LANCASTER – The families of Darrell Logan Jr. and Christian Cobian have banded together to create something positive from the circumstances that claimed the lives of both men.
Friday evening, the families joined the League of United Latin American Citizens for a ceremony to present scholarships to three Antelope Valley College students as part of the newly established Logan/Cobian Memorial Scholarship Fund.
“In order for us to move on and for us to move forward, we have to do something positive in the community so that these young men are remembered in a positive way,” said LULAC member Dr. Miguel Coronado, who assisted the families in creating the scholarship.
Darrell Logan Jr., 32, was shot to death, on Oct, 13, 2011, by Palmdale deputies who responded to Logan’s home after receiving a call about gunfire coming from the residence. Christian Cobian, 26, was shot and killed by Lancaster deputies, on Jan. 21, 2012, after he ran from deputies during a traffic stop.
Coronado said, in the months following the shootings, both families bonded over the pain of losing their loved ones. They also harbored distrust for law enforcement, Coronado said.
“Rather than to continuously harp on the sheriffs… to continuously harp on the leadership of Lancaster and Palmdale… I said ‘that’s enough, we need to do something positive,’” Coronado said.
He said the families held raffles, food sales, car washes, and other fundraising events over the last three months. One hundred percent of the proceeds went into providing three $250 scholarships for at-risk college students making significant changes in their lives through education.
“We explained to the recipients that it’s not a lot, but it’s what it represents,” said Coronado. “It’s to bring healing to the families, to have the community see Logan and Cobian not as fugitives or felons, but as human beings of unfortunate tragic events. We selected these three young men to represent their humanity and to represent education.”
Scholarship recipient Luis Alcaraz works full time, is raising a one-year-old daughter, and is pursuing an associate’s degree in business administration from Antelope Valley College. The 23-year-old said he plans to transfer to CSU Northridge to obtain a bachelor’s degree in finance.
“I think one of the reasons why I was selected [for the scholarship] is because they saw how hard I was working,” Alcaraz said, adding that he hopes to honor the memories of Logan and Cobian in a positive way.
“It’s like a lesson learned,” Alcaraz said.
Scholarship recipient Louis Johnson was forced to close his home improvement business after the decline of the housing market. The 54-year-old said he battled alcohol problems and almost lost his way, until he decided to turn his life around for the sake of his children.
“I have two sons that I love very much, and I want to show them that during stressful times you can still do something positive,” Johnson said. “That’s means a lot to me, to be able to lead them with a positive attitude.”
Johnson will complete his associate’s degree at Antelope Valley College this fall. He said he is transferring to CSU Bakersfield to obtain a bachelor’s degree in sociology and human behavior. From there, he plans to obtain a master’s degree and then begin a new career as a counselor.
“For adolescents at risk for drugs and alcohol,” Johnson said. “And to counsel young men and women coming out of prison and re-entering the workforce.”
Scholarship recipient Richard Banks has been attending Antelope Valley College since the summer of 2009. The 33-year-old said he has accomplished his goals every semester since he started.
“Before school I was in prison,” Banks said. “I’ve been going to school since I got out.”
Banks is studying air condition and refrigeration and hopes to begin a career repairing commercial and residential air condition units upon obtaining his degree.
“I’m not worried about the money,” Banks said, when asked about the scholarship. “I haven’t been selected for nothing like this ever before, so I’m just honored to be here.”
The three recipients of the Logan/Cobian Memorial Scholarships were selected by a three-member committee that included AVC professor and counselor Dr. Salvador Suarez, Ed.D.; Maria Molina, Palmdale School District Trustee; and Quartz Hill High School student Fabian Villanueva.
“All of them have turned their lives around in one way shape or form,” said Molina. “They are becoming role models for our youth in the community, and that’s what we want our youths to see. We want them to see that there are people that are real, that are like them, that have lived bad experiences, just like them. They can come out of adversity, which we know is sometimes difficult, but these gentlemen are proof that they can.”
Arzenia Ratliff, mother of Darrell Logan Jr., and Carmen Cobian, mother of Christian Cobian, also spoke at the scholarship ceremony.
In Spanish, Carmen Cobian thanked the community for helping to raise the funds needed to provide the scholarships in her son’s name and for supporting her family.
Ratliff said she will continue to raise money in order to present more scholarships to at-risk students in the future.
“I’m never going to stop,” Ratliff said. “I really appreciate the community helping me out, looking out for me, and just helping me to proceed in keeping my son’s name positive.”
Antelope Valley NAACP President Juan Blanco also spoke at the ceremony.
“I know that it’s a painful situation, and that’s hard to change, but tonight you are seeing the empowerment of what you can do together as a community, what you can do as the people who live in the Antelope Valley,” Blanco said.
If you would like to assist in fundraising or to donate funds to the Logan/Cobian Memorial Scholarship, contact Dr. Miguel Coronado at 661-466-6810.