1940s, it tells the story of four Mexican- expected to achieve the things that people with protested the United States’ continued bomb-Americans wrongly accused of murder. The more opportunity can,” says Olmos. Then, ing of Vieques Island in Puerto Rico. He was
play went to Broadway, and Olmos earned a repeating a line from the film, he adds, arrested for trespassing and spent 20 days in
Tony nomination. Until that point he per- “Children will rise to the level of expectation.” a federal penitentiary.
formed in small roles and delivered furniture His most current role, although fictional, “The people [on the island] are bothered
to support his family. is another strong character. Olmos plays the by it, and we had to prove on the international
Soon he was cast in the films Wolfen, part of Jess Gonzalez, the patriarch on the level that it was wrong,” says Olmos about
Blade Runner and The Ballad of Gregorio PBS series American Family. Olmos says his the bombing. Looking back on the event
Cortez. He earned an Emmy for playing older brother, Peter, inspired the character, nearly a year later, he doesn’t hesitate to add,
Lieutenant Martin Castillo on the TV series who is described as a cross between Archie “I would do it again.”
Miami Vice in the mid-1980s. Bunker and Zorba the Greek. Combine those strong beliefs with his
Olmos also earned an Oscar nomination “The character is very funny,” says belief in the human spirit, and it’s little surfor his role of Jaime Escalante in 1987’s Olmos about Jess. “It’s a good form of con- prise that Olmos gives generously of his time
Stand and Deliver. The movie tells the true flict in the family. Dinner discussions are to numerous organizations. He is a U.S.
story of Escalante, who, despite doubts from very lively and exciting.” goodwill ambassador for UNICEF and a
his peers, helped his 18 students at Garfield Like the strong-willed characters he has spokesperson for the Southwest Voter
High School in Los Angeles pass the portrayedontelevisionandfilm,Olmosalso Registration Project, Juvenile Diabetes
Advanced Placement calculus test. believes in standing up for his beliefs. In late Foundation and AIDS Awareness Foundation.
“Children in lower-income areas are not spring of 2001 he, along with several others, CONTINUED ON PAGE 14
All the difference in the world
Former surgeon general offers inspiration to students
in the future of its company or the future of this cal practice and doing endocrinology research
country than in the education of young people,” (the study of glands). Little did she know at that
Dr. Elders, 70, told The Connection recently. “I’m time that yet another career awaited her—this
always very flattered when I can be involved in a one in public service.
program that promotes the health, education, In 1987 she was appointed director of the
maturation and hope of young people.” Arkansas Department of Health by then-
For Dr. Elders, a financial boost for educa- Governor Bill Clinton, and was later named by
Former U.S. Surgeon General tion made all the difference in the world. President Clinton as the first African-American
Dr. M. Joycelyn Elders “Getting a scholarship was the difference woman to hold the post of Surgeon General of
between going to college—that is, getting a lift the United States.
Growing up in Arkansas and working in a up to the first rung of the ladder—and staying “You should take every educational opportu-cotton patch, former U.S. Surgeon home working on the farm,” Dr. Elders recalls. nity you get to obtain as much education as pos-General Dr. M. Joycelyn Elders never “We had no funds; my family knew nothing sible, but remember education in and of itself is
went to the doctor, much less dreamed of being about college. I never aspired to go to college ... an empty virtue. You must use this education to
a doctor or even going to college. never dreamed of being a doctor. You can’t be provide service to humanity,” Dr. Elders advises.
At age 16 her whole life changed when she what you can’t see.” Today, she is Distinguished Professor of
received a scholarship to attend Philander-Smith Her vision was expanded again when she Public Health at the University of Arkansas and
College in Little Rock, Arkansas. This year she is heard a speech given by Edith Irby Jones, the is fully aware of the impact that getting a schol-
the keynote speaker for the fourth annual first African-American to study at the University arship can have.
Costco Scholarship Fund Breakfast, which will of Arkansas Medical School. Inspired, she fol- “We should invest in children because they
be held on October 2 at the University of lowed suit—and graduated as the only woman need it the most, they have the greatest opportu-
Washington, in Seattle. in her class. nity to improve, and it lasts a lifetime.”