the musical, “TWO” formerly known as “Two Sides To Every Christmas Story”, the first musical/play where Jesus and Santa meet! 
  • I currently sing background for Beyonce, I have performed with artists such as Alicia Keys, New Kids On The Block, Camilla Cabello, and more.
  • I am now pursuing a masters in Clinical Psychology. I want to make an impact in the entertainment industry through therapy and health initiatives that help creatives write, sing, and create from an authentic place which in turn touches lives.

Why does this celebration or event mean so much to you?

It’s a time set aside to celebrate the unique, impactful contributions of my culture. It gives a spotlight to some of the greatest accomplishments and advances that this country has experienced. 

Web Link(s) that you would like to share.

Karin Moore

She/Her I PhD Studentkarin moore

What would you like to share with our GSEP community regarding an upcoming cultural heritage celebration?

  • April 24th is Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day.

Why does this celebration or event mean so much to you?

It is the day we pause and reflect on the first Genocide of the 20th century, where 1.5 Million Armenians were murdered at the hands of the Ottoman empire, starting in 1915. It is the event that made the United Nations create the word "genocide" and Hitler referred to it as he created the playbook before initiating the Holocaust. We should never forget what humans are capable of doing so that we may not repeat history. 

Angela Marshall

She/Her I IHSS I Caretaker I GSEP Studentangela marshall

What would you like to share with our GSEP community regarding an upcoming cultural heritage celebration?

  • Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month

Why does this celebration or event mean so much to you?

I chose to speak life into my child and pour my attention into him wholeheartedly because I believe that my son’s “greatness” is my responsibility and his preparation for greatness starts at home because as his Mom, I am his 1st teacher. At now 5 years old, regardless of Autism Spectrum Disorder & Epilepsy, I am not letting that discourage me or using his diagnosis as an escape-goat to not to do my job as a parent but to put my all into him to produce “Greatness”.  I’m doing my best; reading and researching and doing whatever it takes to become knowledgeable about how to groom him now despite any limitations.

There are certain things that happen in life that create growth and awareness within you. One of those things is the changing of your surroundings and environment as you once knew it. Pre-pandemic there were certain aspects of our lives that I knew for certain. I knew for certain that my son Khristian needed early childhood intervention. I knew for certain that my son needed Speech Therapy and ABA. I knew for certain that he needed early childhood education mainly so that he can learn social interaction skills with other children. I knew for certain there were things in Khristian’s life that I, as his mother, wouldn’t be able to do for him. Which is why I try, work, and advocate so hard to incorporate these therapies and interventions into his life, to help him in ways that I can’t or just don’t know how to at such a young, fragile yet critical age of when it comes to growth and development. As a parent, that’s a harsh reality to face and if you never have, I hope you never do especially if you have “a fixer” go-getter attitude where you always want to fix it and find a solution to help especially when it comes to your child however when you realize you’ve done all you can and your child is still suffering, all you need is support to stop yourself from spiraling into panic mode.

The reality of the statement, “THIS is what your child needs to succeed”...  I’m fighting and advocating daily so that he is afforded an equal opportunity to receive the education that he not only “needs” but that he deserves no matter how challenging it may be... At the same time doing my best to instill values and morals and a strong foundation in God so that he understands that no matter what challenges he may face throughout life’s journey he knows where his strength comes from which my belief system has been my saving grace through the stigmas and ridicule that I have learned to overcome. With that being said, my son is my driving force for pursuing my Master’s Degree in Clinical Psychology with an emphasis in Marriage and Family Therapy. I truly want to advocate for children and youth of our future, especially those of which are under-served and come from less fortunate socio-economic backgrounds in which they may not be afforded the same educational opportunities and/ or come from dysfunctional family dynamics that are poverty-stricken which unfortunately tend to lessen their chances of overcoming adversity and becoming successful despite their uncontrollable circumstances.

Dr. Chad Lewis

(He/Him) - Nominated by Khadija Ba, GSEP StudentChad Lewis headshot

What would your nominee like to share with our GSEP community regarding an upcoming cultural heritage celebration?

"Women's history month, black history month. I'm not sure what he would share specifically, but he went above and beyond to make sure everyone in his class felt comfortable in any position they were in their life. I am a black single mother, and often felt embarrassed at how apparent it was. He worked extremely hard to teach me that no matter what my circumstances were I was valued in class and my contributions were just as important as anyone else. I also witnessed him being a strong ally for the LGBT community and he was very welcoming and vocal our entire semester about it. He is a special person and works really hard to show us exactly what inclusivity means." 

Why does this celebration or event much to your nominee?

"He approaches diversity by being anti-racist. I feel like lately, most people say they are without knowing what it means. Chad is someone who has thought long and hard about how he can truly be anti-racist and how to represent that within himself. He is a strong leader in application of community and guidance. I think anyone who has taken his class has had a life-changing and shaping experience. For me, he has redefined what it means to be a genuinely wholesome and good person. He aims to build confidence in his students and he does it so covertly that you do not realize it until the class is over. You then realize that the entire time he was assessing what each of his students needed more of, and giving them the extra help necessary to build them up."