Monday, September 16, 2013

2013 Holy Names University Commencement Speaker, Dr. Menbere Aklilu - Honored in Little Ethiopia (LA, CA) 2013 - YES!

"There are 2 women that inspire me. First of all, my son (Christian)  introduced me to her -
Dr. Menbere Aklilu  Commencement Speaker @ Holy Names University 2013
Dr. Maya Angelou. Her books helped me to heal. Her books helped me to understand what happened to me. We have a big connection. I talk to her every single day. Every single day. When I think of her, I say,
'I am proud to be a woman.'
 Dr. Angelou says,'You may not cannot control all the evils that happen to you. But you can decided not to be reduced by them.' And another thing she said,
'Nothing will work unless you do.'
I remember that."
Dr. Maya Angelou  is one of
Dr. Aklilu's Inspirations 
Dr. Aklilu's second (First in her heart) woman that motives her?
The woman that gave birth to her, who was taken away from her, when she was a child, in Ethiopia.

That just cut me like a knife when
I heard her say that her Mother was murdered right before her eyes. Even after experiencing that kind of trauma, Dr. Aklilu keep pushing on. On to Italy, then on to The United States of America.

Power in Words
"My Mother. Even though she wasn't there for my teenager trouble. Even though she wasn't there for my High School graduation. She wasn't there when I was abused verbally physically, sexually. She wasn't the wasn't there to protect me to dry my tears. Even though she wasn't there when I brought my son in this world, to hold him.  But she is always with me. Always. She's behind me to give me power. She's in front of me to pull me to go further. Every decision I made, every recited every step I take, she is always with me." I feel the power in your words, Dr. Aklilu. Amen?
Dr. Menbere Aklilu receiving an Honorary PhD from Holy Names University
May 2013.
So today, the love, the respect, the affection, the smile you give me remain in my heart forever. But the degree you give me, I want to dedicate to my Mother. Please allow me."

"I moved from Ethiopia to Italy. Things did not go very well. I got involved in an abusive relationship."
After realizing that things were not going to get better, and at the time, Dr. Aklilu was 9 months pregnant with her son, she went to God's house, and was sitting in a pew, crying her heart out. Then something happened. It was truly a blessing. Dr. Aklilu says,
"Father Gasparini walked into the church. 'Why are you crying?' I told him that I was homeless and 9 months pregnant."  He said, "Let me give it to the Lord, and I'll come back to you." " The next day, he came back. He said, 'Menbere, I found a place for you. It's Mother Theresa's Women's Shelter.' I said, "Thank you."
I gave birth to my son at the shelter. His name is Christian."

One morning, Sister Superior Sister Matilde, said, "Menbere you have to be here tomorrow, because Mother Theresa is coming to the shelter." I said, "Okay". The next day, when Mother Theresa arrived,
 "I was in the corner holding my baby and crying. Mother Theresa said, "Why you are crying? Give me that baby." She held him. "She said, Why you are crying?"
I said, "Mother, this it's not what I want. It's not my dream. I have a dream. I have passion. I a have fire inside me. I don't want this one."
Mother Theresa said, "Well. Have Faith. Both of you - you are God's Child. God will never abandon you. HE will take you on the right path." I got a job and started living a normal life.

"Then I decided that I must move to America. I hear it's a wonderful country. It's an opportunity land.
 I had to go. I had to take risks." Her son Christian was very upset over the idea of moving to America, leaving his church, his friends, his country. I told him, "There is a voice inside of me. I have to listen that voice. Otherwise that voice start screaming at me. I have to go. " It was 1995 when Dr. Aklilu and Christian stepped foot on American soil, making it their home.

Willing to Work
After arriving in America, she says, "I got a job paying $7.00 per hour. I asked,
"What's my job?" I was told to be a Hostess. No problem. I am an actress, I can do this. But I felt that they were paying me way too much money for what I was doing.
So I started cleaning and making sure things were in order. She got promoted. Today Dr. Aklilu owns
Salute Restaurant in the Richmond Marina Bay

"When you do a good job. People see you. People remember you."

Giving Back to the Community in Which we Serve -

Dr. Aklilu's Three Lessons For Which She Lives By:

Always Do The Right Thing
Dr. Aklilu at her Italian restaurant, Salute e Vita Ristorante,Richmond , CA Marina Bay
1) "No matter what it is you have to say and you have to do the right thing. The right thing comes back to you. It doesn't matter. Even if they don't agree, always do the right thing."

Are We Entitled to Success?
2) "Success. No one is entitled to be successful. You earn it. You earned your degree today. Success - it doesn't make you happy. When you are happy, you become successful. To be happy, you have to be in the community and you have to give back. You have to remember from where you came."

Dr. Aklilu said, "I took my son back to the shelter where he was born in Rome, Italy. The shelter looks the exact same as it did when I was there. Mother Superior is there. Mother Superior said to my son, "You have to give back. What you got, you got from the world. You have to give back to the world. You have to give back. You have to come back to the shelter, you have to give back."  Christian said to Mother Superior,
"This will be my first job."

Don't Settle For Less
3) "Don't settle. Do not settle for less. Keep looking until you find what you like.
I am an actress. I greet people and talk to people and share my story, and I am happy."

Dr. Aklilu's Two Gifts to Holy Names University Graduate Students Class of 2013:
"Always remember, when you have difficult times, you must say, 'Nothing is impossible.'"

"I give you all Gift Certificates to my restaurant for all of you! You can come and celebrate your graduation! Bring your parents, neighbor, boyfriend, girlfriend. Your job is, pick up the phone and say,
 "I am 2013 Holy Names Graduate Student" - and I will open the door for you, you will have the best seat in the house! Thank you. Graci! Caio!"

Dr. Aklilu's Words to Live By
"The past has no power over this present moment. Because life is now. Life is this moment. You have to give back. Tell the past thank you. Tell the past, " I got the lesson, thank you."  Then tell the future I am ready." Dr. Aklilu, those are true words of wisdom. Thank you. May you continue to be blessed 1,000 fold.
WE Salute you, Lady.

Dr. Aklilu is a Mother, humanitarian, philanthropist, entrepreneur, and things globally.
Salute Marina Bay Restaurant, features Italian Cuisine and is located @ 1900 Esplanade, Dr. Richmond, CA 94804| 510.215.0803

The Southern California Community is celebrating Dr. Aklilu's philanthropic endeavors in the Los Angeles Area as well - in Little Ethiopia @ their 12th Annual Cultural Street Festival (celebrated September 8, 2013). Los Angeles City Council President, Herb J. Wesson Jr., Dr. Menbere Aklilu, and the Mayor of Los Anglees, the Honorable Eric Garcetti presented Dr. Aklilu with an honor.
(L to R.) LA City Council President, Herb J. Wesson Jr. Dr. Aklilu ,
 Mayor of Los Angeles, CA The Honorable Eric Garcetti

Special Thank You to:
Liz Carlin, Deputy-West, and Albert Edmund Lord III,  Deputy-South East, Office of Council President Herb J. Wesson Jr. Council District Ten  for consistently rolling up their sleeves and  zealously working shoulder to shoulder with the LA Community.

Love & Light,