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April 23 2007

Operation HOPE Hosts 15th Anniversary

LOS ANGELES - April 23, 2007 - Operation HOPE, a national organization focused on bringing financial literacy and empowerment - "silver rights" - to underserved communities around the world, will gather hundreds of leaders in government, the private sector and the local community together on a string of charter buses to reflect on the riots that devastated LA 15 years ago.

The Bankers Bus Tour will tour Southeast Los Angeles, showcasing positive change, investment and support the community has seen, and it will present calls-to-action to ensure a better future. The event also celebrates the 15th anniversary of Operation HOPE, which was conceived in the wake of the riots in 1992.

"This city has seen through chaos and shown the makings of a holistic, healthy community, and I'd like to thank the leaders and groups who have led us here with their support and wisdom," said John Hope Bryant, chairman and CEO of Operation HOPE. "But we still have a long way to go.  Today I charge leaders in government, the private sector and the community around us to join in the fight for financial literacy and empowerment; to commit to education and communities in need, and to complete the endeavors of our forefathers in the civil rights movement and the Poor People's Campaign, Dr. Martin Luther King and Ambassador Andrew Young, through the power of what we now call the silver rights movement."

The event begins at 8 a.m. with a press conference and ceremony at the Operation HOPE, Center located at 3721 S. La Brea Avenue.  The press conference and ceremony will include remarks and calls-to-action by Bryant, Ambassador Andrew Young, City Council President Eric Garcetti, Minister of Education Cameron Dugmore, Treasurer Ana Cabral, President of the Police Commission John W. Mack and Bishop Charles E. Blake, among others.

Motion picture star, R&B artist, rapper and male fashion icon Tyrese will present one of the HOPE Legacy of Faith Awards, which will be given to six prominent faith and community leaders, without whom there would have not been the necessary environment for rebuilding and revitalization.

Following the ceremony, speakers will join hundreds of additional government, private sector and community leaders, as well as community members, on a string of charter buses set to tour the areas of South Central Los Angeles that saw what many have referred to as a "mini civil war" only 15 years ago - and to highlight progress the community has made since then. A community that after billions have been successfully been invested, is not just back, but better.

"The Bankers Bus Tour is not only a memorial for the riots that took place in South Central Los Angeles 15 years ago," Bryant said.  "It is a call-to-action for leaders around the world to take notice and take responsibility for the communities and people in need around them - and to institute change through education."

Fifteen years ago in the wake of the Rodney King riots, Bryant rounded up a host of bankers and businesspeople and took them through sections of South Central Los Angeles that many considered an economic wasteland - with the goal to convince them there were very real possibilities for investment and development.

The Bankers Bus Tour will celebrate the progress, change and investment the community has seen since then, and focus on building an even better landscape for the future.