We congratulate Katy Haber, MBE,
on receiving the first ever
'UKares Positive Impact Award'
presented by Brits in LA
Sponsored by Volkswagen Santa Monica,
A LA Car Guy Dealership
--- Los Angeles, Nov 13th, 2012 - Interview by Sarah Knowles-Murillo
--A British-born Hollywood producer mentoring ex-gang members from Compton and creating the first ever all American Latino- African-American cricket team in Los Angeles may well sound like a great movie script, but for Katy Haber, MBE, it couldn't be more truer to life.
BAFTA LA founding member Haber, who will be presented with the first 'Positive Impact Award' by the UKares Charity on Saturday; stated that her interest in cricket began in childhood and is a "civilising" sport that can literally change lives of those teetering on the edge of gangland.
"Who else could teach cricket to Compton gang bangers but a Brit?" said London-born Haber, who moved to Los Angeles in 1971 to work almost a decade alongside famed director Sam Peckinpah. "You respect the opposing team and above all the umpire, in cricket. What you learn on the cricket field you learn in life."
She co-founded the Compton Cricket Club in the 90's and the team has travelled to England, Ireland and Australia. The LAPD has shown an interest in partnering with the club promoting the international game of cricket "as a most unique tool for education, team building, conflict resolution and self discipline."
"These are kids that couldn't cross from one side of Compton to the other; now they are traveling over the Atlantic," she said.
Haber's charity work far extends Compton cricket. She was Executive Director of the renowned Dome Village Homeless Shelter on Skid Row for 13 years, as well as starting a programme in St John's Wood, London, taking orphaned children on day trips to the park.
For the past two years Haber, Paul Heller and BAFTA LA mentors have created the Inner City Shakespeare Co., working with George Washington Preparatory High School and drama teacher Dr. Melanie Andrews in the heart of South Los Angeles; producing ROMEO AND JULIET in 2011 and last June, A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM.
The program took off after BAFTA LA's Education and Outreach Committee's Inner City Screening Programme screened more than 20 films over a period of seven years at Helen Keller Park to spearhead gang prevention. The program was co-chaired by Haber and Paul Heller, and also showed movies at surrounding parks and schools. Every screening is attended by film makers and stars to interact with the community in lively Q and A's, including Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson at a screening of the Gridiron Gang.
A screening at George Washington Prep of "Why Shakespeare," that discussed how learning about Shakespeare and how live theatre changes the lives of celebrities as well inner city kids, spawned this life-changing program within the school.
"Shakespeare has taken them from the hood to college. We are actively pursuing expanding the programme to four more schools."
No stranger to awards, Haber's UKares honor is not her first; she has been granted the 2010 Martin Luther King "Keeper of The Dream" award from the city of West Hollywood, an honorary Dr. of Arts Degree from Bedfordshire University in South England and perhaps most notably, an MBE in the 2012 Queen's Honor List for her outstanding charitable work in Los Angeles. Despite this impressive list, Haber remains modest.
"I'm humbled because I don't do it for the awards but for the rewards. It's not as dramatic as this, but I relate it to one of my favorite quotes by Sam Peckinpah's 'Ride The High Country:' "All I want is to enter my house justified."
Links for more info on Katy Haber and her work.