John Wesley Carlos
John Wesley Carlos (born June 5, 1945) is an American former track and field athlete and professional football player. He was the bronze-medal winner in the 200 meters at the 1968 Summer Olympics and his Black Power salute on the podium with Tommie Smith caused much political controversy. He went on to tie the world record in the 100-yard dash and beat the 200 meters world record (although the latter achievement was never certified). After his track career, he enjoyed a brief stint in the Canadian Football League but retired due to injury.
He became involved with the United States Olympic Committee and helped to organize the 1984 Summer Olympics. Following this he became a track coach at Palm Springs High School. He was inducted into the USA Track & Field Hall of Fame in 2003.
He is the author, with sportswriter Dave Zirin, of The John Carlos Story: The Sports Moment That Changed the World, published in 2011 by Haymarket Books.
Simeon Den received an eclectic comprehensive training in the Arts. He studied Asian & Contemporary Art History (UMass, University of Hawaii), ballet and modern dance (Alvin Ailey Am Dance Center), photography (NY School of Visual Arts), and graduated magna cum laude in New Genres from the Department of World Arts and Cultures (UCLA). His multi-faceted professional theater arts performing career includes performing internationally in ballet and contemporary dance companies, musicals on Broadway and owning and directing a performing arts school and dance company in Hawaii. As an educator he has been on faculties and has guest taught at the LA School of Performing Arts, CalArts, UMass, AMDA, and UCLA. He is a fine art and commercial photographer, executive director of the non-profit arts advocacy, Agnes Pelton Society, former co-chair of the Cathedral City Public Arts Commission and sole proprietor and director/curator of Simeon Den Gallery/Fine and Temple Arts in Cathedral City.
Den teaches meditation and Yoga Qi, a yoga discipline he devised from traditional hatha yoga and Integrative Quantum Medicine (IQM), an energy healing protocol based-in Chinese Traditional Medicine. He is the author of “8 Meditations On Urban Life,” Paradise Found Publications, 2005.
Leonardo Bravo is an artist, educator, and curator. He is the Director of Education and Public Programs with the Palm Springs Art Museum where he oversees partnership development and program implementation with school districts in the Coachella Valley and the development of new participatory audience engagement projects. He is also the founder of Big City Forum, an interdisciplinary, social practice and curatorial research project that brings attention to emergent practices across design, architecture, and the arts. It provides an ongoing exploration of the intersections between these creative disciplines and new ways of knowledge making within the context of public space and social change. Leonardo Bravo received his MFA from the University of Southern California and his BFA from Otis College of Art & Design
Luis Fausto is a designer and co-founder of CREATIVO, a branding and marketing firm located in Palm Springs, CA. As an entrepreneur Luis has worked with nonprofits and corporations to optimize their design, messaging and sales for over a decade.
“I believe that consistent and engaging branding can level the playing field for small businesses and nonprofits to not only compete but thrive. CREATIVO does this by forming connections with customers in creative and memorable ways .”
A second generation immigrant Luis understands first hand the hurdles faced by immigrant families. He comes from a strong working class family background and thanks his parents for supporting his career path and goals.
“Identity is key to knowing who you are and what you want to do, I encourage students to explore their own identity and fall in love with who they are. We all contribute to the fabric of the country and your identity, culture and voice is needed.”
My name is Jose Tallon and I was raised in the Coachella Valley. My mother is Mexican and my father is Cuban. My Mexican and Cuban roots have taught me important values such as the significance of family, faith, and hard work. I currently own a small business in Palm Springs, California and am in the process of opening a second business in Northern California. I would like to encourage students to never underestimate the power of believing that they can create a better future for themselves.
Eduardo Valadez Arenas
Eduardo Valadez Arenas is a Mexican-American Artist from Mexico City by way of the Coachella Valley. He is currently residing and working in the bay area. His artworks echo diaspora, his Mexican-American heritage, and influences of California pop culture. His mixed-media works on paper and handmade panels contain elements of cartoon illustrations, sign painting, traditional printmaking techniques, and street art. Outside of the studio, his work as an educator has led to collaborations with art-based organizations like Kala Arts Institute, Ryse Youth Center, Riverside Museum of Photography, Oakland School for the Arts, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, and La Cocina.
As the grandson of both the legendary civil rights activist César Chávez and the Cuban revolutionary Max Lesnik, Eduardo Chavez is the scion of two revolutionary families. This background has informed the majority of his work so far.
Eduardo is making his directorial debut with the feature documentary, "Hailing Cesar," released in April 2018. He is the co-founder of Latindia Studios and a member of the Speakers’ Board for the Chavez Institute for Law and Social Justice.
Eduardo attended Loyola Marymount University on a golf scholarship and graduated with a B.A. in communications. After college, he played professional golf and studied acting in Miami and Los Angeles.
A versatile, and deeply committed actor, Rowland Akinduro is proving to be one to watch.
He was born Rowland Stanley Oladele Akinduro in Vienna, Austria to Eva (Hein) Akinduro who worked as a secretary, and Henry Bamikole Akinduro, a DJ. He migrated with his mother to the United States at the age of 5. Akinduro was raised by his mother and step-father, Rene Simpkins, in the small city of Yucca Valley near Joshua Tree, California where his love for performance art was sparked early on. As an adult, he moved to the Coachella Valley attending College of the Desert to pursue his goals of acting, music and computer science. Rowland always dreamed of getting married in Hawaii and did just that to his wife Abigael Akinduro. Together, they have two boys: Rayden and Jace.
With several national commercial appearances for companies like Ford, Vivo and At&t, a national television debut on White Famous (2017), performances at the (2016) McCallum Theater and a residency as a talk show host at the (2016-2018) Indio Performing Arts Center, Rowland is perpetually doing his best to balance artistic integrity with commercial success.
Jonathan Lorenzo Yorba
Jonathan Lorenzo Yorba is the Planned Giving and Grants Officer at The Living Desert. Yorba has built a career in philanthropy, education, cultural institutions and museums.
Dr. Yorba is Chair of the Ford Foundation Fellows Fund at the National Academies / National Research Council in Washington, DC.
Yorba attended College of the Desert before transferring to San Francisco State University where he earned his BA in creative arts (painting) and MA in museum studies. Following that he earned his PhD at the University of California at Berkeley; his doctoral research focuses on multiracial imagery in American art.
Concurrent with his career in philanthropy and the nonprofit sector, Yorba held government positions in economic development, redevelopment, and in arts and cultural affairs. Yorba has traveled globally for research. He taught at San Francisco State University, the University of California at Berkeley, and at John F. Kennedy University where he served for many years as Adjunct Professor of Museum Studies. He has also taught at the Getty Leadership Institute.
Dr. Yorba was appointed as a Smithsonian Institution Fellow where he held a dual appointment in American Art and U.S. History, authoring the book Arte Latino: Treasures from the Smithsonian American Art Museum. He received the Award for Museum Leadership from the Smithsonian. Yorba has testified before the United States House of Representatives on a bill to create a Presidential Commission regarding the National Museum of the American Latino, and has been a guest on several occasions at The White House.