Author/Speaker Founder/President Operation Unity
A journalist at heart, Operation Unity founder/executive director Cookie Lommel began her career in the entertainment industry. She has since excelled as a public speaker, researcher and biographer. While she still finds time to write, Lommel's consuming passion is Operation Unity.
Lommel founded Operation Unity in 1992, inspired by Israel's 1991 airlift of Ethiopian Jews. She saw the airlift as a humanitarian move that spoke to the possibilities of people coming together. She saw it as a reflection of the values embodied in an Israeli kibbutz, a village where cooperative labor provides for all the needs of the participants.
The outgrowth of that inspiration was the founding of Operation Unity to involve American inner city students, young Ambassadors of Harmony, in the cooperative living environment of a kibbutz. The goal was to break down racial, ethnic and cultural barriers and promote an appreciation for what even people from diverse cultures can achieve by working together. Dozens of students from the Los Angeles Unified School District have successfully participated in the program as Young Ambassadors of Harmony.
Bringing people together is a central focus of Lommel's vision. In 1998, she collaborated with LAUSD teachers in writing and editing a high school curriculum, Life Skills for the 21st Century and teachers manual, Focus on the Multicultural Classroom for the Los Angeles Unified School District
As a journalist, Lommel has served as entertainment editor for Teen Magazine; music editor for Cash Box Magazine; associate editor for Radio & Records Magazine; and editor at large for Black Elegance Magazine. She has interviewed hundreds of film, television and music personalities as an on-camera reporter for CNN.
Lommel has also written seven biographies for young adults, exploring the lives and contributions of Madame C. J. Walker, Robert Church, Johnnie L. Cochran, James Oglethorpe, Mary Church Terrell, Beck and Arthur Miller. Additionally she has written The History of Rap Music, African American Actors and Black Filmmakers.
Lommel's community outreach efforts have earned her a number of awards: including a Community Service Award from The National Conference; a Certificate of Recognition from the County of Los Angeles; a Certificate of Commendation from the City of Los Angeles, a Mayor's Commendation from the City of Santa Monica; and an Official Honor from the State of Israel.
Publications about Operation Unity founder Cookie Lommel